I love Kurt Weil, Mae West, fishnets, and that sort-of early-photography, late 19th-early 20th century vaudeville glamour, and I grab any opportunity to indulge that love.  Max’s Cabaret is, after ten years, a Peterborough institution that encourages me to indulge that passion; song, dance, skits, sometimes a little slapstick, and always something to titillate.  It’s a chance for those of us with  a closetful of garters and bustiers to pull them out, dust them off, and belt out a couple of raunchy numbers while raising funds for local arts organizations.  Max's Girls - photo by Candace Shaw

This Fall was the 10th anniversary, and we were lucky enough to be performing at (and raising funds for) the Market Hall, a venue that has a huge place in my heart.  Back in the day, Artspace was housed in the building and used it as a combined venue for visual art and live performance, and in highschool few weeks went by when I wasn’t there for a show or a rehearsal.  Getting to play Miranda in The Tempest at the Market Hall is still one of the highlights of my theatre career; the house has such lovely acoustics, and it’s such a gorgeous old wooden building, and that production was so much fun.

So it means even more to me to be part of this iteration of the Cabaret, because we’re helping to raise funds for the renovation taking place from 2010-2011, remaking the grand old lady of George Street to make better use of the available space, utilizing the part of the building that sits under the clock tower, and preserving the terrific acoustics and historical and architectural beauty while bringing the venue up to modern standards.  I have high hopes for this place, and applaud the people who are doing so much work to make this happen.Me with Rob Phillips - Photo by Matt O'Sullivan

So Friday, November 6, amongst rhinestones and fishnets and feathers, we took the stage – dancers and drag queens, singers and hams – along with the fabulous Max’s Cabaret Band – Rob Phillips on piano, Amanda Mackey on drums, and John Mather on bass (such a pleasure to perform with this gang – they made me sound great!).  There was an excited and warm full house, and the VIP seating got delicious food and desserts from local restaurants as well as a chance to try the Cabaret’s signature martini – the Lola, all delivered by Max’s Girls, who served the tables whenever they weren’t dancing on stage.

I always love being a part of the Cabaret, but I feel like this year, there was something extra.  The performances were terrific, and the evening was kept from careening off-course by the lovely and wild Ludmilla, our MC, who kept things rolling all night long.  At the end of the night, when Jeanette Sanderson took the stage to sing Is That All There Is?, all the Cabaret performers came out to grab audience members and dance with them, and everyone just felt like a great big extended family.  A fabulous end to a fabulous night!

Click below to see my performance of ‘Easy Money’, or visit Max’s Cabaret on YouTube to view performances from throughout the show!

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