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Interview: At Home With Marnie Klar

Recent Award-winning singer Marnie Klar is exploring a new type of artwork these days.

Interview: At Home With Marnie Klar Boy, the surprises life sends your way, eh? Marnie Klar has spent her time in the performing arts doing a variety of acting jobs, from Shakespeare to Musical Comedy, as well as modeling, before discovering the cabaret stages of New York, and when she did find her way into the small venue life, the people grabbed hold of her and wouldn't let go. Since her first show at Don't Tell Mama, Marnie has been a staple of the industry, appearing in solo shows and group shows, garnering accolades and awards, and always to be seen at a table in the audience, supporting the family of Manhattan club artists. Just moments away from debuting her new show in 2020, Marnie found herself in quarantine with her parents... and a painter was born!

Klar admits that it wasn't something she ever thought of doing herself, but her dad's passion for painting spilled over into her quarantine life, and four paintings later, this storyteller with words and with music has become a storyteller with a brush!

A fan ever since hearing her sing "Ode To Billy Joe" in a benefit to prevent teen suicide, I had to reach out to learn the story of her newfound artform... and a whole lot more.

This interview was conducted digitally and is reproduced in its entirety.

Name: Marnie Klar

First Cabaret Show (Title, Year, Club): Marnie Klar, 2005, Don't Tell Mama

Most Recent Cabaret Show: Marnie Klar Sings Bobbie Gentry (2019 Bistro Award for Outstanding Tribute Show; 2019 MAC Award Female Vocalist Nominee)

Website or Social Media Handles:; FB-; YouTube: Marnie Klar Channel; Instagram- @mskvab

Marnie Klar! Welcome to Broadway World and thanks for agreeing to chat with us today!

Thank you, Stephen, so much for having me!

It has been seven months since the global health crisis hit New York and all of the performing artists of the city got a forced unpaid vacation. How are things Chez Marnie these days?

It's incredible to me that it's been seven months already. Wow. Seven months since I've seen a live performance, physically, in person, in New York City. Kudos to all of you who are putting their talents and souls out there virtually. I am inspired by each and every one of you.

Things at Chez Marnie are different, that's for sure. I've actually been spending the pandemic in my hometown of Virginia Beach, (though I miss New York terribly!). Luckily, I've been able to work my day job from home. Otherwise, just spending a lot of time with my parents who were up here from Florida for the summer. Spending time with my dad, by the way, is how I recently began my foray into painting.

I saw one of your works of art online. I'd love to know about the trajectory of your relationship with the paintbrush.

Thank you for the question. Believe me, I'm just as fascinated with that story as I think you are. Let me change that- I'm personally shocked by this development of painting. For the record, I have never had any relationship with a paintbrush, unless we're discussing makeup. Never have I ever applied anything to a canvas. While it's been wonderful (and different) living with my parents again, I felt like I wasn't dedicating the time I normally would to my art as a performer, since no one was really leaving our home. That said, my dad discovered that he enjoys, and has a hidden talent, in painting just a few years ago. So I was able to use this time especially to watch him work. And, he's very good! And, he makes it look so easy. He told me he started with a "Sip and Paint" class with his current instructor here in Virginia, Joseph Simone, artist/teacher extraordinaire and owner of the Virginia Beach School of Art and Gallery. Sometime in early-mid July, I finally asked if I could attend a class with him. And, there you have it in a nutshell. The still life painting you saw online was my fourth painting ever and my first still life. While I'm still learning how to properly hold a paintbrush, my eyes are opening to all areas of art while helping me zero in on certain aspects of how I approach performing. Again, my mind is blown!

Interview: At Home With Marnie Klar

Marnie's first painting.

Now that you have finished your first still life, will you jump right into another painting or will you take some time off to do something else?

Well, I have to be honest and mention that as soon as I finished the Still Life, I took no time in starting my next assigned genre - a Portrait (I'm learning our teacher (Joe) Simone's Guidelines for the Seven Genres of Painting and that painting will be my fifth one in total).

And, I'm finally getting a little busier in the performance world again, so I'm trying to remind myself not to do too much at once. I tend to get very focused and want to finish things right away. I need to spread it out. Note to self- linger in the moment. It'll be a more rewarding process that way.

Interview: At Home With Marnie Klar

Marnie's second painting.

Do you often explore new adventures like this, or was this a product of the quarantine situation?

Without a doubt, this was a product of Covid. I'm always up for learning something new, however... If I had not come back down here and spent the summer with my parents, I don't think I would have jumped into this the way I have. And, being able to do it alongside my dad has been really special. I learned I have a hidden talent, too. Pretty cool. I highly recommend everyone give it a chance at some point in your life. You just might surprise yourself, too.

As a performing artist, you are very versatile, acting in musicals and also in some pretty impressive non-musical theater. Do you think that artists today have it easier or harder than those of the past, when it comes to the avoidance of being pigeonholed as just one type of a performer?

Interesting question. I'm very grateful to have been cast in both genres. I'm not sure if I know how to answer that, though... I don't think it's easier one way, or one time more than the other. For me, I know that I am first and foremost an actor, a storyteller, no matter what performance genre. Looking back though, I do find that I was getting cast more in non-musicals than in musicals. However, I was never truly upset by it, since I love both so much. As to your question of avoidance of being pigeonholed, I think it's often just part of casting. Sure, there are so many aspects of the industry one becomes frustrated and upset with. In some cases, myself included, I think it's one's attitude and finding what it is that makes you truly happy and complete, and then jump. Thankfully, my determination of wanting New York to really hear me as a singer in addition to being seen as an actor led me to the world of cabaret, which I couldn't be more thrilled about.

Interview: At Home With Marnie Klar

Marnie's third painting.

What is the next step for you, as a performer? Will you take your talents online, like some of your colleagues?

Well, I have a cabaret show, "A WOMAN'S PREROGATIVE," which was supposed to debut at Don't Tell Mama in April 2020. That's still on hold right now, obviously. Otherwise, I've been invited to informally sing at the art studio, VBSAG (Virginia Beach School and Art Gallery), which is exciting. As for doing anything online, I haven't done anything yet, though I highly respect all who are. Honestly, who knows what the future holds. It's changing daily, so, really, who knows?

Is the modeling industry on hold as well, or are you able to get back into the studio for some print ads?

I can't speak for the modeling industry now. Like performers, everyone's adapting. I personally love the creativity that's exuding everywhere.

I'd love to know about your work with Vocal Ease.

It's a wonderful organization, founded by the lovely Eva Swan. A mutual friend of ours suggested and recommended me for an audition and I'm so thrilled to be a part of it. My mom is past President of a local Nursing Home in Virginia, and I grew up singing for our folks there. Vocal Ease goes all over New York City, to nursing homes, medical rehab centers and so forth. Eva is a truly special person and runs a wonderfully tight ship. Again, I'm honored to be involved.

Tell me about being directed by Jerry Herman in a Jerry Herman musical.

Well, it's Jerry Herman! I believe he was happy to direct our production of MAME, since the University of Miami (our Alma Mater) renamed our theatre the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre in honor of his achievements. It was a pretty special experience.

Marnie, how many days into the process of painting AUTUMN PEARS did the fresh fruit have to be replaced?

Oh, I love this question, but it's really one for the original artist, Kelly Folsom. She named it AUTUMN PEARS and did the entire painting in oils (I'm working with Acrylics). As I mentioned, my instructor, Joe Simone, is teaching me the seven genres of art. In doing so, he decides what artists I might gain the most from in each genre by printing out copies of their paintings. He's met Kelly Folsom, and thought I would learn from studying her work. I did. She's so talented!

Interview: At Home With Marnie Klar

Marnie's fourth painting.

Thank you so much for talking with Broadway World today, please let us know any time you have some new artwork - either performing or visual - to share with us!

Thank you, so much, Stephen Mosher. This is quite an honor. I look forward to seeing you in person soon. Please stay safe and take care.

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Stephen Mosher is the author of The Sweater Book (a collection of his photography featuring celebrated artists from the entertainment communities of New York, Los Angeles, and London), Lived In Cra... (read more about this author)

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