Come to the Cabaret!

What good is sitting alone in your room?
Come hear the music play!
Life is a cabaret, old chum,

Cabaret is all about the music, the laughter, and the excitement and cabaret nights at SpringWorks indie theatre & arts festival are no exception! So, grab yourself a drink and a few good friends and take a look at a few of the talented companies bringing us a slice of life this May.

A Broadway Valentine – #swfValentine
Created & Performed by Janet Martin & Philip Douglas Kerr

For the first time in many years, long time friends and colleagues, Philip Douglas Kerr and Janet Martin are teaming up  to present a delightful montage of Broadway Love Songs carefully chosen  to recount the many stages of one couple’s life together. The power of these two voices together is not to be missed! A Broadway Valentine offers selections from West Side Story, Little Shop of Horrors, Carousel, and many more…

A Little About Janet & Philip
Philip and Janet met performing Les Miserables in the original Toronto company. Jean Valjean has been a role which has followed Philip from Toronto right across the ocean to London’s West End. Janet has played the role of Grizabella in Cats in four different companies including the original Toronto cast directed by David Taylor and Trevor Nunn. Between them their credits are many, including some of Broadway’s best –Phantom of the OperaAspects of Love, and The Sound of Music.

SWF: How did the creation of your cabaret come about?

PHILIP: Janet Martin and I met in 1990, performing in Les Miserables at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. We hit it off immediately and have remained good friends since. This show came about through a desire to work together again.  Besides Les Mis, we previously performed in Love is Here to Stay, another review of music from the theatre.A Broadway Valentine was first staged just outside of Stratford at Harrington Hall in the picturesque village of Harrington on February 14 of this year.

SWF: Cabaret comes from a long and ignoble history of performances in bars or restaurants, where audiences are encouraged to have a drink, and this tradition is still very much alive today. Does this more relaxed than a concert atmosphere affect how you perform or the material you choose?

PHILIP: With respect to the cabaret form, our show is a bit of a hybrid of cabaret and “book show” as we are telling this couples story, but the cabaret form definitely gives us license to have some fun with lyrics, in other words, make up our own!

SWF: With so many wonderful Broadway songs to choose from – especially on the theme of love – how did you ever make your selections?

PHILIP: The music we perform portrays one couple’s romantic relationship, from adolescence to the senior years, so the music was selected not only to suit our voices but also to fit this scenario. We have worked hard to choose music which keeps our story moving forward and not be repetitive.

Get Your Tickets for A Broadway Valentine here
Or By Telephone: 1-800-518-2819 ext. 3

Singer and multi-instrumentalist Anna Atkinson performs a concert of original songs, joined by musicians Graham Hargrove, Ian Harper, Michael McClennan and George Meanwell. For a sneak listen of Anna’s music, visit

A Bit About Anna
Since graduating as a violist from the University of Victoria department of music in 2008, Anna has, both as a live performer and as a highly regarded session player, contributed to dozens of projects. In June 2011, she released Mooniture, her debut CD, to critical acclaim. Since 2010 she has been a member of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival as a violinist and accordionist in Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris, as a contributing composer and performer in The Grapes of Wrath, and returned to the Stratford Festival stage in 2013 as the eponymous fiddler in Fiddler On The Roof. She has received two Guthrie Awards from the festival in support of her songwriting, as well as an Ontario Arts Council grant. We look forward to having her on SpringWorks’ stages for a second year!

SWF: How did the creation of your cabaret come about?

ANNA: While working at the Stratford Festival, I had the good fortune of meeting many wonderful and inspiring musicians. In our free time, we’d get together to play music for fun, often late at night (since we were usually performing during more conventional hours). Sometimes fiddle tunes, sometimes free jam sessions – whatever we felt like. When it came time to put together shows of my own in Stratford, I had already assembled a band!
SWF: Cabaret comes from a long and ignoble history of performances in bars or restaurants, where audiences are encouraged to have a drink, and this tradition is still very much alive today. Does this more relaxed than a concert atmosphere affect how you perform or the material you choose?

ANNA: I really love playing in a cabaret setting. I find that a relaxed environment often creates a closer relationship between performer and audience, and allows for more spontaneity on my part. I don’t specifically choose different material, but I am definitely more likely to take risks.

SWF: You’ve just finished composing for the film Eadweard. Is it a different experience composing to match a story different than creating individual songs or an album?

ANNA: Composing for film is quite different from writing songs. For one thing, it’s largely instrumental music, since the story is being told through the images and script. Also, I usually write songs alone, whereas I worked on the film score with Andrew Penner (Sunparlour Players). Writing and workshopping music with someone else brings a lot of new elements to the plate. Together we come up with ideas that simply wouldn’t happen if we were working individually. In my songwriting, I create the characters I’m writing about, but in movie scoring, the characters are supplied for me and it’s my job to write music that serves them and their stories. It’s been a really amazing process and a huge learning experience.

Tapestry Opera Cabaret – #swfTapestry
By Artists from Tapestry
Tapestry on Facebook            @TapNewOp

From Puccini to the present day. Relax and enjoy romantic arias from Italy and absurd and beautiful arias and duets from living Canadian composers. Tapestry presents a new era for opera!

A Bit About Tapestry
Tapestry is an international home for creators, developers and performers of new opera: all collaborators in telling stories that surprise, thrill and move audiences. The Tapestry process begins at the annual Composer-Librettist Laboratory where writers and composers are introduced to collaborative creation. Successful partnerships move on to create short operas, ranging in length from 15 – 45 minutes, before full length works are accepted into the Creative Development Program and on to full production. Tapestry productions have premiered to critical and popular acclaim and toured to over 30,000 students across Ontario.

We’ve all heard that nice guys finish last, but what about nice girls? Love and lust, kisses and kicks – XOXO runs the relationship gauntlet. Who will make it out alive? And more importantly, who will make out with anyone? Ever? Again? Join Two Juliets for this exciting comedy cabaret taking you through the highs and lows of dating in the modern world. Get a sneak peek at XOXO: The Relationship Show!

A Bit About Two Juliets – Meghan & Franny
Meghan Chalmers and Franny McCabe-Bennett met in the Theatre Performance program at Humber College. They collaborated in the spring of 2012 to create and perform their first duet work, Merge. In the winter of 2012, Franny and Meghan became Two Juliets. To date, they have written and performed XOXO at the 2013 Hamilton Fringe Festival, The Box Toronto, and hosted an official launch party in September 2013. Primarily using improvisation and vocal masque as creation methods, Franny and Meghan create original shows featuring scenes, monologues, songs and movement to explore modern, relatable issues from a funny, feminist point of view.

SWF: How did the creation of your cabaret come about?

TWO JULIETS: We knew we wanted to write a show about dating and relationships in the modern world after creating a performance piece together at Humber College that dealt with similar themes.  This performance piece was in the style of a vocal masque, which entails the same actor playing a variety of characters in different settings, linked by a common theme. “XOXO” was inspired by real conversations and is based on true experiences we have had in different relationships and at different points in our lives. After working together at Humber, we formed Two Juliets so we could create funny, feminist theatre that anyone and everyone can relate to.

SWF: Cabaret comes from a long and ignoble history of performances in bars or restaurants, where audiences are encouraged to have a drink, and this tradition is still very much alive today. Does this more relaxed than a concert atmosphere affect how you perform or the material you choose?

TWO JULIETS: After writing and improvising, our first priority in choosing material for our show is that it makes us laugh and feels true to life.  We realized our show didn’t quite fit any specific genres as either just theatre, or just a comedy show, or just a musical, as it incorporated aspects of all three.  Ultimately, we came up with “comedy cabaret” as the closest description.  One of the nice things about being a cabaret show is that it can be performed anywhere, is easy to tour with as there are no big sets or tech requirements, and people come in knowing it will be a little bit of everything. It also tips the audience off right away that they will be somewhat complicit in what happens on stage – there is a give and take beyond your typical spectator-performer relationship.

SWF: You’re currently expanding your show to a full hour. How has that process been going?

TWO JULIETS: Expanding the show means looking at our material from the shorter version, picking and choosing what we want to continue with or expand, and also being inspired by new stories and experiences to add in. Our writing process consists of writing, improvisation and lots of laughs.  We pick topics that we want to have in the show and improvise as a team to create what ultimately will become XOXO.  So far, it’s been going really well and we can’t wait to show everyone in the audience what we’ve been up to!

Get Your Tickets for XOXO: The Relationship Show here
Or By Telephone: 1-800-518-2819 ext. 3

SpringWorks now has charitable status and can issue tax receipts! All levels of sponsorship are appreciated. Check out our website for how you can donate today!

Let’s get SpringWorks 2014 trending on Twitter!

From technicians to Front of House, SpringWorks can always handle more Volunteers! For more information or to volunteer, check out our website.

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