The Sons and Daughters of Slaves, Immigrants, and Indigenous People
When the pandemic first hit in March 2020 the cabaret industry suffered a huge, seemingly insurmountable hit. But cabaret artists are used to insurmountable odds, and with every venue closed they still found away to provide entertainment and solace, online, via FaceTime, YouTube, Instagram, etc., all the while dreaming of when live singing in front of an audience IRL (in real life) would happen again. Six months later, on September 17, 2020, “Cabaret Katie“ McGrath made that those dreams come true.
McGrath assembled a cast and production team of cabaret artists, found an open air rooftop space large enough to accommodate a sizable and appreciative, crowd of (fully masked and socially distanced) cabaret aficionados, and put on a show with social, political and racial relevance called “The Uprising.”
Award-winning singers Aaron Lee Battle, Natalie Douglas, and Julie Reyburn, were among the impressive and diverse cast which included Diane D’Angelo, Mary Sue Daniels, Adrienne Danrich, John DePalma, Brian Fender, Joanne Halev, Ahmad Maksoud, Chet Whye Jr., and Jeffrey M. Wright. The evening, presented as “The Sons and Daughters of Slaves, Immigrants, and Indigenous People” was directed by Lina Koutrakos, and music directed by Paul Greenwood, with Steve Singer adding delicate percussion, and Roger Lian providing on-site (where there normally is no site) technical direction.
The setting could not have been more magical, high upon a moonlit Manhattan rooftop, yet under the shadow of a blazing red Empire State building. The music was powerfully sung and artfully arranged. The evening was all that one could ask for, and seemed to herald (if not long for) a return to “normal“ life. Let’s hope this Uprising has a reprise.
Below are some memorable shots from Photographer Helane Blumfeld.