When I used to write for Stu Hamsta, the favorite columns, the ones that got the biggest bump-up on website hits, were the Pet Peeves Columns….Here’s one of what will be many I’m sure!

  • On overstaying your welcome…a Cabaret show, no matter how good, should be 50-60 minutes inclusive of your fake encore, unless the club requires you to do a longer show. Some ask for 1:10-1:15 show and bigger names/stars are afforded longer shows. But, when people start looking at their watches, squirming in their chairs or need to hit the restroom twice during your show, this is not a good thing. Back to the concept of less is more and more is sometimes just more…keep them wanting more or you’re just singing AT them and not TO them.
  • On fake encores…do the whole go off and come back on thing or don’t, BUT do not apologize if you choose to do it. I really get annoyed when a person comes back up on stage blaming it on the audience saying, “You knew I was coming back up!” or “It’s a Cabaret “law” that you have to do the encore thing.” No, I didn’t and no, it’s not!  A real encore is no extra song on the piano and pulling one out of your…er…hat, yeah hat, because the audience refuses to stop clapping. I have been seeing Cabaret shows for 30 years and I have only witnessed 2 – count ‘em 2 – real encores and they were both for bigger names singers! Barbara Cook was one of them and she sang something a capella and off mic. I can promise you that the sweetest moment you will have on stage is being asked back for a real encore so wait for it but be ready to pull a tune out of your…hat! If you do the on/off thing, good for you (no judgment) but just come up, bow and sing…NO DISCLAIMER PLEASE!
  • On a solution to the above?… If you do 15 tunes in a show (about 55-60 minutes with some chat), at song 13 say your thank you’s and announce that you have 2 songs left. At the end of song 14 (your 11:00 number) have the Tech person say your name, bow, acknowledge the band and then stay there and do your last tune.
  • One last VIEW on the overstaying your welcome issue, think of the act that is appearing after you. You’re up at 7 and they’re up at 9:30. You stay on stage until 8:20. The room takes 20-30 minutes to clear and clean. We’re now at 8:45. The 2nd act was to be sound checking from 8:30-9:00 because doors were supposed to open at 9:00. The 2nd act either now has to rush through their sound check so that they do not keep their audience waiting in the hall or lobby or, if they need a full sound check, their show is going up at about 10:00. Are you out of the dressing room in time for them to get ready? Probably not because you’re smoozing with your guests as they leave. Let’s all just strive to treat people the way we would like to be treated if WE were the 2nd show. Keep those dressing rooms clean too please. 

Sue Matsuki

Dream it, Believe it, DO IT!

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