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Originally published in Chronogram March 20, 2007
Hudson Valley Stage
Pucci Party Dresses, Swinger Chic... and Social Upheaval
'60s Cabaret: A Decade of Change in Song
by Jay Blotcher, March 20, 2007
In the course of my work, I see a lot of badly written press releases. Once in awhile, a press release is so provocatively well written that I want to rush out and see the show. Here is one. So I am printing it verbatim. This is musical anthropology as its best! I'm going...and suggest that you join me. And be sure to dress up!
Chamber Arts Festival of Marbletown Presents "'60s CABARET: A Decade of Change In Song"
The '60s were a decade of contradiction and seismic change, and nowhere were those contradictions more evident, or those changes better chronicled, than in the decade's popular music. In "'60s Cabaret: A Decade of Change in Song," Hudson Valley-based singers Jennie Litt, Danielle Woerner, and Neil Herlands, along with pianist David Alpher, guitarist Matt Finck, bassist Scott Petito, and drummer Larry Balestra, will bring that music to life again, in all its dizzying variety.
From Broadway to the Brill Building, Motown to Swinging London, Nashville to Ipanema, Golden Gate Park to the churches of Birmingham, Alabama, music was in the air—songs for teenagers, songs for businessmen, songs for soul sisters, songs for banjo pickers, songs for drop-outs, songs for sit-ins; a soundtrack uniting a divided culture.
The '60s were also the decade when the currency of popular music changed forever, from the song itself (performed and recorded by multiple artists) to the recording (which linked the song permanently to the recording artist). Cabaret as an art form is a relic from the era when the song, not the recording, was king. In "'60s Cabaret," you'll be surprised by fresh interpretations of familiar songs ("He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother," "Morning Morgantown," "Because"), as well as by songs that time (and current radio) forgot ("Sunny Goodge Street," "Crazy Downtown," "My Boyfriend Got A Beatle Haircut"). Lively narration by the performers puts it all in context.
"'60s Cabaret: A Decade of Change in Song" takes place on March 24  at 8pm at Backstage Studio Productions, 323 Wall Street, Kingston. The show is a gala benefit for the Chamber Arts Festival of Marbletown (Alpher is the festival's artistic director). In addition to the show, the event will feature a cash bar, free munchies (including a brownie smorgasbord!), and a '60s trivia contest with "Woodstock Roundtable" host Doug Grunther. Dust off your grooviest '60s threads and come in costume for the chance to win a fab prize!
Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door, plus a two-drink minimum. Advance tickets are available at www.chamberartsfestival.org, or by calling (845) 687-2687.
Backstage Studio Productions is located in Uptown Kingston. There is on-street parking and a multi-level lot within easy walking distance. In case of snow, the event will take place on March 25 at 8pm.
Jay Blotcher, a former Manhattanite, began his Ulster County life as a weekender in 1996. He and his partner, Brook Garrett, now live in High Falls. Jay is a regular Chronogram contributor and has written for the New York Times, the Times Herald-Record, the Citizen, InsideOUT, and Ulster Publishing's Almanac.