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April 27, 2021

Alexander Bermange – Composer and Performer explains with ins and outs of cabaret

Alexander Bermange has written eighteen musicals. His work has been performed in London at the O2, the Duchess Theatre, The Old Vic and throughout the world. Some of his best work is available on an album called “Act One” featuring twenty-six of the best voices in musical theatre. His own cabaret show, Wit and Whimsy, came about by almost by accident and was successful enough to inspire Alexander to hire a director. As he said, praise from other artists is possibly, “the least useful thing you can have,” and he needed someone who would provide impartial advice and honest feedback.

He explains the importance of being yourself as much as possible on stage and how his director helped present that on stage in the most effective way. Many of us would like to hire a director and guest artistes to help us with our show, but can we afford it? Alexander explains some of the practicalities involved in finding and commissioning the right person. The lesson I took away from this was “don’t be afraid to ask”.

The alternative, if you’re not careful, is to end up with a series of audition songs with no cohesion. You need to be able to justify exactly why you have made our choices and be able to explain them clearly. If you cannot, maybe you need to rethink what you’re doing.

Interestingly Alexander approaches chat differently to me. I like to work with a script first and work on it so much that it sounds natural. Alexander prefers to start with just bullet points and fill in the gaps more spontaneously. Either way we both hate to hear chat that sounds scripted.

Alexander told me how he struggles with praise immediately after a performance. We talked about giving constructive criticism and what to say when we’ve seen a show we hate!

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