The Manhattan Association of Cabarets (MAC) announces the sixth year of its MAC TO SCHOOL weekend event.
September 18th & 19th

The two-day cabaret event features panel discussions, interviews, workshops, and showcases, and will be held Saturday and Sunday, September 18 & 19 from 10:00 am to 6 pm each day over the MAC Zoom channel.

MAC TO SCHOOL is open to MAC and non-MAC members.

  • Flat registration fee for MAC members: $50
  • Registration fee for Non-MAC members: $100, or join MAC for only $50 (Basic level) for a full-year membership to take advantage of the deeply discounted MAC member price of only $50 for the entire weekend.

The $50 registration fee is good for admission to all events. Tuition is the same regardless of how many events you attend.

Panel discussions, interviews, workshops, and showcases will feature cabaret performers, musical directors, directors, and booking managers from NYC and beyond, and will be moderated by a member of the MAC Board of Directors.

Visit to register.

Complete schedule follows.


September 18 & 19, 2021

Saturday, September 18th

10-11:30 a.m.

Panel Discussion: Nuts and Bolts: Establishing, Maintaining, and Growing Your Cabaret Career

A cross-section of cabaret professionals—performers, musical directors, directors, and booking managers—discuss best practices, shortcuts, what works, and what’s possible in the cabaret industry, and take questions from the online audience. A wide-ranging discussion with useful nuggets for beginning, emerging, and mid-career cabaret artists.


11:40a.m.-12:55 p.m.

Setting Up A Song with Phyllis Pastore

Patter is the connective tissue of your cabaret show. Bistro Award-winner Phyllis Pastore has over 30 years of experience creating patter that keeps audiences engaged, on their toes, laughing, and in the palm of her hand. In this workshop, 4-5 students will work one-on-one with Phyllis in a master-class format, applying her principles to create patter for their own shows—and all students will come away with an overview of what makes great patter, and when to let a song speak for itself.


12:55-2 p.m.


Hang out in the Zoom Room with your fellow attendees!


2 p.m.-3:15 p.m.

Pop Song Workshop with Farah Alvin

Between juke box musicals and the prevalence of contemporary pop scores on Broadway, your rep book is incomplete without a handful of pop songs. MAC award nominee Farah Alvin has made a career of translating Top-40 songs into theater pieces, from her Drama Desk-nominated turn in Off-Broadway’s The Marvelous Wonderettes to the hits of the Bee Gees and Burt Bacharach on Broadway. Her hit cabaret shows On Vinyl (named the Best Cabaret Show 2019) and B-Side were comprised entirely of ‘70s hits. She will teach you how to select pop and rock material that translates well to a cabaret setting, how to build an arc into a pop song, and how to play to your strengths in this genre, even if you’re not a natural pop singer. The class will cover pop-rock material from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, as well as contemporary choices. Farah will work in a master class format with 3 students (and potentially one alternate), who should be prepared to sing to a track and should select a pop or rock song written between 1950 and 2021.


3:25-4:40 p.m.

Comedy Song Master Class with Sharon McKnight

Hone your comedy chops with cabaret lifetime achievement award winner and Tony nominee Sharon McNight! Sharon will work one-on-one with four students (and possibly two alternates) in a master-class format to maximize the comic impact of their performance. Slots will be apportioned on a first-come-first-served basis. Participating singers will submit self-tapes of 2 comic pieces they wish to work on, with tracks that can be used in the live Zoom session, by September 15; Kristine will let folks know if they need any alterations in the tracks (such as keys or tempos) beforehand. Singers will work on one or both pieces, as time allows, using tracks or working acapella. Comedy is hard and is a serious matter The more information you can submit to Sharon before class is in session the better it will be for you.


4:50-5:50 p.m

Beloved Performer Sidney Myer in Conversation with Cabaret Historian James Gavin

Why does cabaret matter so much to the world, and certainly to New York, and why has it survived every prediction of doom? James Gavin, author of Intimate Nights: The Golden Age of New York Cabaret, and performer Sidney Myer, is in his fourth decade booking Don’t Tell Mama, have some ideas about that! This conversation between two old friends and industry insiders will touch on Peggy Lee, Lena Horne, and cabaret’s special place in the nightlife of New York City.

Sunday, September 19th

10-11:30 a.m.

Panel Discussion: Notes From The Great Beyond

Cabaret stars Natalie Dougles, Marissa Mulder, Steve Ross, and others share an insider’s eye-view of cabaret on a national and international stage.


11:40 a.m.-12:55 p.m.

Musical Thought Exchange with David Friedman

How to hold onto positive thoughts despite the uncomfortable feelings those thoughts can engender: that’s the secret of David Friedman’s revolutionary self-help method, “The Thought Exchange.” In this workshop, David will explain the Thought Exchange method, then work with one singer on acting a song, one singer on a vocal issue, and one person on a life or career issue. He will also work with more students as time permits. Please indicate on your registration form if you want to work with David on an acting, singing, or career issue. All singers who wish to work live with David should bring a song and a track.


12:55-2 p.m.


Hang out in the Zoom Room with your fellow attendees!



2:00-3:15 p.m.

Jazz Styling Master Class with Laurel Massé

If a song has words, the words matter. This is as true in jazz as it is in any other genre of music. In this session, Laurel Massé, founding member of the Manhattan Transfer, will teach a few of the ideas and practices that have served her in her almost 50 years in the business, including vocal warmups, safeguarding vocal health, the importance of diction, tips for memorizing lyrics, and how to tell stories in a way that invites the listener in. Additionally, Laurel will work with three students in a master-class format. Singers should prepare a song they know well enough to sing without looking at the lyrics. Singers may sing to a track or accompany themselves. Even if you are not planning to sing, you may find value in having a song in mind as Laurel helps the other singers to fully inhabit the lyrics.



3:30-5 p.m.

Original Closing Numbers Showcase

Every show needs a closing number, and these songwriters from in and around the cabaret community offer a parade of brand-new, underexposed gems that will close YOUR next show with a bang! Original works by Alpher & Litt, Amy Engelhardt, David Friedman, Dan Gross, Noel Katz, Lina Koutrakos, Christine Lavin, Bob Levy, Kim Oler, J. P. Perreaux, Johnny Rodgers, Paul Rolnick, Tracy Stark, Tom Toce, and more!



  • Depending upon enrollment, singing in master classes and workshops is not guaranteed. *



Presenter Bios

Phyllis Pastore arrived from Colorado over 30 years ago and was fully embraced by the NYC cabaret community, performing regularly at Don’t Tell Mama, the Duplex, Rose’s Turn, Eighty-Eights and most recently at Pangea in the East Village. She was nominated for a MAC Award for her debut show and named Best Female Vocalist by Backstage Magazine. She has performed at Town Hall and Symphony Space as a part of the Mabel Mercer Cabaret Convention and has become a regular performer in the esteemed series Sondheim Unplugged at Feinstein’s/54 Below. For 27 seasons, Phyllis was a resident performer in Mykonos Greece and the famed Montparnasse/The Piano Bar. In recent years, Phyllis has taken on a new career as a commercial/film actress being featured in two national commercials and voicing The Darkle Dragon in Nickelodeon’s animated series Nella the Princess Knight. She can be seen in several student films and is a featured player in the new Sopranos movie, The Many Saints of Newark which will be released in theaters and on HBO Max in October 2021.  She recently returned from Berlin, Germany, where she is co-starring in the award-winning American-language film, The Finellis. Check out video and audio clips at


Farah Alvin’s Broadway credits include It Shoulda Been You, Nine, The Look of Love, Saturday Night Fever, and Grease!, among others. Off-Broadway credits include Window Treatment (cast album), Goldstein, The Last Smoker in America (cast album), The Marvelous Wonderettes (Drama Desk Nomination, cast album), I Love You Because (cast album), and more. Lots of regional including The Cape Playhouse in 2014 and 2017, Papermill Playhouse, Goodspeed Opera House, Signature Theatre (Helen Hayes Award), Geva Theater, and Alabama Shakespeare. Her solo show Farah Alvin On Vinyl was named the Best Cabaret Show of 2019. She has performed as a soloist with the symphony orchestras of Indianapolis, Cleveland, Detroit, and the national symphonies of the United States and Canada. In New York, Farah performs regularly in the series Broadway By the Year at Town Hall, Broadway Close Up and Broadway Unplugged at Merkin Hall, Broadways Greatest Hits and 54 Singsat Feinstein’s/54 Below. Follow Farah on her website, Instagram and Facebook.


David Friedman, one of America’s most beloved songwriters, has written songs that touch hearts and speak to souls, for everyone from Disney to Diana Ross, produced/wrote for the late, great Nancy LaMott (Listen To My Heart/We Can Be Kind/We Live on Borrowed Time), conducted on Broadway and for Disney Animated Pictures (Beauty & The Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Hunchback), composed for The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Aladdin and the King of Thieves, and Trick, performed his song revue Listen to My Heart off-Broadway and all over America, and co-wrote 100 songs with Kathie Lee Gifford for The Today Show. Winner of the Drama Desk, Outer Critic’s Circle, and Broadway Alliance Awards for his acclaimed musical, Desperate Measures, David currently is working on three Broadway-bound musicals.  David is also the best-selling author of numerous books including, The Thought Exchange – Overcoming Our Resistance to Living a Sensational Life; We Can Be Kind – Healing Our World One Kindness at a Time; and most recently, Help is on the Way – From Places You Dont Know About Today.


Founding member of the Manhattan Transfer and critically-acclaimed solo jazz artist Laurel Massé is considered one of the finest song interpreters working today. She is also a clinician and adjudicator at choral music festivals, and part of the teaching staff of the Ashokan Music and Dance camps. 2022 will mark her 50th year in the music business.

To sign up,