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Thursday, April 18
The Indiana Daily Student


Big-city cabaret comes to town

One-man musical explores life issues

Tonight the Bloomington Playwrights Project invites the audience to take part in one-of-a-kind experience that will explore the detours of life through song. Washington D.C. performer Colin James' original one man cabaret "Detour Ahead" will be held tonight and tomorrow at the BPP at 8 p.m.\nThe performance is part of the BPP's Cabaret Nouveau Series and will be the first time the series has featured a male artist. The songs in the show are familiar tunes but they are used to illustrate a story about the performer's life.\n"It is personal because each cabaret can only be done by that person. Each cabaret is about a personal journey and usually has a theme," said Candace Decker, Marketing Director at the BPP, who is also a cabaret artist.\n"I look at it as sharing your life. You are the host and the audience is your guest."\nThe show James has prepared is not only deeply personal but also appeals to a broad audience by revealing the lessons of life.\n"The show is called "Detour Ahead" and it touches on many things in my life that are current and lessons that I have learned in my life. I think that I have learned that things don't always turn out how we plan and life sends us detours from time to time," James said.\nJames' decision to pursue a career in cabaret is an example of one of his detours. He has his Master of Music degree in Opera performance from the University of Maryland but his opera path took a turn in a new direction. Two years ago when attending a cabaret symposium at The Eugene O'Neil Theatre in Waterford Connecticut he fell in love with cabaret.\n"It changed my life ... I am very grateful for my training in Opera performance but Cabaret suits my personality much more. Sometimes it takes a singer a while to find his or her voice," James said.\nCabaret relies on a shared experience and culture between the artist and audience to achieve a connection.\n"I hope the audience will enjoy themselves and hear the songs and connect with what the lyrics are saying and connect with me as well. That intimate connection is what Cabaret is all about," James said. \nIt is the personal nature of cabaret that makes it intimate as well as challenging for many performers.\n"Because it is generated from the individual instead of hiding behind a character it is much more risky to get up on stage and be yourself. You can't blame it on the writer," said BPP artistic director, Richard Perez. \nCabaret is unique because it combines elements of comedy, theater, musicals, and stand-up. This small art form is common in many large cities but not in the midwest. The BPP is the only place in Bloomington where cabaret is performed regularly. \n"It gives people a chance to be introduced to cabaret because it is not as common here as it is in big cities. It gives us a chance to work different types of artists we don't usually work with," Perez said.\n"It is important for us as a theatre company to not rest on our laurels and experiment with different theatrical forms."\nIn order to give the BBP's cabaret performances more of the air of big city cabarets that take place in a bar-like atmosphere a reception with wine and food will be held before the performances.\nPerhaps it is not necessarily atmosphere but a special type of performer that is needed to make a winning cabaret.\n"I think it takes someone who is willing to be honest and real as a performer. There is no fourth wall between the performer and the audience ... There are specific skills one needs to learn to be successful in cabaret," James said. One of the elements of cabaret is patter, that is where the performer talks with the audience. Not everyone is willing to do that."\n"Detour Ahead" will run on June 17 and 18 at 8 p.m. at the BPP at 312 S. Washington St. Tickets are $15. Student and senior tickets are $10. Reservations are encouraged.

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