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My View: What Is Cabaret?

If a visitor from another planet landed here and asked the question “What is Cabaret?” an easy explanation would be to send  him/her to attend a performance by KT Sullivan and Jeff Harnar, weather it be solo or jointly.  They didn’t invent the art form but KT and Jeff’s artistry and show construction  ranks as one of the finest examples of Cabaret.

Their show celebrating Sheldon Harnick & Charles Strouse is an ingenious juxtaposing of the lyrics and music of these Broadway giants.  As in Jeff & KT’s Sondheim collaboration the template is the same.  The gender-bending makes you enjoy the familiar tunes in a new light. Jeff singing “One Boy” and KT “ If I Were A Rich Man” are an example.  They don’t incorporate typical patter during the show,  KT & Jeff speak to you with the lyrics and the unique weaving  of the song list.  Talking about juxtaposition, music director Jon Weber creates interesting and exciting new harmonies underneath well known melodies. Original major chords can become minor or diminished and it all works to give a fresh take to the music.

As in their Sondheim show, director Sondra Lee shaped the structure and staging of Harnick & Strouse performed by Sullivan & Harnar.

KT Sullivan & Jeff Harnar
Jon weber, KT Sullivan, Jeff Harnar
KT Sullivan
KT Sullivan & Jeff Harnar
Stephen Downey


Stephen studied at the Manhattan School of Music. Besides being a pianist, Stephen’s business career was in the Fashion Industry. He was CEO of a textile manufacturing facility and President of an international textile machinery company. Stephen was on the Board of Directors of the “First All Children’s Theatre” which brought the Stephen Schwartz musical The Trip and Captain Louie to the Kennedy Center in Wash DC. His wife Eda, an interior space designer and classical pianist was on the Board of Barrington Stage Company and is still active at BSC. Stephen’s photographs, videos and articles appear on, and The New York Observer. He is active in the entertainment events at the Friars Club, where he is a member. Stephen is also an Honorary Board Member of The Society For The Preservation of The Great American Songbook. Stephen

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