A Conversation with the 2017 MAC Nominees for Female Vocalist

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A Conversation with the
2017 MAC Nominees for Female Vocalist

May 23, 2017

(L-R) Josephine Sanges, Celia Berk, Sally Darling, Lisa Viggiano, Meg Flather

The 2017 MAC Nominees for Female Vocalist—Celia Berk, Sally Darling, Meg Flather, Josephine Sanges, Lisa Viggiano—will perform a group show, Together, at NYC’s Don’t Tell Mama on Sunday, June 25 at 4:15 pm. The show will benefit Trinity Church’s LGBTQ Youth Programs. Among them, they have 16 nominations and 14 awards/honors. If you can’t make the show, you can make a donation at trinityplaceshelter.org. Here’s our conversation with the group.

Cabaret Scenes: What a terrific idea! Who thought of a show featuring the 2017 MAC nominees for Female Vocalist?

Celia Berk, Sally Darling, Meg Flather, Lisa Viggiano:  Josephine!

Josephine Sanges: I guess you could say I was inspired. Celia was the only one of all the ladies in the category that I knew personally. And I couldn’t help but want to get to know Meg, Sally, and Lisa better. I had heard people say over and over again “what a category” it was this year and I knew that, together, we could do just about anything!!

CS: Awards, by their nature, are competitions. The cabaret community accepts that fact, but still embraces, for the most part, a feeling of “we’re all in this together.” As nominees in the same category, what do you hope is the take away from your show?

Celia:  We have very different stories, different styles. Yet here we all are in the same room at the same time. Only the cabaret community could have been equally welcoming to all of us. That’s something to celebrate!

Sally:  That we needn’t be rivals!

Meg:  I have gained a real sense of community through NYC’s Cabaret “family” since I began performing shows in 1984. Working with my fellow 2017 nominees on this show has brought that sense of community to a whole new level. I have always admired Celia, Josephine, Sally, and Lisa. Now I feel I have made four dear friends.

Josephine:  I know that, as different as we may be, we have one very important thing in common: We express ourselves best through music. Of course, I’m hoping we can showcase our individual strengths. But more than that, I hope we can learn from each other. There’s nothing better than brainstorming with women you admire and watching all of your ideas come to life.
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Lisa: Camaraderie, community, and creativity! And, of course, the call to create for a good cause, TOGETHER!
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When Sally Darling suggested Together as the name of the show, we were all in harmonious agreement of the spirit of the event!

CS: In addition to solo numbers, will you be performing as a group or in various combinations?

Josephine: Celia and I had the experience of performing John Cook’s duet arrangement at last year’s Cabaret Convention which is a combination of three Sondheim songs:”The Road You Didn’t Take,” “Growing Up,” and “Move On,” which we will perform again in this show. In addition, all five of us will combine to sing an opening and closing number.

Lisa:  We will indeed incorporate a couple of group numbers, which is proving to be great fun—and glorious to the ear!—when working with such talented women.

CS: The show takes place on NYC’s Gay Pride Day, and benefits the Trinity Church LGBTQ Youth Program. Will any of the material reflect this special day and the beneficiary?

Celia:  We think our group number, “Love and Let Love” by Ann Hampton Callaway and Michele Brourman, perfectly captures what the day is about.

Meg:  Three of the four songs I plan to perform are completely inspired by and dedicated to NYC’s Gay Pride Day, especially the one I composed years ago titled “It’s About Time.”

Lisa: Yes. We are pleased to be able to incorporate some fine, thoughtful and inspired material by Michele Brourman and Ann Hampton Callaway, Paula Cole, Meg Flather, and Tim Di Pasqua.

When looking for charities, Trinity Place Shelter was recommended and I called and spoke with one of their social workers, Wendy Kaplan, who shared that she was honored and moved that we chose their charity.  The director of TPS, Kevin Lotz, wrote this when we connected about our teaming up to support the shelter: “As we approach our 11-year anniversary this June and approach our 4,015th consecutive night of sheltering homeless LGBTQ youth in NYC, I’ve been spending a lot of time reflecting on all the many, many individuals within our wide community of friends and supporters who have played a role in helping us to continue forward in the work…thank YOU all for also entering into this community and demonstrating such kindness and generosity to us! As cliché as it has sometimes become, we do truly believe that ‘it takes a village’ to help end LGBTQ youth homelessness…thank YOU for joining our ‘village’ in such a unique way by helping to play a part in supporting our efforts!”  http://trinityplaceshelter.org/

CS: This is a one-off. Do you envision additional shows, perhaps as fund raisers for other organizations?

Celia: I couldn’t have predicted any of this a few months ago, so who can predict what comes next?

Sally: It’s certainly possible.

Meg: We took several photographs, so that means several show postcards may be in our future!

Josephine: I do! There’s certainly no shortage of worthy causes. I also hope that maybe this will start a trend for others to follow. I’d love to see other categories of singers join together to do the same. And I know there’s no better way to learn than from watching others do what they do best. Oh, the possibilities!!

Lisa:  It’s possible! Discussions are underway!

June 25 at 4:15 pm
Don’t Tell Mama
343 W. 46th St., NYC
212.757.0788 after 4 pm) or