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Interview: Catching Up With Deborah Stone of CHIAROSCURO at Pangea

Musical storyteller Deborah Stone chats with Broadway World about her the debut of her new show.

Interview: Catching Up With Deborah Stone of CHIAROSCURO at Pangea After a series of successful cabaret shows, Deborah Stone has carved out a place for herself in the cabaret and concert community. Known for shows that are sophisticated and elegant, intellectual and accessible, and always rich with interesting musical choices, Deborah is a favorite of many members of the club-going community, especially the club-goers who also happen to be her colleagues in the industry.

As Stone prepares to debut a new show in one of her favorite clubs to play, Pangea, she accepted an invitation to chat with Broadway World Cabaret about her work, her work relationships, and the reason for the show name that may have some asking their phones for a definition.

This interview was conducted digitally and has been reproduced with minor edits.

Deborah Stone, welcome back to Broadway World!

We have had a few chances to chat in the past; it's no secret that I am an ardent admirer of your work. You have a new show coming up at Pangea with a fantastic title: what does CHIAROSCURO mean to you, both in life and in the context of this new show?

Firstly, thank you for reaching out to me. I always enjoy our time and conversations together and I appreciate your praise. I would say that Chiaroscuro, as I will explain in the show, simply came to mind as a reaction to seeing light and shade out my window one day, and likening it to our own dealing with the ups and downs, the darkness and light in our own experience. This opened up a whole world to me creatively.

Did it concern you, choosing a title that might be confusing to some?

I was hoping that, rather than confusing them, they would find it compelling, and a good reason to come and see what it's all about.

Your shows tend toward the autobiographical; does this program follow in the footsteps of your past endeavors?

I would guess that we all offer parts of ourselves, our lives and experience, in our shows; at least I've found that I do. Suffice it to say that I'm in there.

I've seen your setlist, which is wonderfully varied. Where do you come by your eclectic musical tastes?

Interview: Catching Up With Deborah Stone of CHIAROSCURO at Pangea I came up in a very musical household; my mother was a classical pianist, and she frequently had musicians over to "jam", so to speak. Also, as a ballet student, I was regularly exposed to classical music, in class, and in opera. I studied ballet at the Metropolitan Opera, and had the great good fortune to "super" in many operas from the time I was eight years old. Still, our family was open to varied musical genres, from folk music to jazz, and the Blues.

Even those with the most varied of musical tastes will lean more heavily into one certain genre: where do you find yourself living, musically, to your maximum satisfaction?

That's a very good question, Stephen. I've always felt that there is so much great music out there; why limit oneself? This time around, I seem to have embraced a bit more of the pop genre, and also jazz. I've learned that it varies, depending upon what I'm into at a particular juncture in my life. A wonderful thing about having some years under my belt is that I have much music "in reserve", that pops up and I remember fondly, welcoming it in.

You work with John Cook as your Musical Director; put a picture in my head of the collaborative creation of your arrangements and the structure of the musical journey.

Interview: Catching Up With Deborah Stone of CHIAROSCURO at Pangea John is a fount of music and ideas. While compiling our opening number, for example, he would all of a sudden say, "and then we could do this, sing this song"! He and I both get very musically excited and seem to have a lot of shared knowledge, of different styles and types of music. He knows many, many more songs than I, and if I come to him with an idea, a thought, a theme, he'll just start right in with offering songs along that vein.

You, yourself, are a musician. Do you think that that makes a difference in the language that you and John share, during the creative process?

Goodness! - this question follows the one you just asked, and I was already going there!! Yes! We sort of intuit a feel of a piece, and we both have a strong classical music background. I'll reference Shubert lieder, for instance, and he'll start in playing one that I happen to know, or have sung. Once, before a rehearsal, he started to play a piece, and I totally freaked because it was a huge favorite of mine, and not well known by many - a Prokofiev piano concerto. So I would say that I feel like I'm being honored as a fellow musician when we're together. I hope that answers the question!

You are a renaissance woman, an actor, a singer, a dancer, a musician, a storyteller. The first definition of the word chiaroscuro refers to painting and drawing. Is that an area of the arts in which you have dipped your toe?

No. Can't draw or paint. I loved finger painting as a kid! My mother was also a visual artist, and a great one, and I have a deep appreciation of art, and, if I may say, a good eye for it.

Tell me the name of a visual artist whose work inspires you, and why.

I'm crazy about George Bellows and his fellow Ashcan School artists. Visceral, muscular paintings, showing the beauty in the day-to-day, in commerce, architecture, rivers, .... But I have many other favorites, among them the American and French Impressionists.

If you could paint or sketch a portrait of anyone working in the cabaret and concert industry, who would it be, and what would that portrait look like?

Two immediately come to mind; Lina Koutrakos and Amanda McBroom. What would it look like? It would be richly done, with painterly strokes and impasto, representing their knowledge and passion of music and the world.

Deborah, thank you so much for sharing yourself with Broadway World Cabaret today. I look forward to seeing you on the sixteenth at Pangea.

Deborah Stone's photos are all by Helane Blumfield.

Deborah Stone Ciaroscuro will play Pangea on June 16 and 28. For information and reservations visit the Pangea website HERE.

Deborah Stone's website can be accessed HERE.

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From This Author - Stephen Mosher

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 Crazy... (read more about this author)

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