Sue’s Views

A Blog by Sue Matsuki

Performance Pet Peeves – Part 2

by | Aug 24, 2018 | Sue's Views | 1 comment


All of the issues are from various shows. While no show or performers will be named, I offer these random observations for the purpose of growth. Sometimes shows teach us what NOT to do!

  • One person at an Open Mic had such a tremendous R&B voice but they had no mic technique and literally blasted us out of the room. Sometimes loud is just loud. You have a great, big voice but I could not hear you!
  • Going along with the “less can be more idea”, sometimes when it comes to creating an arrangement, ALL of your great ideas do not have to make it on to the page. Riffing until you cough up a lung or repeating the same melodic theme over and over and over again requires restraint and editing! It’s like the great painter that adds that one last brush stroke and realizes he’s just ruined the entire painting.
  • SHUT UP AND SING! – Particularly if you are doing a one song spot in an Open Mic situation…give us one line and let us hear your beautiful voice. ‘Nuff said.
  • I saw a show where the singer was incredible, the voice fantastic, the band to die for and I walked out of the show and asked my friend, “Why did I hate that show so much? It was fantastic but I’m leaving feeling angry.” My friend turned to me and said, “Arrogance!” Confidence is great but when it crosses a line of alienating or seemingly being self-congratulatory on stage, it’s off-putting.
  • Do you really need that extra instrument? Consider the size of the room and the size (or limitations) of your voice and know that when a horn enters in and makes the audience jump, it’s not a good thing.
  • Faux patter exchanges with your Musical Director when you are funny and enough as you are can become a detriment to the overall show.
  • PRESS KITS (See my tutorial in Cabaret U.) – There are two kinds of press kits:–  one that you send to get a job to a venue or booking agent where you need to include all of your bells and whistles (reviews, postcards from previous show, etc.) and the one that you present at a show for a reviewer to use to review your show. As a Reviewer, I personally do not want to read what anyone else has written about you on previous shows and certainly not the show I’m there to review! I usually just take the Song List and the card for the show I’m reviewing and leave the rest.
  • SONG LISTS – Ideally? Song title, writers listing who did lyrics and who did the music and whether it’s from a show or not. The year it was written is optional but appreciated. (Again, to view a tutorial on how to create a program, song list, press kit or ideas on how your postcard can help sell your show, visit Cabaret U.)


1 Comment

  1. Regina Zona

    Great Advice! “Less is more” is indeed the way to go. Don’t throw everything and the kitchen sink at the audience! Remember that these composers and lyricists wrote everything in the music! Sometimes if you just truthfully present what the writers intended, you will touch your audience way more than just trying to show off all your tricks.


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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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