Sue’s Views

A Blog by Sue Matsuki

Performance Pet Peeves – Part 1

by | Aug 22, 2018 | Sue's Views | 0 comments


When I used to write for Stu Hamsta, the favorite columns, the ones that got the biggest bump-up on website hits, were the Pet Peeves Columns….Here’s one of what will be many I’m sure!

  • On overstaying your welcome…a Cabaret show, no matter how good, should be 50-60 minutes inclusive of your fake encore, unless the club requires you to do a longer show. Some ask for 1:10-1:15 show and bigger names/stars are afforded longer shows. But, when people start looking at their watches, squirming in their chairs or need to hit the restroom twice during your show, this is not a good thing. Back to the concept of less is more and more is sometimes just more…keep them wanting more or you’re just singing AT them and not TO them.
  • On fake encores…do the whole go off and come back on thing or don’t, BUT do not apologize if you choose to do it. I really get annoyed when a person comes back up on stage blaming it on the audience saying, “You knew I was coming back up!” or “It’s a Cabaret “law” that you have to do the encore thing.” No, I didn’t and no, it’s not!  A real encore is no extra song on the piano and pulling one out of your…er…hat, yeah hat, because the audience refuses to stop clapping. I have been seeing Cabaret shows for 30 years and I have only witnessed 2 – count ‘em 2 – real encores and they were both for bigger names singers! Barbara Cook was one of them and she sang something a capella and off mic. I can promise you that the sweetest moment you will have on stage is being asked back for a real encore so wait for it but be ready to pull a tune out of your…hat! If you do the on/off thing, good for you (no judgment) but just come up, bow and sing…NO DISCLAIMER PLEASE!
  • On a solution to the above?… If you do 15 tunes in a show (about 55-60 minutes with some chat), at song 13 say your thank you’s and announce that you have 2 songs left. At the end of song 14 (your 11:00 number) have the Tech person say your name, bow, acknowledge the band and then stay there and do your last tune.
  • One last VIEW on the overstaying your welcome issue, think of the act that is appearing after you. You’re up at 7 and they’re up at 9:30. You stay on stage until 8:20. The room takes 20-30 minutes to clear and clean. We’re now at 8:45. The 2nd act was to be sound checking from 8:30-9:00 because doors were supposed to open at 9:00. The 2nd act either now has to rush through their sound check so that they do not keep their audience waiting in the hall or lobby or, if they need a full sound check, their show is going up at about 10:00. Are you out of the dressing room in time for them to get ready? Probably not because you’re smoozing with your guests as they leave. Let’s all just strive to treat people the way we would like to be treated if WE were the 2nd show. Keep those dressing rooms clean too please. 



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Sue Matsuki

Sue Matsuki

Co-Editor & Instructor, Cabaret HotSpot and Cab U

Sue Matsuki is the co-author, along with David Sabella, of So You Want To Sing Cabaret (Rowman & Littlefield, June 2020). Sue is the Managing Partner, Co-Editor, Reviewer, Vloger and a Columnist (Sue’s Views) for an on-line entertainment magazine: www.Cabaret She taught Cabaret classes at: The Ridgefield Theater Barn and UCONN in CT, MAC-to-School and Cabaret Hotspot in NY and for the Canadian School of Performing Arts. She has served as Treasurer on the Board of Directors for MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs). She, along with Gregory Toroian, her long time Music Director, now host a monthly Jazz Brunch Open Mic at Pangea. Matsuki also produces benefits and corporate events and is the Producing Manager for Urban Stages’ Winter Rhythms series where she also hosts a Vlog called Urban Stages’ Artists Chat.

Matsuki’s most cherished awards come from winning the 2020 Bistro Award for Outstanding Collaboration celebrating her 25th year of working with Music Director, Gregory Toroian; getting her poster up on Don’t Tell Mama’s “Wall of Fame” for her show How’s That for Openers? celebrating the 33rd Anniversary of singing at the club and being selected personally by the late Julie Wilson as the very first 2004 Julie Wilson Award Recipient, given by the Mabel Mercer Foundation.

Matsuki is an 11-time MAC Award Nominee and a 3-time Winner (in seven different categories), mostly recently she was nominated for Major Female Vocalist. Her MAC history includes: 2002 MAC Award Winner for Female Jazz/Pop/R&B Vocalist; 2002 Nominee for Best Female Recording for her first Jazz CD, A New Take; 2004 Nominee for Duo/Group (with Marcus Simeone); 2006 MAC Award Winner for Special Productions for her sold out 7 week run of 10 Years in the Making with her Musical Director Gregory Toroian; 2007 & 2010 Nominee for Female Vocalist; 2008, 2011 & 2012 Nominee for Duo/Group (with Edd Clark); the 2008 MAC Award Winner for Specialty Song (“One Stop Shopping” by Page/Matsuki/Toroian); and the 2020 Nominee for Major Female Vocalist.

This Jazz/Cabaret/Comedy veteran has played every NYC Cabaret room including: Feinstein’s at the Regency, Feinstein’s 54 Below, The Metropolitan Room, Arci’s Place, Town Hall, Don’t Tell Mama, Pangea, The Algonquin, The Beach Café, The Laurie Beechman Theater, 88’s, and has even played Carnegie Hall along with several legendary Jazz Clubs including: The Village Gate, Birdland, The Iridium and Sweet Rhythm. She has performed in Alaska, Los Angeles, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, Nyack, Maine, Fire Island, Florida, Providence and Las Vegas!

Her jazz CD, A New Take, was nominated for the 2002 MAC Award for Best Recording and her Christmas CD, Sue & Edds FABULOUS Christmas both receive air play across the country and internationally. She is also featured on folk singing legend Christine Lavin’s original music Christmas compilation CD, Just One Angel with a song that she co-wrote with Paul Stephan called “Christmas Angel”.

Matsuki was a Super and “Diva Double” at the Metropolitan Opera where she has been featured in Moses und Aaron; Tristan und Isolde; Norma; and Il Travatore.

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