Review Fix chats with singers Elena Zazanis, Alex Pflaster, Amy Elise and Amanda Levie, who discusses their production at the Midtown International Theatre Festival, “The Mysterious A Cappella Murder Cabaret.” Breaking down the inspiration for the performance, as well as his goals for the future, the quartet lets us know exactly why we should check out the wildly unique production.
For more information on the production and the MITF, click here.
Review Fix: What inspired this production?
Cabaret Sauvignon: The Mysterious A Cappella Murder Cabaret was inspired by the desire to elevate what began as an a cappella “act” into a “real show!” We had talked about producing a variety show compiled of comedy, burlesque, music and sketch, but this concept morphed into a collaborative effort to actually write a musical comedy. We know it’s not Shakespeare, but we guarantee the audience a tantalizing journey, showcasing our tunes from the quirkiest to the campiest and unraveling the mystery of our manager’s murder.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Cabaret Sauvignon: As a quartet, we’ve been pitching ideas for songs to each other for over two years, so when it came to writing this plot, we adopted the same strategy. One of us would present an idea to take the story further, and then the rest of us would contribute or kill it! It works because we feel very safe with each other. We feel supported. So we take incredible risks and that has not yet failed to pay off.
Review Fix: What makes this production special?
Cabaret Sauvignon: This collaborative effort is the brainchild of our Cabaret Sauvignon family. We are so proud of our creation and will nurture it every step of the way forward.
Review Fix: How is your cast unique?
Cabaret Sauvignon: The four of us have been singing together twice a week for over two years. Our rapport and chemistry are reminiscent of a set of wild sisters, continuously on the verge of either killing each other or snuggling up under some blankets together. Each performer has her own trademark sound and stage presence, but when you put all our distinct personalities together we somehow form this crisp, unified act.
Review Fix: What have you learned through the process of this production?
Cabaret Sauvignon: We’ve definitely learned about the footwork of putting on a production. There’re so many components; things to see, people to meet, calls to be made etc. However, the structure of the idea of the production came to us naturally. It was amazing how easily dramatic our performances already were just from being an acapella group
Review Fix: How does it feel to be a part of this festival?
Cabaret Sauvignon: It feels amazing. When you are in a specific niche performance, it’s always incredible when there’s an organization, festival, or event that you actually fit perfectly into. How often does an a capella group murder mystery cabaret fit into a theater festival? We all feel so lucky and can’t wait to showcase our one of a kind show.
Review Fix: Who do you think will enjoy it the most?
Cabaret Sauvignon: The music in this show will appeal to a wide audience; we’ve included some classics from the Andrews Sisters era as well as top 40s that everyone has heard on the radio in the past few years, with a few obscure but beautifully harmonious tunes thrown in. Everyone enjoys a good poke at New Jersey, and while some of the jokes may be most appreciated by insiders, anyone who’s seen Jersey Shore will get a laugh out of the playful puns. The satirical storyline and theatrical banter will strike a chord with anyone who’s experienced the underbelly of the theater world.
Review Fix: What are your goals for the production?
Cabaret Sauvignon: We are testing “The Mysterious A Cappella Murder Cabaret” in MITF Variety for several applications, and we are so grateful for the opportunity. Like everyone else, we envision it as a great production for audiences of all ages in community theaters around the country, but we also see a fantastic potential in customizing it for corporate entertainment. With the success of the Pitch Perfect franchise, “Murder Cabaret” offers an affordable, trendy entertainment option to many different kinds of audiences.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Cabaret Sauvignon: “The Mysterious A Cappella Murder Cabaret” will be performed in Jersey City this fall, and Cabaret Sauvignon will continue to perform, tour and develop new projects, as well as to contribute performance time to a variety of non-profit organizations, hospitals and nursing homes in the greater New York area.