GRIMM or 7 Reasons I Love Every Kat Robichaud / Misfit Cabaret Show

grimm

It’s no secret that I love every show by Kat Robichaud and Misfit Cabaret since I’ve seen every performance they have done at Great Star Theater and always post about it on social media. Last night I went to the current show, GRIMM, which is playing this weekend and next only (get your tickets), and it got me thinking about why I like these shows so much. Here are the top seven reasons:

1. Themed Performances That Don’t Take Themselves Too Seriously

Each show has a theme around which the songs, costumes and acts are based. The themes are always original, unique, and artistic. But they also don’t take themselves too seriously. The theme is more of a starting point for each act to use as inspiration than a guideline for what will be found in the night’s performance. Grimm, of course, is derived from the fairy tales, with divergent acts including Snow White, puppetry, references to once upon a time and Neverending Story and more. It’s always fun to see the different interpretations of a theme, some of them looser than others. The next show after Grimm, Cinepheilia, is themed around cult films.

kat robichaud GRMM

2. Kat’s Original Songs

Kat’s voice is the big draw for me and I always love her original lyrics. She writes two original pieces for every Misfit Cabaret themed show. They’re the highlight of every show in my opinion. In fact, when I saw her perform at this year’s Edwardian Ball, where she sung several of those originals, I suddenly realized that I knew a bunch of her songs by heart.

3. The Medleys

They also have a couple of song medleys in each performance, suited to the theme but drawing from a diverse array of different musical genres. They are endlessly fun every time. I love that there’s always a mixture of songs I know so well and songs I’ve never heard.

snow white, GRIMM

4. VARIETY!

A great cabaret performance includes a range of different acts and Misfit Cabaret always meets that criteria. Kat is undeniably the star of the show but she does a great job of humbly highlighting the skills and talents of everyone she brings to her stage. There are people who have been featured in more than one show and new people each time and it’s always a delight to be introduced to both. GRIMM’s standout is Eliza Rickman who shared three songs last night, for two of which she accompanied herself on xylophone. She has a truly magical, ethereal voice. Amazing. That’s not to say that the other performers weren’t also great, because they were. Most shows include a burlesque performance and an aerial dance; those were both great pieces in GRIMM as well.

Eliza Rickman is working on a video for this song funded via Kickstarter; she performed the song in GRIMM

5. Quality of Performance Art

Kat’s style is this fabulous mix of classic rock with musical theater. It’s high energy, sexy, dramatic entertainment replete with fabulous costumes and interesting sets. These aren’t high budget productions but so much goes into the making of them that there’s always plenty to delight the senses. I am endlessly entertained throughout every show.

aerial dance, GRIMM

6. Great Star Theater

I won’t wax poetic about this historic Chinatown theater since I’ve mentioned it plenty of times in the past. I’ll just say that it’s an example of everything I love about the arts in San Francisco and it gets better each time I go and I’m thrilled to support the place as much as I can. The next big show isn’t one of Kat’s, but it looks good: Twisted Cabaret in March.

7. It’s San Francisco At It’s Finest

Kat may hail from North Carolina but everything about her seems so San Francisco. There are magical things about this city that captured my heart the first time I saw it and continue to make my heart flutter to this day. They aren’t easily describable in ways that don’t sound cliche but if you love the arts and activism and originality and celebrating-weirdness of this city, the things about the city that have stood the test of time across different social issues and many changes, then you’ll know what I mean. The audience at these shows celebrates that underlying energetic feelings; we are not the only ones to sometimes dress up for the theme, although we wouldn’t go so far as to say we dressed in costume since simple accessories don’t qualify as costumes in this heavily theme-dressed, event-loving city. Kat’s shows exude this “San Francisco creative energy” at every level.

Go see her. Support local art.

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Interview with Cabaret Singer Carly Ozard … MORE SHIFT HAPPENS

carly ozard

Carly Ozard is a cabaret singer originally from the Bay Area who is returning her for a one-night only performance of her new show, MORE SHIFT HAPPENS, on August 18th at Feinstein’s at the Nikko. Learn more about Carly and the show from this advance interview!

Carly postcard Webb - More Shift Happens 8-18-16

How does it feel to be returning to SF for this show? 

First of all, thank you so much for granting me this wonderful interview. It feels very welcoming!! I’m really excited to be coming home to the Bay because this collaboration is going to be one of the best we’ve ever had. We have Musical Director Rick Jensen and me from NYC, Drummer Brandon Walters and Guitarist Terrence Brewer and back-up vocalist Jennifer Haber all from San Francisco, and back-up singer Francesca Camus from Las Vegas all on one stage!!!

Is being back bringing up any fond memories? 

My favorite memories about singing in San Francisco are usually with the Richmond Ermet AID Foundation. It’s always such a great evening for a fantastic cause and Ken Henderson and Joe Seilor (the show’s producers) are the best. I also loved working with Russell Blackwood and Scrumbly Koldewyn in the Thrillpeddler’s last season in the Untamed Stage (2016) and want to come back and do a role for them again, like, yesterday.

What are some of the things you’re making sure to see/do/enjoy while you’re here?

While home I’ll frequent Martuni’s and any solo shows or musical theatre productions that I can see as well as score a brunch at Café Klaus!

Awesome choices! There are a lot of local “cabaret” groups and singers … what does this term mean to you? How does it fit your identity as a musical performer?

Truly, I think it’s fantastic. We can always be inspired by people and check out what others are creating. I’m inspired lately by Kat Robichaud’s Misfit Cabaret, and anything that Joe Wicht is involved in is always going to be top notch talent. The Cabaret Showcase Showdown is a wonderful breeding ground for local talent. Oasis has unbelievable projects going on all the time! People are challenging themselves and I think it’s fabulous.

My identity onstage is always evolving (as it is offstage as well); I learn, I grow, and I make mistakes. I learn from them, and build in a different direction. There’s so many more bells and whistles that performers are encouraged to pursue. It’s no longer a singer on a stage with a piano. You need a band. You might need video projections or a costume change, a small set…. Or in NYC, sometimes a theremin.

Yes! Your work is a blend of many things! Mostly, it seems to be a blend of music, comedy and confessional. What can you tell us about the process of writing More Shift Happens? 

My director Kristine Zbornik and I took a lot of self deprecation out and made the first half of the show more of what I call My Own Personal Chorus Line experience. I’m not a dancer – but I am a vocalist who has built a new instrument since moving to NY, and with it, I’ve been able to launch myself towards opportunities that my old singing voice wouldn’t have gotten me. I’ve been in the room where it happens, so to speak…. For Broadway and National Tour Casting, and it’s SCARY. I also think it’s important to enlighten your audience and share with them about the process of graduating from nightclub personality to actress, singer, taking on scripted roles for the first time. That’s the first half of the show. The second half takes us through some travels I experienced as a working performer for the first time. There are wonderful stories, some really tough ones, some that shake you up, and some that reveal some good juicy NY stories. I’m really looking forward to it!

carly ozard photo

Sounds so exciting! So it sounds like your work/ voice changed in the past decade since you launched?

I left San Francisco with a pulled larynx, and atrophied muscles around my chords. I was taken on by Bill Schuman who trains mostly opera singers, and we built a whole new voice. I can belt a high A now comfortably, which has gotten me callbacks for really big projects. I’m in the process of becoming a real honest to God dramatic soprano.

In terms of other changes, the terror I used to experience onstage hoping I would make it through the evening doesn’t happen anymore. The fear has subsided and now I actually can be present onstage and focus on my craft. Acting is hard. I had never been trained. I think a lot of people assumed I knew things when I never really did. When I lost my voice, I lost my identity. When I got my instrument back, it taught me to be grateful for something.

Also, Teachers. If you can’t find the teachers who have your back, KEEP GOING until the best ones find you, and then there it all will be for you….. the right time to learn and the best time to go forward in your next personal steps of growth.

Lastly, NEVER APOLOGIZE. I used to apologize for myself. I used to be insecure with what I brought to the table, and I used to pull an imaginary chair up onstage with me for all my baggage and self hatred. I’ve learned from some pretty blunt and honest influences while living in NY that it’s not helpful and really stunts your growth as well as shuts people out. NEVER APOLOGIZE for who you are onstage today. Accept who you are today, and do your JOB.

Well said. Hard to accomplish but so important. Wonderful! Changing subjects a bit, what is your preferred method of listening to music (other than live)?

I’m LITERALLY blasting my Spotify right now. I will soon be available for streaming, showcasing some great covers with the incredible San Francisco based Ben Prince as well as with EDM engineer Leo Frappier. Also… living in Washington Heights now, I’m blocks from Central Harlem where the best reggae is blasted on the streets and I walk blocks with my Shazam on automatic and get all my favorite beats and get lost in those selections. I love dance and reggae.

What a great experience! What else have you been listening to a lot lately?

Right now, I’m really into some Electric Dance Music like Kaskade- they’re fantastic to listen to, and I love Aloe Blacc, Avicii, Armin Van Buuren, and Local Drag Phenomenon Pollo Del Mar turned me onto Zoe Badwi. I also flood my playlists with a lot of Burning Spear, Bob Marley and the Wailers and underground reggae artists who I discover left and right now that I live near Harlem. OH AND PAROV STELAR. Have you heard his music???? It’s like…. Swing Techno. It’s my FAVORITE THING to blast when I’m getting ready for some Burning Man or Drag Event that needs a costume.  I’m also becoming more familiar with Country Music. I’m really into Reba, Carrie Underwood, and of course following my favorite show Nashville. I’m also really getting into Aretha Franklin. I’ve been singing a lot of her hits with a huge band at the Friar’s Club here in NYC.

What a terrific collection of different influences. … More Shift Happens includes back up singers, directors and musicians … how do you approach collaboration with other creative people?

I’m so excited that Francesca Camus is joining us. She’s really a solo artist but I’m so grateful to work with her again. We went to college together and she is another one who has built her voice up to be a MACHINE. Jenn Haber besides being my bff is always the most professional backup singer and she gets it DONE. Both girls know how to SING. How I approach collaborations is with a lot of drop box and voice memo recordings, lol. We get parts plunked and sheet music pdf’d, and then I pay everyone everything. Rick Jensen is one of the most seasoned professionals in the business and he used to play at the Plush Room at the York Hotel with the infamous late Nancy LaMott so I am honored to have him in the music director seat. Terrence Brewer is a notorious guitarist in the Bay Area, so it’s really a gift to have him onstage with me. Brandon Walker and I haven’t met yet but I hear awesome things about his drumming skills.

Fabulous. It’s so great how the various technologies available to us today can be used to make so many things come to life. What is something you want us to know about More Shift Happens before we go see it?

This is one of the hardest shows I’ve ever done. I’m taking you to Broadway. I’m taking you to Nashville, Puerto Vallarta, San Francisco, back to NY all on one planet, while simultaneously acknowledging huge life-altering circumstances that come to shake us all up. It’s really a more universal project than it is about me me me. Come relate, enjoy and be entertained.

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