Friday, July 19, 2013

Interview with Joshua Finkel: Building Your Cabaret Act

If you’re a singer who has always wanted to create your own solo show, here is a great place to begin. Joshua Finkel has created a successful method of putting together a cabaret act and talks about the growth his students experience once they begin to focus on building their own act.

According to Joshua, “In my last class, I had a wonderfully talented performer who had been out of the loop for awhile raising a family. She went through a huge journey in class and progressed from feeling like she was not up for the challenge to shining through with fantastic numbers and patter. In the middle of the class it clicked and she decided to allow herself to do the work and acknowledge that she WAS good enough. 

In watching others experiment and grow via the exercises and my notes, she found her own Truth and what she wanted to say and share. She is a wonderfully gifted artist and the end result was a great success when she finally did her show. Many folks from her current circle had never seen her perform, so it was an incredible and cathartic journey for her.” 

Two of the artists who have benefitted from Joshua’s expertise include Mona King and Roslyn Cohn. Mona created a one woman version of “December Songs” by Maury Yeston, transforming it from a song cycle to an actual one woman show with Joshua’s help. She has since released a recording of “December Songs,” and also took her cabaret act to New York City and Palm Springs, where she received rave reviews.

Roslyn developed her act not only as a cathartic piece for herself but also as a way to help other people leave an oppressive situation. For her that was the Church of Scientology. Joshua says, “We’re now extending her set into a full show. Roz’s video of her act went viral with many ex-Scientologists directing people to it as a way to get information, get enlightened and get the courage to get out.”

One of his technique’s many benefits is that actors have become more comfortable onstage in other projects and during auditions. “They now feel fearless and able to really share themselves and have a great time,” he says. “I think my class gets them used to really talking WITH the room, rather than feeling awkward and more like you’re meeting and auditioning in front of a firing squad! I also had one of my performers interview for a huge promotion at his workplace and he said that the class helped him immensely, not only share his feelings but feel completely comfortable in the room and under the gun of the interview. The result? He sailed through it and got the promotion.”

It also helps to have a show ready to go when there are slow periods during your career. “You always have something you can use, go to, work on, in times of unemployment, and you will always find a way to create your OWN work, rather than waiting for ‘permission to work’ from an audition panel. You can ‘feed your own artist inside’ and actually make a good living depending upon your vision and act, and how you strategize your marketing and audience demographic. Plus, you’ll have new and original tunes for auditions, open mic material, and you’ll have the skill to keep feeling creative if you are ever feeling stuck.”

Cabaret Slam!
Build and Perform your Cabaret Act

Three 6-hour classes which includes a performance of the work you’ve built.
--Sunday July 28 (12pm-6pm)
--Saturday August 3 (12pm-6pm)
--Sunday August 4 (12pm-4pm) followed by a soiree/salon performance 4:30-6pm
Location: The Academy for New Musical Theatre, 5628 Vineland Ave, North Hollywood, CA 91601. Cost:$300.00. In class you will:

Build and perform fun original and organic patter
Learn to build and create a CABARET song book for a pianist usable at any open mic with any pianist
Develop two Specialty Numbers also useable in auditions and as ‘calling card’ numbers 
Learn great mic technique
Learn how to update your work and create new material any time anything feels outdated or disconnected from who you are as a person and performer.
Performance will be recoreded and made available for the performers to watch and/or share via a private link.

Joshua is also in the process of formulating a 5-Monday Cabaret Slam in the Thousand Oaks area, Mondays July 29-August 26, with the final performance on August 26. For more details about Joshua and his classes, visit

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