Tiffany Graves On Cabaret With Tom Wakeley!
I like being busy; I thrive on it. So, when Tonight's the Night (the show I have been touring with for the last seven months) took its final curtain call on Saturday night, I was thrilled to know that I would be performing a cabaret of my own the very next day with my dear friend and musical director, Tom Wakeley.
Tom and I have been performing together for many years. We met on Chicago at the Adelphi Theatre in 1999 where Tom would very kindly use the break between matinee and evening shows on a Saturday to play through many a songbook with me on the quest to discover new music. I mean, really? How lucky was I? A singer's dream! A total treat all round. A friendship was struck and as our repertoire grew, it led us to perform our own special cabaret in a variety of venues; from the Royal Society to The Ritz to the nightclubs of both Mayfair and Soho.
So, when Tom approached me to be the 'guinea pig' for a new cabaret evening he has devised at Missenden Abbey in Great Missenden, I had said yes before he had even finished asking. Having already performed at "Little" Missenden with Tom four years ago, it was fabulous to be going "Great". The show comprised us performing various songs of my choosing whilst giving an insight to the life of an actress on the road, audition tales and anecdotes galore.
So, the set-up was piano, voice and song, stripped back to its most basic form with a twist: Tom will hold auditions for a guest performer to join the main singer to sing a couple of their own songs as part of the evening in the future. For the virgin voyage, I was joined by Tom Mole (Tom's son) who gave a sterling performance and even made his father, amongst many others, cry.
And the verdict? I had an absolute ball! After months of belting out Rod Stewart songs in huge theatres from Torquay to Aberdeen, it was a delight to let rip with some high soprano trills, comedy numbers and some new (and old) repertoire that I had been wanting to sing for ages in such a lovely, intimate setting. I wrote to composers to ask if I could sing their music (huge thanks to Verity Quade for letting me sing her beautiful song, "Sometimes") and sourced music from shows where the sheet music was not yet available in this country, not to mention calling on Tom's great expertise to re-arrange two Bond anthems for my grand re-appearance and opening of the second half. I felt musically spoilt being given the opportunity to sing such cabaret gems and, with Tom on the keys, I was in heaven. The room was fit to bursting at the seams with people and from the buzz afterwards, I think it's fair to say many more "Evenings with Tom Wakeley and...." shall be booked for the folk at Great Missenden in the future.
And as for Tom and me? Tom left the following morning at 3am to squeeze a short holiday into his busy schedule so, as yet, nothing is written in the diary. The cabaret scene is growing so quickly in London it's sometimes hard to keep up, but surely it's only a matter of time before Tom Wakeley brings his into town. And, needless to say, after such a fun and successful night on Sunday, I'd dearly love to be the one to go with him. I can't wait to perform my "Evening with...." for more audiences sometime soon: perhaps at the studio at St. James in Victoria or The Crazy Coqs in Piccadilly.
Hope to see some of you there! xx
Photo: Jonathan Hilder at www.piersphoto.com