No, not that Cabaret, though I hope to go see it sometime this fall. This was at The Duplex, a cabaret and piano bar in the West Village, and last night I sang on its stage.
Let me back up. I’ve mentioned before that I sing in a choir here in New York called the New York City Master Chorale. As a fundraiser, the choir decided to host a cabaret show, with a lineup of singers from the choir singing solos, and sell tickets to our friends and family. Back in February we had the first round of auditions, and despite the fact that my solo singing has been limited since I left high school eight years ago, I decided to try out. And I got cast!
My fellow singers and I arrived around five o’clock yesterday for a sound check, where we were taught how to raise and lower the mic (two fingers and a light touch were all that was needed), reminded to bow before leaving the stage, and sang enough of our songs to get the right levels on the mic. We then retreated upstairs to a green room, and after dropping off our bags, my friend and I went off to grab a slice of pizza before the show.
When we came back, it was time to put on makeup, switch sandals for heels, and practice our patter. The theme of our cabaret was “What I Do For Love”, specifically our love of music, and I sang a song called “A Trip to the Library” from the musical She Loves Me. It is, as I told the audience last night, a song about stepping outside your comfort zone, even though you’re a little nervous, and having something wonderful and unexpected happen – which is exactly what we performers hope will happen every time we step out on the stage. It was the perfect song for me to share after such a long hiatus as a soloist, especially because it’s just so darn funny.
From the tiny stage of the cabaret, I couldn’t see most of the 70 or so people clustered around tables. I could see the front row, which mostly consisted of members of our choir – helpful, when you’re nervous! – and nothing else, not even my three friends who were in the audience. But if I couldn’t see the audience, I could certainly hear them! Maybe it was the alcohol, or the fact that they were all there to support friends, but our audience was having a fantastic time. They laughed at every single one of the jokes in my song. I walked on the stage nervous. I walked off it wondering why the heck I’d waited so long to put myself out there again.
The Duplex hosts cabaret shows every single night. It has sing-a-longs and karaoke, too, and while last night was my first time there, I’m sure I’ll be back – even before next year’s cabaret! I’ve had the performer experience, but now I need to find out what it’s like to be in the audience. I’m sure it’s just as much fun!
Has anyone else been to the Duplex, or any other cabaret-style venues? What did you see there?