Hi all! Wow, this has been one of the busiest summers as a performer that I can recall! I know it’s been awhile since I wrote, but I wanted to take a few minutes this morning to update you on my ventures and do a little shameless promoting, lol!
Last year I took some much-needed time off from the cabaret world to really focus on developing and promoting my Johnny Cash and June Carter-Cash tribute, Johnny & June which I perform with my husband Doug Thoms.
We’ve been kept pretty darn busy performing this show and I just never get tired of it! We’re being booked at venues large and small all across BC and even in the USA. We have upcoming bookings for the full theatrical show (which I wrote based on lots of research on this fascinating couple), our musical duo act, AND our new show, Stompin’ Thoms and the Queens of Canada wherein Doug pays tribute to Canada’s musical storyteller Stompin’ Tom Connors I’m tackling the musical styles of Joni Mitchell, KD Lang, Shania Twain, Alanis Morrisette and more (yes, even Celine gets a nod). But now that both of those shows are off and running, I’m able to spend time working on several other projects which I’d love to share with you.
MAKE ‘EM LAUGH!
I’ve been returning to my comedic roots with stand-up comedian Watermelon, musical impersonator Bonnie Kilroe, and comedic performance artist Sandra Sanders in our new cabaret show: The Wrong Show: Comedy BROADville!
The other three women did cabaret shows together years ago: The Grow Show and The Corrupt Cabaret. One day I was chatting with Watermelon at her candy shop, The Licorice Parlour, and she mentioned they wanted to do a comedy show again, and would I be interested? It happened to be perfect timing for me to say “YES, please!”, since I was just starting to seek new creative outlets again. Working with these dynamic women has been such a fulfilling experience for me. We each bring such different comedic skills to the table that really work together in a modernized version of traditional vaudeville style (hence our tag-line, “BROADville). We are all (ahem) mature women with similar outlooks dealing with similar issues at which we’d like to poke fun in a public forum. But we’ve made the decision not to bring actual politics onto our stage. There’s so much anger and divisiveness over politics in the world right now that we feel OUR mission is to create a space for comedy that’s absurd, silly and just plain FUN. I’ve been writing comedy songs, exploring different characters and bringing some of my favorite comedic burlesque numbers to the Wrong Show stage, and I’m having a blast! The show is also taking place at my old haunt The Biltmore Cabaret where I presented the weekly version of Kitty Nights for almost 9 years. So in many ways, it feels like coming home. Tickets for the September 8th show are available on Eventbrite or in person at The Licorice Parlour and Dig-It Vintage.
ROCK & ROLL CARNIVALS!
And last but certainly not least, my biggest new project! Ever since my first visit to a Spiegeltent (Dutch for “mirror-tent”) in New York over 13 years ago, I’ve dreamed of having a Spiegeltent show of my own. An immersive, adult cabaret filled with great live music, comedy, variety artists and surprises. But let’s face it – how the heck would I ever get a giant European cabaret tent AND the space to put it? Fortunately, I’ve been presented with the next best thing: a beautiful 1927 cabaret-style theatre with a low proscenium stage draped with red velvet and gold fringe…
The Columbia Theatre in New Westminster is a dream come true! The intimacy I loved at The Biltmore Cabaret, the sightlines, stage space and capacity to use big screen visuals that I loved at The Rio Theatre, and the vintage European elegance of my Spiegeltent dreams all rolled into one! And it’s located right next to The Columbia Skytrain station! I’ve watched the insane housing prices in Vancouver driving so many young professionals to move outside the Metro Vancouver area and I believe that there is a real need for quality nightlife entertainment in these suburban areas. New Westminster is such a perfect and accessible crossroads for the suburban Vancouver area, and The Columbia is working hard to invigorate the area’s arts and nightlife scene.
Working with The Columbia’s new owner Michael Hwang has been wonderful – he’s committed to the revival of this historic entertainment hub and has been instrumental in helping bring my new visions to life. We will have the honour of performing in the main room which has recently been re-named The Qayqayt Stage in recognition of the Qayqayt First Nation’s territories on which The Columbia now stands.
I’ve branded these new shows; Kitty Nights’ Rock & Roll Carnivals, and my core group of fabulous performers are dubbed The Rock & Roll Carnies. The shows combine all the things I love: live rock music, cabaret performance, variety acts, comedy, fun and games, and cheeky burlesque! I also have the ability to break the fourth wall even further and walk amongst the audience to create the immersive feeling of a real Spiegeltent show. The Columbia also has a full kitchen, so dining before the show upstairs in the lounge is an option, as well as enjoying drinks and desserts with the show itself.
My first show on September 20th is a Pink Floyd tribute, and the next on October 18th is Scary Monsters – a Halloween themed show. I’ve already been rehearsing over the summer for the first show with my “Carnies” and I’m excited to bring our work to the stage! Tickets are available for both on Eventbrite or at The Columbia box office.
I’m looking forward to making The Columbia my new home to present all sorts of innovative productions! I hope you’ll join me and make it a new favorite haunt as well!
I almost forgot! I also began working as a professional Bubble Artist (best job title ever!) through my friend Matt Henry‘s company, Break-A-Leg Entertainment! I’ve loved learning this whole new way to delight kids of all ages with outdoor shows creating various sizes and shapes of fanciful soap bubbles! Watching the joyous faces of kids and adults alike as they respond to these magical floating orbs is one of the best rewards I can imagine!
Whew! That’s all for now! Stay tuned for another blog focused specifically on my creative process over these past months. Thanks for reading!