Last night, I had that good fortune to take part in a benefit called "Shameless" hosted by one, Ari Weinberg.
In 2006, I received the following email from Ari.
hi there sharron!
my name is ari weinberg and i am about to graduate from Sheridan's Music Theatre program. I saw you in Les Miz and in the concert of Songs For A new World last year and i think you are absolutely fantastic, one of my friends saw your last show at the gladstone and raved about it and he mentioned your site so i checked it out and i saw in your bio that you played cordelia in falsettos- that happens to be the final show in our studio season at sheridan this year, i'm playing mendel, the show is co-directed by greg peterson and patrick cook and it runs april 13-22, i'm sure you must be really busy getting set for your next night at the gladstone (which i'm going to try and come see depending on passover) but i thought i'd drop you a line to let you know about falsettos in case you'd like to come.
i also wanted to say thanks for bringing cabaret back to toronto, i hope to get an act together of my own one day, it's always been a dream of mine, and it's so inspiring as an up and coming performer to see someone as super talented as you doing something so desperately needed in this city! rock on!
I had never met Ari before...and I can't remember HOW it worked with the Passover... if he came to my show or not...but I thought he had balls. I didn't get a chance to see Falsettos and I CANNOT tell you how much this saddens me sometimes.
Also, as you might imagine, I am a sucker for ANYONE who calls me "super talented".
At this time I was in the beginnings of my "Sharron's Party" cabaret shows, working very hard to establish myself and find an audience...it was a 24hour/7days a week job...and when I look back now, I am thrilled to see the beginnings of so many inspiring and interesting stories.
One of the reasons I started doing bigger, monthly cabaret shows was that I wanted there to be somewhere for younger artists to meet...and for the same young artists to see that they didn't have to be in a musical to perform...that they could create their own work and destiny. For purely selfish reasons, I created "Sharron's Party" because I wanted a forum in which to perform and create my own work...somewhere where I could play and be whatever I wanted...to have a place and the challenge to do something totally new every week and find my theatrical and comedic voice. Fancy, right?
Sometimes, you guys, I had no idea what I was doing...it was thrilling.
But I knew that I wanted to feature an established artist every month (Tony nominee Louise Pitre, Tony winner Brent Carver, Thom Allison (Priscilla on Broadway and star of Shaw's Ragtime), writer and star of "22 Minutes" Gavin Crawford, playwright Damien Atkins, writer and star of "The Jane Show" Teresa Pavlinek...to name JUST a few) and, also, a young guest. So, I went out and saw shows, put out FB ads and emails asking for people to submit vids or mp3s....as a result, I had some amazing young people on the show...just amazing. I remember them sitting in the audience...chatting with them after...seeing their excitement. I was inspired (and still am) every day.
And (coming full circle) I stood in the audience of Ari's creation, "Shameless", last night and was overwhelmed with the places these young guests have gone...the interesting and challenging things they are doing now...and how they are the future...just like Whitney said.
September 2007 @ Gladstone Hotel
After the email I had him on the show just over a year later....here he is!
Now he is a sought after actor, producer, a classical theatre educator for young artists and audiences...and, of course, there is his Shameless cabaret...like he talked about.
This is a picture of Ari as Benvolio in the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre's production of Romeo and Juliet. It makes a lady weep with pride.
August 2008 @ Buddies in Bad Times
Michael came to a lot of shows and sent me an early copy of his CD...he admitted to me much later that he had 'Secreted' that he wanted to be on the show...you know..that book 'The Secret'? I loved and still love this.
He was super fancy (as you see in the picture above from the actual show) and awesome singer...he killed it on the show. He was on a number of times.
This year, Michael Hughes is taking his highly acclaimed one man cabaret, "Mickey and Judy" to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Last year this show received amazing reviews and took the Toronto Fringe by storm.
April 2009 @ Buddies in Bad Times
She and I did the Hairspray movie together...and then I saw her sing at a cabaret and she fucking blew my mind.
Funny. Great singer...good rack... :)
She was so wonderful on the show...and now she has her own band called Pattyi Cake...check out their Facebook page...
AND she is in an improv group, she teaches young children about music...her star is on the rise...she is one of the most gifted belters I have ever heard...and did I mention she is funny...and has a great rack? And she plays the electric guitar....
April 2008 @ Diesel Playhouse
Sara...oh my...she was a back up singer for a show I did at the Diesel and then we did Wizard of Oz together...and I was always struck by her style and her language. Wise beyond her years. Then I heard her sing solo...amazing...this is a picture from her appearance on the show.
She produced the cult musical "Edges" to great acclaim, she was recently nominated for a Merrit Award in Halifax for her performance in "The Passion of Adele Hugo" of the title role AND she is also a writer...a wonderful writer...who contributes to many online publications...who just happened to write this...which went viral.
And she does her own thrilling cabarets.
These young people, who are now grown people, were instrumental in helping me raise the $40,000.00 I needed to go on my first World Domination Tour. The supported me mentally and spiritually, the helped with my benefits...they believed.
I am just lifted and inspired by them.
There are a lot of young people who were on the show who have gone on to amazing things...Jeigh Madjus (movie 'Servitude' and national tour of "La Cage"), Kyle Golemba (The Stratford Shakespeare Festival), Gabi Epstein (Dora nominated)...but the above 4 were at Ari's show last night...and are very close to my heart...and seeing them...watching them do their thing...seeing them flourish...well, it is amazing.
They make me proud.
They are gonna change the world.
I am happy to have been a part of their youths.
Ah, Spring...it makes one melancholy and hopeful at the same time.
Keep on keeping on, people.
Oh, And watch Canada Sings Tuesday Night at 10:00pm.