August 6, 2013


16 Bars has written and performed quite a number of  cabaret shows!  For me, the process is always  interesting.

Not knowing how other writers work, this may sound kind of odd, but  I really need to have a title before I begin to write a show.  Having worked with many performers through the years, I also like to have my cast and director in place before beginning to write.  Writing dialog is so much more fun when I  know who is going to say it.

So far, 16 Bars has been lucky!  I've had the good fortune to work with terrifically talented performers, directors and choreographers. I've worked with performers who are new to the whole idea, and those who have had much more experience than I. I've learned a whole bunch from all of them!  Sometimes what to do, and certainly some times, what not to attempt.  And seriously, without these people I would have bupkis.  Just words and music on a page with no one to speak, sing or directions on how to move around the stage.

For me, one of the most difficult tasks is deleting...anything!  A snappy phrase, a cute  anecdote, or a funny reference are excruciating for me to erase.  I mean, what if I need these little jewels again, and can't remember them!   However,  in the interest of self-editing, I have learned it is not necessary to say the same thing in four different ways, and then top it off with a song!

My husband is the first reader of my scripts.  And even though I debate some of his edits, often I find, (much to my amazement) he turns out to be right.  Imagine that!

The ideas for plots or situations come from everywhere.  Funny things happen every single day.  From dealing with bank errors or eccentric neighbors to accumulating airline miles,  teaching piano students, or solving computer glitches;  the comedy begs to be documented.  And thank goodness, they provide a wealth of material.

December 18, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

I love Christmas music.  Really, I do. I've been known to spin some holiday tunes in the middle of July,  when the spirit moved me.  After all why can't you listen to Christmas music all year.  I mean people listen to various and sundry genres all through the year.  How dreary would it be if you could only listen to Show Tunes in, say, October, or large lush orchestral pieces in...oh, maybe...April.  Or how about opera?  What if there were only a few days of the year for opera?  Hold on.  Hmmm.  Would that be so bad?  Oh, I'm just kidding.

And ditto for Christmas decorations.  The neighborhoods swaddled in lights and glitter are ever so much more handsome during the holidays.  Wreaths and bells and bows;  I love putting them up and resist taking them down.  As a matter of fact, I don't put every holiday-themed item to rest in the attic after Christmas.  There's a lovely rustic angel that lives with us all year long.  And I love to collect fanciful shoe ornaments, and several of these survive the post holiday cut.  Then there is always something that I miss when packing up the trinkets, and whatever it happens to be also gets a pass to avoid the summer temperatures of the attic.

For the most part, I think people smile more during this festive time.  Strangers in the grocery store, clerks at the malls too.  Or maybe because I'm smiling more, they are just responding.  At any rate, it is so often suggested that it would be a nicer world if everyone could sustain holiday fever long past  December calendar days.  The patience and civility, sweetness and kindly spirit would go a long way, I think.  Then, maybe the whole year could really turn out to be the most wonderful time.

November 19, 2011

We Gather Together

"We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing."  How many times over the past....well.....many, many years have I listened to this Thanksgiving song.  When I was teaching general music my classes sang this song every November.  And they learned the melody, and learned the lyrics, and sang it by rote, as children pretty much performed most of the songs we sang in the classroom.  After all, how much insight  and discussion can you pull out of second graders when dealing with the stilted prose and unfamiliar words of traditional old songs!

Still, I found myself humming the song today, and really not giving any more thought to the lyrics than my second graders did.  But, the whole idea of Thanksgiving seemed to have a bigger impact today.  Of course there are the interminable ads and commercials for Black Friday, and pre-Black Friday specials, with  deals that will blow your socks off.  Not to mention how a person can blow the whole holiday budget before anyone carves the turkey.  And then there are the stores that are already fully sparkled and trimmed; and those that brag they will not apply one silver ball until the clock strikes midnight on Thanksgiving.  Which may be about the same hour many intrepid shoppers will be heading out to stand in line at the big box stores.

At 16 Bars I'm thinking that this is a good time to slow down.  What's the rush, after all!  I'm taking time to appreciate the many gifts I've already been given.  From my parents who gave me the opportunity to take piano lessons when I fought them all the way. Who knew, when I was in second grade, that as an adult, playing the piano and writing songs would be one of my greatest joys.

I'm thinking about the show that 16 Bars is about to open at the Herberger Theater Center, and how very much fun it is to watch a talented cast create a terrific show from words I put on the page.  I'm thankful for my high school English teacher, Sister Kathleen, who required all that reading and writing back in the day.

And the family!  The funny, sad, ridiculous, wonderful crazy hijinks of three fabulous sons, a silly little grandson, and a husband that is steady as a rock!  You can just bet, I'm giving big-time thanks.

October 28, 2011

It's About Time

16 Bars has been busy.  And...lazy.  But mostly busy!  After our successful run of Chicken Soup at the Herberger, we took some time off to travel, write, and learn some music.  It was a great summer, and in Phoenix it pretty much is still summer.  The leaves have not turned, the afternoons still flirt with needing the AC, and even though there are gourds and dried corn in the table centerpieces, we are just pretending it is fall.

We have been working on a new Herberger Holiday show.  It opens the week after Thanksgiving, and runs every day that week at 11:00AM and 1:00PM.  The show is called HOLIDAZED, and is a wacky, fast-paced look at the holidays in the style of the old Laugh In, (if anyone remembers that funny show from so long ago.)  16 Bars is mixing up a melodic cocktail of favorite tunes, stories, anecdotes, and quotes that range from Hallmark to harebrained.

In addition, 16 Bars Cabaret is performing a version of Chicken Soup at various venues, and having a fine time of it.  We are also preparing a brand new holiday show,  HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, which will tour to many Valley destinations, and we are in the process of booking at the present time.

And so, even though it may not be starting to look a lot like Christmas or Hanukah or even  Thanksgiving in this part of the country, we are full of the spirit of the coming holidays, and look forward to entertaining.

May 28, 2011


I've been lax in the blog arena!  And there's a good for that.  We're getting a new show ready to open at the Kax in the Herberger Theater Center.  The preview is June 6 at 7PM and the show runs at 12PM Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for two weeks beginning on June 7.
It has been so much fun working on this show, which by the way is called "CHICKEN SOUP FOR LUNCH."  
The chicken soup reference is simply that our show, like chicken soup, makes everyone feel better.  And even though I lean toward the vegetarian lifestyle, I remember the love and care that my mother and grandmother displayed as they prepared favorite foods for our family.  Only the best ingredients and careful preparation went into everything that emerged from the kitchen.  Extraordinary portions of fun and laughter always surrounded our family dinners.
So, join us if you can, for a generous scoop of music and fun.  From 16 Bars with Love!

April 15, 2011

So many songs, so little memory!

16 Bars Cabaret has been working night and day to keep up with the five shows we are either rehearsing or planning!  It's a lot for the Cabaret Girls; but we are loving it...for the most part.  We are presently performing the Chicken Soup show while we are rehearsing Fascinating Rhythms of George and Ira Gershwin, Fly Me To The Moon, and a Mother's Day show.  Just beginning a new version of Chicken Soup For Lunch that will open June 6 at the Herberger Theater Center.  I don't think I've ever had so much music and so many lyrics running through my mind.  The trick seems to be getting the right melodies with the correct lyrics.  I wake in the middle of the night with rich sounds of Blue Moon, Walking After Midnight,  and If Mama Was Married running amok in the Wee Small Hours Of The Morning.  Let's see:  what's the next song, who sings it, and could somebody tell me the name of the show!