BWW Feature: At Home With The 'ims - Tim Cahill & Jim Harder
What do you call a family of musically inclined people living in an elegant house and singing every day? No, not the Von Trapps - this family is The 'ims.
Married couple Tim and Jim have cut their suit to fit their cloth - when their personal life landed them with a cute nickname the savvy artists and businessmen considered the branding possibilities open to them and ran with it. Everyone knows a male couple with a cute nickname - remember The Brads? How about The Two Toms? Everyone knows Steve Squared. Once Jim and Time became The 'ims, their brand was created, and now everyone in New York cabaret knows the three of them: Tim Cahill, out front singing and clowning, Jim Harder, behind the piano playing and joking, and The 'ims, the duo destined to make audiences laugh and listen and go home happy.
I caught up with Tim Cahill, one-half of The 'ims, during the shelter in place order to find out what how they're faring in isolation, where they get their art, and which one cooks and which one cuts hair.
This interview was conducted digitally and is reproduced in its' entirety.
Name: The im's - Tim Cahill & Jim Harder
First Cabaret Show (Title, Year, Club): "It's About Tim(e)," 2018, Don't Tell Mama & Pangea
Most Recent Cabaret Show: 2018 Debut Show
Website or Social Media Handles: Website: https://www.tim-cahill.net/; Instagram: the.ims; Facebook: the.ims.cabaret
Tim Cahill! Tell all of our readers about The im's, which is one of the cleverest things I ever heard of, and what the Im's artistic mission statement is.
Hi Ste! Thanks so much for having us! Giving credit where due, a friend, another Tim, came up with this nickname for Jim and me, and it stuck. Honestly, we love walking into a cabaret room and hearing, "The im's are here!" Since we're relative newbies in the cabaret world, we have loved discovering and getting to know the wide variety of artists in this community -- such a friendly bunch. As for our mission, we like to combine our classical music backgrounds -- add a dash of the zany -- with the Great American Songbook.
How are you and Jim doing during the shelter in place order?
Quite harmoniously, pun intended! We are finding new ways to share 600 square feet, for example rearranging the living room furniture to create an exercise space. Jim tends to hole up with a book (his latest was Homer's "Odyssey," in preparation for Joyce...of course), and I binge series. My latest was, "Little Fires Everywhere," loved it! We divide chores; he cooks (plant-based, lately), I clean. And I have now added barber to my special skills list. We are discovering classic movies and watching old favorites through the Criterion collection.
You gentlemen have quite an art collection - how did that hobby begin?
We do live with many beautiful things, and at this point the only empty space is the ceiling! Actually, Jim is the acquisitive one, I trend toward Marie Kondo, that is if you disregard my photo collection of famous women -- Anna Magnani and Patricia Routledge (Hyacinth Bucket) among my most cherished. Jim was lucky to have several artist friends who bequeathed work to him; additionally we like collecting from Creativity Explored, a terrific organization, which supports artists with developmental disabilities.
You cut your teeth as an opera singer - how does a big-voiced bari-tenor end up singing in intimate club venues? And is it fair to say you are a bari-tenor or have I missed the mark?
Oh, Stephen, flattery will get you somewhere! You are right on the mark for calling me a bari-tenor. In the opera world, I was always caught in the middle: am I a tenor? am I a baritone? When I made the switch to Broadway and cabaret, I was thrilled that bari-tenor was a thing! And in cabaret, you can be whatever you want to be, which is what I love so much. The cozy clubs have proved such a valuable learning experience; accustomed to performing to the last row at the highest level of an auditorium, there was a real learning curve stepping on the stage at Don't Tell Mama. The opportunity to communicate at a most intimate level with an audience makes cabaret so appealing.
Photo by Stewart Green
Are you folks able to work while on lockdown, or are you taking this time to create and clean?
While we are both fortunate to work virtually (Jim in mental health, Tim in software), we are also ramping up for our new show, "ONCE YOU HAVE FOUND IM," with our Director, Lina Koutrakos. We've whittled down to about 30 songs from an initial 200, so we are on our way! While we're not saying much, the show -- ok, no surprise -- centers on the various facets of love, with a few unexpected twists. We're even including a song which Jim copied-out by hand from the British Library Archives in January, just before the lockdown. Fingers crossed, we'll be revisiting Pangea on October 9 and 25.
Photo by Melanie Einzig Photography
You are a New Yorker by way of Texas. Why are there so many Texans living in New York?
Hook 'em horns...or...should I say, "Hook IM horns!" Yes, there are a lot of us. I always get tickled meeting a fellow Texan and finding mutual connections from the Dallas area. Learning we had a common friend in Kyle McLaren confirmed just that; it was a special experience working with him on "Man of La Mancha" at Garland Civic, and his passing is a great loss to the DFW theater community.
Do you remember what your first cabaret show was after moving to NYC?
Jim and I had met in January 2013, and one of our first dates was hearing Met Opera soprano Patricia Racette, at 54 Below in "Diva on Detour." And by the way, our second show was with former City Opera soprano, Barbara Lowin, at Don't Tell Mama. Our love of sopranos led us to invite a guest soprano, Dame Zinka Nilsson-Dorma, to perform in our debut show singing an aria from Turandot! Needless to say, we are forever finishing each other's soprano arias.
When the world and the industry begins to return to normal, what would you like your next venture to be?
Most of all, performing a benefit show has always been a desire, and the need is greater than ever. We're kind of obsessed with traveling and we'd love to take our show to the west coast or even London -- or any number of places on our bucket list.
Tim how much time do you and Jim spend at the piano, creating music on a regular basis, be it for work or pleasure?
Music is truly part of every day, and we are lucky to have a great piano. With unlimited discretionary time now, and neighbors blessedly sheltered out of town, we are able to make music 24/7. Jim writes arrangements, and I enter them on MuseScore, a labor of love!
Tim, on a scale of one to ten, exactly how glamorous is the life of a child model?
Well, as anyone would imagine, 10s across the board! Non-stop paparazzi and adoring fans. It can be a lot sometimes, but you have to give the people what they want. And I am really big in Cincinnati!