In a press statement, Neil Marcus, artistic director of the festival, commented, "This inaugural Festival places London as a world leader in this unique art form that creates a special intimacy and bond between artist and audience. We will be presenting established masters of the craft from America such as Michael Feinstein and Steve Ross; national treasures like Alexander Armstrong who are not yet known for their versatility in the field; and the Crazy Coqs will be hosting a night showcasing the best in new British Cabaret talent."
Maria Friedman, who will be hosting a free cabaret master class Oct. 25 at the St James Theatre in the art of performing cabaret, added, "Cabaret is a unique way for an artist to hone their communication skills, allowing the audience an up close, concentrated, in the moment experience. The very best peel away the layers to reveal themselves; allowing an audience an evening of intense emotion and gripping story telling."
Friedman is a patron of the festival, along with Douglas Hodge, Michael Feinstein, Adam Guettel, Barb Jungr and Jason Robert Brown. The latter commented, "Cabaret is a glorious vehicle for true personal expression in the musical theatre; its value cannot be overstated. I am so thrilled that Neil Marcus and the London Festival of Cabaret are putting cabaret in the spotlight, where it belongs!"
Amongst highlights of the program:
- Michael Feinstein and Friends will take place at the West End's Palace Theatre Nov. 4, joined by Elaine Paige and Julian Ovenden.
- Alexander Armstrong and his band will celebrate the Great British Songbook at the St. James Theatre, Oct. 28-31, in a show specially created for the festival. In a press statement, the performer, who is best known as an actor and comedian, commented, "We have decided to explore the British Songbook - a journey that will take in Britten's folk-song arrangements, Coward and Novello, as well as Neil Hannon, Smith & Burrows, the Wombles (oh yes) and a few other of my personal favourites."
- Also at the St. James, Janie Dee will perform Nov. 3, and Ruth Leon, critic and artistic director of the Crazy Coqs, will present a talk Nov. 9, Cabaret: From Here to There, the Life and time of the genre.
- Performances at the West End's Crazy Coqs will include KT Sullivan and Karen Kohler in Vienna to Weimar, a program of songs from 1870-1930 (Oct. 22-26), KT Sullivan in Rhyme, Women and Song (Oct. 29-Nov. 2), Steve Ross (Nov. 6-15), and emerging British performers and writers presented by Simon Greiff (Nov. 11). Barb Jungr will present her shows Mad About the Boy and No Regrets at Soho Theatre Oct. 22-26, and will also host a free master class on the New American Songbook at the Hospital Club's new cabaret space Nov. 1.
- At Chelsea's The Pheasantry, British jazz singer Clare Teale will appear Oct. 25; Shona White, Shona Lindsay and Shonagh Daly will appear in a show called The Three Shonas Nov. 6-7; Selena Jones will appear Nov. 8-9; and cabaret double act Kit and McConnell will appear Nov. 13.