Cabaret Campaigns: Ride the Blue Wave 2018

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Cabaret Campaigns:
Ride the Blue Wave 2018

March 9, 2018

By Alix Cohen for Cabaret Scenes

Stephen Hanks

Stephen Hanks, who for almost eight years has​ been involved in practically every aspect of cabaret, was a political science major​ in college and accepted into the National Political Science Honor Society. Politically passionate since childhood and a frequent activist, his depression and disgust with what’s happening in this country began, he tells me, as early as the announcement of Donald ​Trump’s candidacy. Hanks feared most the rise of white supremacism, second only to the undermining of voting rights.
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When I ask about gun control, he conjectures that once Trump became president ​the progressive movement gave up on the issue until the Parkland shooting.  

“I wanted to do something politically this year to express my ​outrage while also contributing to awareness and change. I feel that the only way to create that change is to address widespread gerrymandering and voter suppression. For me, contributing to political campaigns, ​signing petitions, marching, or venting on Facebook was no longer enough.​ I had to inform people about the issues and encourage them to contribute to specific candidates in the 2018 midterm elections.”

How, he thought, can I locally channel my energy and commitment while still involved in cabaret? Hanks resolved to produce a series of evenings featuring all-star casts of women vocalists (“since this is a big year for women candidates”) who’d​ agree to donate their talents. Realizing that even when singers appear on a charitable basis, music directors get paid, he sent an appeal to about two dozen MDs asking them to work pro bono and received FOUR positive responses (Ian Herman, Tracy Stark, Matthew Martin Ward, and Michael Roberts). Each of the these will helm a presentation.

Except for the first show on April 4​, which necessarily targets incumbent Democratic Senators running for reelection​, other dates are determined by the schedule and results of national primaries. Once the Democratic candidates for the November election are clear, ​Hanks will research and make recommendations to performers. Ultimately, however, each artist will ​decide for herself whom to campaign for and where her portion of the profits is contributed. 

​Hanks has also ​set up a GoFundMe campaign ​to raise matching funds on the revenue of each show and ​intends to make up any shortfall himself:

“I know it won’t be a huge amount of money per candidate, but, ultimately, it’s not about ​that. It’s about ​the principle and the message and the energy. ​The idea is to ride the Blue Wave and help make it a tsunami.
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Get out there, Democrats, progressives, independents, liberals—whatever you want to call yourselves…Spend a little money, join your fellow apoplectics in the good fight—and enjoy music!

All shows are at Don’t Tell Mama, 343 West 46th Street. There’s a $30.00 cover and two-drink minimum per show (cash only).

Reservations for the April 4 show can be made at don’

April 4 kickoff
Lisa Viggiano, Dawn Derow, Kathleen France, Sandra Bargman, Remy Block
MD: Ian Herman

June 28
Meg Flather, Laurie Krauz, Rosemary Loar, Karen Oberlin, Sue Matsuki
MD: Tracy Stark

August 16
Julie Reyburn, Sarah Rice, Janice Hall, Billie Roe, Annie Hughes
MD: Matthew Martin Ward

October (date to be determined)
Kim Grogg, Kim Sutton, Lynda D’Amour, and 2018 Bistro Award winners Mary Sue Daniels and Katie Dunne McGrath
MD: Michael Roberts

Alix Cohen

Alix Cohen’s writing began with poetry, segued into lyrics then took a commercial detour. She now authors pieces about culture/the arts, including reviews and features. A diehard proponent of cabaret, she’s also a theater aficionado, a voting member of Drama Desk, The Drama League and of The NY Press Club in addition to MAC. Currently, Alix writes for Cabaret Scenes, Theater Pizzazz and Woman Around Town. Additional pieces have been published by The New York Post, The National Observer’s Playground Magazine, Pasadena Magazine and Times Square Chronicles. Alix is the recipient of six New York Press Club Awards.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. chuckiepie

    Give ‘Em Hell, Steve!

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