When Cabaret Scenes magazine was first founded by Darrell Henline in 1975, its mission was to preserve and expand the public’s awareness and appreciation of the Great American Songbook – the songs of the great composers, such as Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Johnny Mercer, Hoagy Carmichael, Duke Ellington and the myriad of others who wrote for the radio, the musical theater and the films of their day. But we were not ignoring the accomplishments of more recent musical theater composers such as Stephen Sondheim, Lerner and Loewe, Marvin Hamlisch or Kander and Ebb. Additionally, as we discover it, we are moved to add the music and lyrics of our best contemporary songwriters as well.
The magazine originally was offered for sale on newsstands and in music stores, and by subscription. By the time I took over from Keith Meritz as publisher, a dozen years later, there were major changes occurring in the publishing world. Newspapers and magazines were losing advertisers and, with reduced revenue, significantly cutting back or cutting out coverage of the cabaret rooms and their performers where this music was featured. I realized that a major part of our mission had to be to reach the public with information about who was singing the songs, the recordings worth listening to, and where the vocalists and musicians of this fine art could be seen and heard. No one will come to hear a performer if they don’t know who he/she is, where he/she is, and when he/she is doing the show.
For that reason, with the financial support of our loyal readers, I turned the magazine into a giveaway — sending thousands of complimentary copies of each issue for patrons at every cabaret room in the country. And to be sure that musicians and performers could make themselves and their work better known to the public, drastically cut their cost of advertising in the magazine. It meant that a performer in Chicago or San Francisco would be sure that his show’s review and display ads would be seen by cabaret-goers (and booking managers) everywhere, not just his home town.
Also, increasingly obvious in the past half-dozen years or so, the Internet and the so-called social media have become major sources of information and invaluable communication tools. Which is why Cabaret Scenes has allocated months of work to creating its new, greatly expanded website, with forthcoming Facebook and Twitter availability as well. Not only will we be offering features, news and reviews of the cabaret performers dedicated to the music we cherish, we will be including video clips of them in performance and video interviews with cabaret folk who make it all happen. And to emphasize the importance of cabaret venues and cabaret performers with primarily local followings, we’ve created separate sections of the website devoted to those areas. Viewers can turn to regional sections to learn what’s doing in areas surrounding Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Palm Beach, Palm Springs, Nashville, Las Vegas, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia; London; and of course, New York.
Our goal at Cabaret Scenes is what it has always been, but with fewer magazines and newspapers now providing coverage of cabaret, even more so: Do everything we can to help the world hear, love and appreciate the live performance of this musical treasure, presented by many of the finest vocalists and most outstanding instrumentalists to be found, in the typically intimate surroundings of the many warm and welcoming cabaret venues wherever they exist. And, please don’t forget, it’s the support of readers like you who make it all possible.
With all good wishes,