BWW Interview: Cabaret Star, Seth Sikes, On His Return to Feinstein's/54 Below and the Influence of the Legendary Judy Garland
New York-based performer, director, and cabaret star, Seth Sikes, returns to Feinstein's/54 Below this May with his exciting new show -- The Songs That Got Away. These songs, paying tribute to the legendary Judy Garland, have not yet been performed for audiences and will be sure to leave fans feeling inspired and deeply moved. BroadwayWorld had the opportunity to speak with Sikes in advance about Ms. Garland's influence; the songs that have not yet been performed; and his contemporary twist on the classics that have defined generations.
Let's start at the beginning. Can you talk about how Judy Garland has influenced your life and career?
I grew up watching all her movies as a kid, in Paris, Texas. Summer Stock was my favorite and I've always loved these old MGM films. There was something about her specifically - the sound of her voice, her sense of humor, and essentially the love of her musicals that got me into show business. Her songs have just always been there for me my whole life - when I got to New York and experienced heartbreak, it was her songs and her Carnegie Hall album that got me through dark times. I wrote this whole show for my first outing as a tribute to her and all her songs and weave them in and out of my life story. Since then, I've done six or seven tributes to Judy - I've traveled to London and have taken this show on the road!
What are you most excited to share in your new show, "The Songs That Got Away?"
"The Songs That Got Away" is brand new for my fans. I'll be singing songs in this show that I've never performed before -- with some of them being a little more obscure. I'm also including a few songs that were written after Judy died that she never got a chance to hear in life. It's exciting to get to pass her songs on to younger audiences.
How do you feel like you connect to Judy in the present day?
One of the connective tissues is our shared love for these classic songs and that's something that will never go out of style. Judy would take songs from the teens and twenties -- like of the Al Jolson and vaudeville era -- and sing them in what was then a contemporary fashion. I feel like I can also experience the impact and beauty of these songs in the way she could.
Describe your creative process and weaving together music and story.
The way I work is I take a lot of the songs I want to sing and as I'm rehearsing, I begin to filter in the script and how I'll mix it all together. This show will be about what my life has been like since I've been singing Judy Garland and like a sequel to my first show.
The one constant I'll always come back to is how steady a force Judy has been in my life.
Sikes performs this Wednesday, May 16th @ 9:30 p.m. at Feinstein's/54 Below. For tickets and more info, click here: https://54below.com/events/seth-sikes-songs-got-away/