Entertainment Hive 2017

Scott Evans Davis hears the call of the Cabaret Festival

By Honey B

New York composer Scott Evans Davis has heard the buzz about the Adelaide Cabaret Festival for several years and now he's here with his show Picture Perfect. Davis says Picture Perfect is a song cycle about the reality that lies behind the "picture perfect'' facade we present to the rest of the world. It's about the seconds either side of the perfectly composed family portrait or the truth buried beneath each "my life is perfect'' Facebook update or tweet. Picture Perfect stars David Harris (Wicked, Legally Blonde) with Johanna Allen, Amity Dry, Naomi Eyers and Paul Talbot. What is it about the Adelaide Cabaret Festival that you love or what have you heard about it? "I've heard about the cabaret festival for a few years now, and it always fascinated me. The idea of an all inclusive cabaret festival is just heaven. All of the different artists coming together and celebrating the art of cabaret and music.   It's very inspiring.   Many of the artists who have participated in the festival are ones that I highly respect, and I couldn't be more flattered that I'm a part of it.''  How would you define cabaret? "To me, cabaret is connecting to an intimate audience through music and lyrics. It's the connection to the audience that sets it apart as an art form. Musical theatre is told behind the guise of characters. Recordings hide the live connection. It's the only art form we have currently, that combines all of the elements of song interpretation along with an intimate audience.''  Tell us about your show. "Picture Perfect was created as a musical revue for a New York audience. When I released my album CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC in 2011, and began doing concerts, many people would respond with a repeated question: 'What are these songs from?'. At the time I had only this answer: 'They are just stand alone songs.'. I knew that they felt as if they belonged together as part of one piece but I didn't know exactly how to achieve that. Picture Perfect is the culmination of that idea, giving my song cycle a vehicle to exist in.   All of the songs have a similar theme.   Relationships, patterns, and   ultimately, acceptance.'' Cabaret seems like such an intimate art form - what scares   you about it and what do you love about it? "I think the same answer is applicable to both questions.   My answer is audience response.   It's what I love about it, as well as what scares me. Because these are my songs, I am essentially putting my brain and heart on a stage for people to respond to. My songs are an extension of me. They are how I think and how I process the world. It's a vulnerable but exhilarating feeling to open that up to critique, either positive or negative.''     What is the first production/performance you ever saw and what do you remember about it? "When I was 12, I saw the PBS version of Into The Woods with Bernadette Peters. I remember seeing   Little Red Riding Hood talk to Cinderella and sarcastically say "you can talk to birds? ". I just laughed so hard. I was hooked. Then I heard the music and the words, and I had a lifelong love of theatre.''  What is your dream role or the favourite song you love to sing and why? "Growing up, I wanted to be a performer on Broadway. Singing was my life. I still sing these days, on my album etc but I don't actively pursue performing since I began writing four years ago. Although if I had to come up with an answer, I still love to sing Baby Mine from Dumbo because it's simplicity and love behind the chords still makes me cry.''  The Adelaide Cabaret Festival puts many wonderful performers together in the one space - who would you love to perform with or see at this year's festival and why? "I would love to work with Lea Salonga someday. I've had the chance to hear Liz Callaway, Faith Prince, Rebecca Luker, and many others sing my songs. But she is a dream of mine.'' Who are your inspirations? "Many people inspire me. Stephen Sondheim and Barbra Streisand are at the top of that list. I've had the privilege of not only meeting Sondheim, but corresponding with him and spending time with him. Maybe someday I will say the same of Barbra.''  What song can't you get out of your head at the moment? "Let It Go (from Disney's Frozen). I happen to teach the daughter of Kristen and Bobby Lopez who wrote that song, and it's been on the forefront of my mind lately.   Along with the rest of civilization.'' Picture Perfect with music and lyrics by Scott Evans Davis, Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Adelaide Festival Centre, Banquet Room, June 14 to 15. Bookings BASS 131 246
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