My fabulous crew! Rob on lights, Chris on sound, Me the Queen,Dean my writer/director and Josie the Diva!
Wednesday January 18, 2012
It’s just after 7am. Anyone who knows me understands this is unusually early for me to be functional but it is opening night tonight, so the anxiety has kicked in.
I really don’t mind nerves now that I’ve been around long enough to know how to use them positively; I get so much more done! In a long running show it’s more of a pain when there are no nerves whatsoever and you have to dig deep to muster up some energy and enthusiasm. So it’s been a really productive couple of days.
On Monday I met the space, my crew and the lovely team at fortyfivedownstairs. The piano is simply divine and I couldn’t be happier. Virtually the entire show is just me and a piano and if you are not a pianist you will have to trust me that not all pianos are built the same and can be vastly different to play. This one is going to work a treat! For a day scheduled as merely introductory, we actually got a lot done; knocked off a proper sound check, I got in a couple of hours of piano practice and Dean and I worked through the script tightening it up just a little here and there.
Yesterday morning, I had brunch with the lovely Cath Alcorn who is producing my upcoming Sydney performance in February at Slide. She’s down here for Midsumma too with her Bette Midler show so we had lots to share and compare. Then it was back to the space for a full afternoon of ‘tech’. Rob, our lighting designer, has managed to make a miracle out of a fairly spartan setup and the lighting states look incredible. Between him and Dean the show here is going to look a million bucks (well, a good few hundred thousand – hell, we’re only charging $29!).
‘Tech’ basically means I sit still at the piano for a few hours while Dean and Rob fine tune each lighting state working methodically through the show from my entrance to my last bow, which we imagine as noisy and triumphant in a silent room. With that behind us, Josie came in and brightened up the room and we did a proper run. It’s always a little disheartening doing a run to an empty room, especially once you’ve had it up before a lively audience and know how just much they can bring to a show. After the run, which admittedly did have a few more mistakes in it than I would have liked (all mine), Dean and I popped over to JOY FM on Bourke St to plug the show on their cabaret hour. I ended up talking more on air about my dermatologist and arguing with Dean than actually praising the show; oh the joys of live radio!
Then it was back to the space to top and tail each lighting state again, so that Chris (my very talented sound guy) could have a go at running the lighting board because for the actual season he’s on his own. What a clever boy!
Dean and I had late dinner at San Telmo, this fantastic new Argentinian restaurant around the corner and did a notes session which was reassuringly brief. Also reassuring was hearing how ticket sales have really picked up these last couple of days and it looks like the first few shows in particular are going to be rather full. Thank God!
Today is looking like a relatively quiet day which gives me time to mentally focus on the show and correct some of the little stuff ups from yesterday. I find mental preparation away from the piano can sometimes be just as productive, but I am still popping in to the space after lunch for some real piano practice too. I’m doing yet another spot on JOY at 5pm, I’m not sure in what capacity but happy to just turn up and roll with it. Then it’s a quick run through at 6pm before our first show tonight at 8pm. Dean won’t be there because it coincides with Britney Spears: The Cabaret starring the gorgeous Christie Whelan opening at Chapel Off Chapel, so in which case, we are calling my show tonight a ‘preview’ and tomorrow the official opening.
I was ahead of myself when I announced the new Madonna single came out on Monday, it’s not actually released until the end of the month. However, the Queen of Pop did score her second Golden Globe yesterday for Best Original Song (Masterpiece) and I did feel unusually proud! I’m going to take it as another good sign.
Cabaret Confessional is excited to announce our new guest blogger Michael Griffiths, a critically acclaimed cabaret and musical theatre performer. He made a spectacular cabaret debut at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival last year with In Vogue: Songs by Madonna. Following his success, he is now touring the show to Melbourne, New York City and Sydney. He will document his time on the road on his tour diary for the next two months.
“He creates a sense of togetherness in the room, reminding audiences that pop songs aren’t popular because they’re ordinary or vacuous, but because of the joy and connectedness that they inspire in the people who hear them. To miss this show would be even more of a crime than Madonna’s cover of ‘American Pie’.”
Click here to read the Four and a half-star review by ArtsHub reviewer Aleksia Barron.
“Griffiths’ charming and impish performance sheds new light on Madonna’s songs and career…”- Kate Herbert
Click here to read the four-star review by Sun Herald reviewer Kate Herbert.
“With some impressive arrangements for piano, Griffiths gives the music and lyrics a considerable lift, and together with some clever monologues, injects a lot of humour” - Australian Stage
Click here to read the full review by Vito Mattarelli.
Michael Griffiths in In Vogue: Songs by Madonna
Melbourne season as part of the Midsumma Festival at fortyfivedownstairs: For tickets and show info, click here.
New York season at Don’t Tell Mama: For tickets and show info, click here.
Sydney season as part of the Slide Cabaret Festival: For tickets and show info, click here.
Read his interview with Cabaret Confessional here.
Michael Griffiths Bio:
Performing Arts (WAAPA) with a Bachelor in Music Theatre in 1999 and has a Diploma in Music Composition. Michael is currently performing in Sydney in Jersey Boys. Before this Michael toured Australia and New Zealand in Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Michael performed in the Australian and Japanese tour of We Will Rock You!, appeared in the original Australian cast of Shout! and was in the original workshop for the new Australian musical Prodigal. Michael has performed cabaret at Sydney’s legendary Showqueen at the Supper Club and for Koookaburra’s Up Close and Musical series. He enjoyed a sold-out season with his cabaret debut In Vogue: Songs by Madonna at the 2011 Adelaide Cabaret Festival.
Michael Griffiths’ Cabaret Tour Diary series
*Calling all Adelaide Fringe 2012 cabaret performers! If you are interested in having your Fringe show featured on Cabaret Confessional, click here for more information.
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