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April 27, 2021

Liz Robertson – How a West End and Broadway singer can sing Cabaret

Liz Robertson’s West End credits include Love Never Dies, The Phantom of the Opera, Side By Side By Sondheim, My Fair Lady, The Music Man and Hairspray. Lucky for us she’s taken all that experience and created her own cabaret show, “Songs From My Trunk” which she’ll be bringing to London’s Hipperdrome this Easter.

Her first cabaret was at the Ritz some 30 years ago. It didn’t go well. In fact, a fight broke out during her show (I thought that only happened in the old Working Men’s Clubs) so she wasn’t especially keen to repeat the experience. Last year Liz’s agent encouraged her to present her own show at the Crazy Coqs. She embraced the challenge and (though terrified) loved it. Liz says that for her, one of the joys of cabaret is that she can sing all the songs she was never allowed to sing in her West End roles. “Everything just slotted in, then came the chat…” She didn’t write a script (as I always recommend). She’d tried that before and it simply didn’t work for her, “I didn’t have the confidence to be me,” she explained. She knew the key was to be completely relaxed on stage so she didn’t tie herself down to a script. Using bullet points she suddenly felt free to be herself on stage and break the fourth wall. “The freedom in doing that was such a relief… I surprised myself.

We discuss the pros and cons of working with a director and Liz’s own rehearsal process. “I’m a great believer in work, work, work so you’re not worried about what’s coming next.”

Liz tells us about the part she played in one of Mark Shenton’s favourite’s heckles and we had a good natter about whether it’s necessary to reveal something of ourselves in what we say during our show.

I was a bit nosey and asked Liz how she pays her accompanist and arranger. We can either hire the pianist and give them a straight fee to simply pay the piano or we can work as a collaboration and split the whole fee. It’s good to hear how other artistes do it.

Recorded in London 19th February 2014.

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