Eric Comstock & Barbara Fasano

| May 15, 2017

Eric Comstock & Barbara Fasano

Headline at CabaretFest! 2017, Provincetown, MA

Interview by Dave and Nancy Wilber

Eric Comstock & Barbara Fasano

“If love is a wave, they’re riding the crest of it.” That’s how the New York Observer’s Rex Reed describes Eric Comstock and Barbara Fasano. New York’s hottest musical couple is coming to Provincetown for the 17th annual CabaretFest!, June 3. Tickets for their new show Downton Abbey Road: The Best of Britain at the Crown & Anchor are selling quickly.

How do two solo performers become a team, not only professionally, but also romantically? “It took a few years,” Eric admits. “We met while performing in the same concert, but it actually took six years until our first date.”

“But, by that time, we had started an email flirtation,” Barbara said. “Eric told me he was coming to one of my shows and asked if we could have supper. It was the greatest first date ever.” They became engaged after six months and married a year later.

Throughout the courtship and early married life they continued as solo performers. “We started working together first while we were on the road because we didn’t want to be apart,” Eric recalls. After they’d been married a year, the Royal Room in Palm Beach asked them to perform as a duo. “We really had fun,” Barbara exclaimed, “but it still took another year before we performed together in New York.” 

While recognized as the nightclub world’s most celebrated team—The New York Times’ Stephen Holden has called them “the sophisticated cabaret children of Bobby Short and Lena Horne”—they still perform and record individually. Barbara’s new CD, Busy Being Free, has garnered ecstatic reviews, and won the 2016 MAC Award for Major Recording. 

And they truly are a team.  Eric teases Barbara, “Hey, I get to sit down behind a big piano and you’re the one with the gown and the high heels!” He also notes, “There is no real sense of competition, but working with Barbara has definitely lifted my game.” Barbara adds, “We are both determined to grow as professionals, and that generates a creative energy that makes us better. And there’s nothing like being able to wake up at 3 AM with a song idea and immediately start rehearsing! Performing as a couple with someone you love… it’s a dream come true. We get to make music together.”

The inspiration for Downton Abbey Road: The Best of Britain came from two of Eric’s idols—Frank Sinatra and Mel Tormé. “They each recorded an album in the U.K. for their English fans, featuring a collection of songs written by Brits. I did a little more research and was surprised at how many American Songbook standards were written by U.K. songwriters.”

“It’s important to remember that the first British invasion did not come from Liverpool,” Barbara points out, “but from the musicals of London’s West End with shows like Stop the World, I Want to Get Off and Oliver!  And what’s fun is we do a mix of that material, more modern British songs—Sting, Dusty Springfield, and Petula Clark—and also World War II songs, in keeping with the CabaretFest! theme. And we tell some really funny stories about Noël Coward, Ivor Novello, and Anthony Newley!”

The couple has won a total of seven MAC Awards, including three for Major Duo. But they also give back to the music community by sharing their expertise and will be teaching a master class during CabaretFest!. “Barbara and I are very fortunate to have found each other and to share a passion for our profession,” notes Eric. “We want to keep this music alive and teaching offers that opportunity.”

Barbara says simply. “We teach our students to be vulnerable, to connect with the audience. Whether it’s cabaret, jazz, blues, whatever, you share yourself and your story through song.”

Downton Abbey Road: The Best of Britain is CabaretFest!’s feature show. Tickets are available at the Crown & Anchor box office or online at onlyatthecrown.com. For complete CabaretFest! information, including the schedule and a list of performers, go to Provincetowncabaretfest.com.

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Category: Boston, Boston Cabaret Features, Cabaret Features, Regional

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