Determined to Salvage the Fall, Cabaret Plots Its (Outdoor, Online) Return

Making performances more accessible to audiences is part of the mission. Presenting shows that reflect the moment is another.

By Elysa Gardner

“Like all New York venues, the performance space [West Bank Café ]was shuttered in March as the Covid-19 pandemic escalated. Once the summer stretched on, “One of my technical directors discussed moving the piano upstairs and putting it inside the window,” Olsen said on the phone, before the show. “We have tables and chairs seating 16, so I call it the world’s smallest cabaret room.” (A new area accommodates 24 additional people.)

Like many performers working in cabaret, the couple had initially turned to social media after the pandemic struck, with Garin livestreaming on Instagram for the Roxy Bar — where he now plays outdoors — then Facebook. 

… With fall looming, cabaret artists and venues are embracing technology with the same D.I.Y. spirit — and, increasingly, more sophisticated production values — determined not to let another season slip away.

… Many cabaret owners and artists say they’d like to continue streaming shows, even after their more intimate rooms reopen to live audiences. “I think it’s going to become an important source of revenue for artists and venues,” said Stephen Shanaghan, the co-owner and entertainment director of the East Village supper club Pangea.

… There are other practical advantages to be considered, such as reaching fans outside New York and a younger audience in general. Ruby Locknar, the 21-year-old technical producer for “Pajama Cast Party!,” estimated that “in the first week, our primary demographic was 40 to 60 years old. Now about 40 percent of our viewers are between 14 and 21.”

Source: The New York Times