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A Conversation with Sharron Matthews

| May 10, 2017

A Conversation with Sharron Matthews

May 10, 2017

By Harold Sanditen for Cabaret Scenes

Sharron Matthews

I reviewed Sharron Matthews in London in September, 2011, in her show Jesus Thinks I’m Funny. I loved it, and called her “a force to be reckoned with” and “Weimar Republic meets Lady Gaga.” I haven’t seen her since, but was delighted to catch up with her to discuss her newest outing, Girl Crush, which she’s bringing to NYC’s Feinstein’s/54 Below on Friday, May 26.

Harold Sanditen: Why did you devise this particular piece of cabaret? What are you hoping to communicate to your audience?

Sharron Matthews: Two years ago, I realized that in the span of 20 years I had gone from being skinny and VERY unhappy to being happier than I have ever been in my life and PLUS SIZE. I thought,”Why would I waste my precious time worrying about my size when I could be living a fabulous life no matter what size I was?” I wrote an essay—which is like a blog but sounds fancier—about it and over 15,000 people read and responded to it. The songs and the journey started to roll out for me like nothing ever had…this show put ITSELF together. When people walk away, as lordy as this sounds, I hope they are filled with the simple joy of life and music, and also a little more aware of the way they think about their shells.

HS: Why are you bringing this show to New York?  You’ve performed there four times before. What do you hope to accomplish from this outing?

SM: I love New York. Okay, EVERYONE loves New York—but the audience there is truly like no other. They are savvy, they are diverse, they are cabaret newbies, and they are people who come to cabaret every weekend. I believe, with as little hubris as possible, that this is one of the best shows I have ever put together and I want to put it on a New York stage and see how the audience takes it in. It is always good for cabaret artist to take a show to New York and see how it is received by the masses—if you can entice the masses! 

HS: As a self-producing artist, do you find the slog overwhelming at times? What are the biggest obstacles?

SM: Oh my lord and the bunnies, THE SLOG is real. I think—and hope—that I have gotten better at embracing it because you have to embrace it or you will become the saddest person alive. Hiring a good PR person is three times the price of a mortgage payment—and there are no guarantees with them. The biggest obstacle is getting editorial/preview space, and it really makes the difference in filling a house. You can put those articles everywhere! But, there are so many gigs, so many artists, and so little space. And it is getting less and less. 

HS: What’s the difference between performing at venues across your native Canada and in the U.S.?

SM: I find that U.S. audiences are more willing to take a chance when picking what to see. Filling a house in Canada, where the art form is still not widely understood, can be a challenge, but, when I recently toured the States in 200-500 seat houses, there were audiences filled with people, many who had no idea who I was. But they took a risk with their entertainment dollar. And, thankfully, it turned out for both of us. 

HS: What’s your greatest joy in performing this piece? 

SM: People of all ages seem to connect to this piece and that in itself is joyful! AND I love the music —Blondie, The Police, Kim Carnes, Stephen Trask, AC/DC, Little Big Town, The Killers—and the connection that the audience has to the rock songs of their youth, and how those songs are now RETRO to younger audience members, Lord, help us. 

Sharron Matthews
Photo: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo

HS: Who are your greatest musical influences and how do they come to stage with you? 

SM: I have always felt very defined by pop and rock radio from the ’70s and ’80s. The show that changed my life was Hedwig and the Angry Inch. I saw it at the Jane Street Theatre with John Cameron Mitchell and was inspired beyond belief to get on the road I am now on. I start this show with a song from HIS show. I usually never do straight arrangements of songs, but this was so perfect and I am so grateful that I left it as it is. 

HS: What can audiences expect when they’re in your presence? 

SM: I love the audience, but don’t embarrass them—too much—and I love the songs and love to sing them—sometimes a bit too loud—and I love the story and I love to tell it—not too long; you’ll be home by midnight unless we have a drink after, and then I can’t promise anything.  

HS: What question would you have liked me to ask that I haven’t, and what’s the answer?

SM: I would have liked you to ask about my accompaniment! For the first time I am doing a show with solo guitar accompaniment! The voice of the guitar just seemed perfect for this show — very simple and emotional. And my guitar player, Kevin Ramessar, is taking the night off from the pit of Beautiful to play with me. HE is ALSO a Canadian living in New York. It is perfect!

HS: Give me one concise sentence as to why audiences should come to this show.

SM: Two words. PARTIAL NUDITY.*
*Disclaimer: THERE WILL BE NO PARTIAL NUDITY.  I am sorry; I could not stop myself.

 

Sharron Matthews
Girl Crush
Friday, May 26 at 9:30 pm
Feinstein’s/54 Below at 254 West 54 Street, NYC

 

Click here for reservations and more info:  https://54below.com/events/sharron-matthews-girl-crush/

Click here to view some of Sharron’s videos: https://vimeo.com/205071107

Visit Sharron at www.sharronmatthews.com

 

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Category: Cabaret Features, New York City, New York City Cabaret Features, Regional

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