How’d It Go?
David Stephens thinks that what makes my cabaret approach somewhat unique is that I try to bring “theater to cabaret and cabaret to theatre”. My sense is that I’m attempting a genre that is as much a small ‘one-man show’ as a cabaret set.
The experience of my audience at the Wilde and Woolley premiere bore this out. The almost universal response I received in feed-back was “what a story-teller you are”. The audience appreciated the event as story and I felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment in that I succeeded in presenting a coherent story in song and dialogue from beginning to end.
In addition to the “tell me a story” appeal, my intent was to explore the issue of how the closet affected these two pre-Stonewall gay artists. This also seemed to come across. When they saw the show people no longer puzzled about what the “Wilde” was doing in the title.
As a try-out I learned that my program can be expanded. In the debut I had an enthusiastic audience response but came in about ten minutes short of an hour. I cut the show to fit the demands of the one-hour only format and it worked. However I gave short shrift to several story aspects (and songs) that I think can be added back to advantage.
The Porter novelty material works like gang busters. I’m proud to have brought rare ‘gems’ to the program, but not for its own sake. I think that the main reason songs like ‘Football King’, ‘Kling-Kling Bird’ and ‘Pets’ aren’t that much done is because they are material for comedian/actor rather than chanteur and I have the entertainment chops to work them. That also makes my program unique.
I’m also proud that I managed to act/sing the ballads successfully. Even with a voice impaired by Rhinitis the ballads worked in the debut because they were motivated by the story and served the emotional truth of it.
So as far as self-evaluation goes, I was most pleased with my accomplishment as a writer and mostly pleased with myself as a performer. I very much look forward to continue with this project. I think it has ‘legs’.