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Amateur singers, veteran talent
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Amateur singers, veteran talent

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

American-Style
Cabaret Workshop
Julia's on Broadway
October 11


Julia's on Broadway hosted the first ever American-Style Cabaret Workshop Concert on October 11, showcasing the talents of five of Seattle's newest cabaret performers. The dinner show was an enjoyable evening of song, style, and community that left the audience feeling entertained, and left some asking, "How can I sign up for the next workshop?"

The concert was the culmination of a weekend-long workshop taught by Seattle cabaret legend Arnaldo Inocentes, who has made a splash for over a decade as the incomparable Arnaldo! Drag Chanteuse, and cabaret aficionado and veteran performer Linda Kosut. The students learned the history of American-style cabaret, were coached on song choice and delivery, and given the opportunity to perform onstage in a venue that's known for its top-notch entertainment acts.

I went to the show expecting a recital, where each student would sing and the audience would politely applaud. However, under the musical direction of Daryl Spadaccini, and with Arnaldo and Kosut as their professors, the cabaret novices had reached graduation day - and judging by the audience's enthusiastic response after each number, it's safe to say these students graduated at the top of their class.

The American-Style Cabaret Workshop Concert was split up into two sets, with each performer singing one or two songs. The show began with a special performance by Arnaldo Inocentes, who sang a medley of "Zing Went the Strings of My Heart" and "The Trolley Song." Watching Arnaldo perform is always a treat. Every move, every smile, and every note are placed just so, and yet he delivers each song as if it were for the very first time - just for you.

Sunday was the first time I'd had the pleasure of watching Linda Kosut perform. Kosut sang "If I Were a Bell" and "The Snake." Both performances were done well, but it was her rendition of "The Snake" that really showcased her comfort onstage. Completely at home, it was as if Kosut had spent years in the spotlight.

When Judy Ann Moulton, a 20-year musical theater veteran, performed "My Man," it was reminiscent of listening to Jo Stafford. Moulton had a wonderful stage presence and seemed comfortable in her song choices. Moulton is a pleasure to listen to; she has a strong voice and delivers each song with ease.

A self-described "closet singer dying to get out," Anastasia Khan sang "In My Life." Although her voice wasn't the strongest of the group, it was the stories behind her song choices that allowed her to connect with the audience. During her last number, "Glow," she successfully managed to work Bonnie Raitt into a cabaret act. Khan is likable and has the versatile talents of a songstress and storyteller.

Announced as "arriving directly from a shower concert in Renton," the very entertaining Ron DeLay gave the audience a mix of theatrics and song. DeLay performed a version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Memory" as if he were singing in an old speakeasy - a time long gone, but not forgotten. DeLay is capable of entertaining audiences of all kinds; whether he's onstage for two minutes or two hours, he'll find a way to make good use of the time with the perfect blend of comedy and song lyrics.

Myrlen Tagam, a nurse who said she wants her second career to be cabaret, was an absolute delight. Tagam bravely sang Barbra Streisand's "Evergreen" and made it her own with a gentle delivery. Tagam didn't need to go overboard in her performance; instead, she presented each song in her own charming way and the audience enjoyed every minute of it.

The performer who stole the show was Terry Gallagher. Each and every number was a delivered in Gallagher's brand of in-your-face entertainment. I've watched "When You're Good to Mama" performed to the point of nausea, but Gallagher gave Queen Latifah a run for her money. Not only did she nail the song, she performed it and made it her own. Gallagher has a personality as strong as her voice. I wouldn't be surprised if she became a main fixture in the local cabaret scene.

The finale, "Smile," was performed by all of the workshop participants alongside Arnaldo and Kosut.

From beginning to end, the concert was a success - not only as a form of entertainment, but also as a community event. The beauty of the night was watching a show put together by local talent, and performed by local talent inside a Capitol Hill establishment. Far removed from a mere recital, the American-Style Cabaret Workshop Concert was a night dedicated to the art of cabaret and the people who perform it.

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