of the 2006 Nightlife Award for
“Unique Cabaret Performance”
am founder, artistic director, producer and performer of the Kabarett Kollektif, a troupe of
New York-based artists dedicated to preserving the European cabaret
tradition and to furthering the art form as a whole. Almost as soon as
I got to New York, I began dreaming of a collective of cabaret artists,
blending songs and styles, tossing around ideas and resources and
language and experience. Not only did I want top-flight entertainers
sharing common ground and sensibilities, I also wished to re-invent the
earliest songs and styles of the genre while incubating new ones.
I formed the group in January 2003 to fill a niche in the local cabaret scene and build a bridge back to cabaret’s roots. The debut series took place in April 2003 at the Duplex Cabaret Theater in the West Village with the group’s original four members: Germans Theo Bleckmann, Dirk Weiler and myself, and English-born Gina Leishman. In January 2004, the group welcomed Belgian Micheline van Hautem, Canadian Jean Brassard, Frederique Trunk and Greta from France, and American Marni Rice. A fundraiser was held in April with the entire ensemble performing. Using those proceeds, a month-long series was staged at Mama Rose’s in the East Village with a new show each week: Introducing the Kabarett Kollektif, Noise and Smoke: Hits of Weimar Berlin, Paris Nocturne, and Foreign Currency: Songs for Our Time. In April 2005, Berlin-Paris Express was debuted at The Encore. It joined Noise & Smoke and Paris Nocturne as the group’s most popular shows and all three were reprised at Helen’s in Chelsea in the fall 2005.
In September 2005, I was featured on the cover of Cabaret Scenes magazine. The accompanying article describes my life as a solo performer, recording artist and leader of the Kollektif.
In 2007, I schemed up Kabarett Fête, New York's only festival for European cabaret, and gave existing and new Kollektif members a showcase. These included Frans Bloem of Holland, German-born Micaela Leon, Olivia Stevens of Sweden and American Rebecca Fletcher. I've since brought members of the ensemble together in a European cabaret series at the Spencertown Academy (2008), in two shows I directed for the German Forum (2008 and 2009). In the first of these, Australian Kim Smith joined the fold as our most recent member. We last appeared on stage in 7 Year Itch: Best of the Kollektif at the Duplex (2010).
The ensemble continues to grow...thus far 14 artists from 9 countries have helped nurture the European cabaret arts in New York City under our banner.