The Cabaret yesterday was awesome! I’ve been looking forward to it for a while, but didn’t expect it to be the reassuring hand on the back or the hug around my heart I needed.
It was put together by Eric Malmquist (ericmalmquist.com) and his organization Singers on New Ground. I met Eric at the Bite Size Variety Hour a couple of months ago where I sang my song, “We Have to be Nice to the Nazis”. He paired me with composer Sarah Ritch of Anaphora (sarahjritch.wordpress.com).
After weeks of writing, rewriting, and emailing back and forth I sat in The Green Mill with my parents for the Cabaret. I wasn’t able to make the rehearsal so I would be hearing the songs, titled “Songs About Love” for the first time with the audience. My dad was ecstatic my work was at The Green Mill. He said it was on par with Second City. I don’t know if that’s the music aficionado in him or the proud dad.
My songs were sung by tenor Jacob Christopher with Kevin Reeks on the piano. I am so thankful Eric paired them with my songs. Sarah did an outstanding job with the music. Jacob has a gorgeous voice and performed beautifully. There’s a little stage with a column in the middle. He would lean on it when appropriate for emphasis of being in love.
The first song, “The World is Better (When You’re in Love)”, comes from the point of view of someone under the influence of love’s most severe side effect: optimism. It sounded like a haunted waltz in the best of ways. It was beautiful, and there was a power about it that made you want to be cautious.
The chorus of that song was one of the most beautiful things I had ever heard. The combination of the words, the music, and his voice met and melded into something that made me say “Wow” and “I wrote that.” I couldn’t believe I had written that. I couldn’t believe I had helped create something that beautiful.
The audience actually erupted in applause after the first song. It was the coolest thing. They had not applauded after any of the other first songs; they waited for the end of the set. I think it was because there was a succinct end to my song (I don’t know).
The second song was inspired by actual events. I was waiting in line to see a show. The line wrapped around the block for a theater that held 70. The couple behind me decided to make out. So I wrote a song about being in that delightfully awkward situation (very close quarters, not wanting to lose my spot in line, where do I look?)
People laughed (I kind of feel luckily). Jacob did a great job again.
I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to write more, have Sarah whip up music, and put Jacob and Kevin back on stage. I was excited when I heard the music to “Be Nice to the Nazis.” It was like I had created a statue and the music director brought it to life and put it in its world. I had a similar feeling when I worked on the song for my first Second City show and hearing the cast sing it. I can still remember the tune and how the room felt when the cast sang it. Everyone smiled.
I felt that yesterday ten fold.
I’d been scooting around in a bit of my own personal bell jar and the cabaret was the loving arm around my shoulder, pointing me towards a potential door.
I can’t wait to get the recordings so I can share the talents of Sarah, Jacob, and Kevin with you.