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Review: ANYBODY HAVE A MAP? at Don't Tell Mama Drops Shannon Daley Off Where She Belongs: On A Cabaret Stage

It took a while for her to get here, but Shannon Daley has arrived on the cabaret scene and she is raring to go.

Review: ANYBODY HAVE A MAP? at Don't Tell Mama Drops Shannon Daley Off Where She Belongs: On A Cabaret Stage

There's a new cabaret artist in town, and she's been playing her debut show over at Don't Tell Mama to sparse houses, but it isn't because she's not good - it's because she's new and unknown. Well, that's about to change.

As debut cabaret shows go, ANYBODY HAVE A MAP? is a fine first outing, and as newcomers to the small venue storytelling circuit go, Shannon Daley is a charming new addition to the industry. A one-time musical theater actress, Daley put her dreams of performing on the back burner to raise a family. Now an empty-nester with three kids in college, Shannon decided to pick up and dust off those dreams and was waist-deep in designing her New York City club debut when the pandemic hit and her plans were thwarted. And her kids moved home. So it was rather a case of three steps forward and two steps back.

And that is the story of Anybody Have A Map? And it's a good one.

Review: ANYBODY HAVE A MAP? at Don't Tell Mama Drops Shannon Daley Off Where She Belongs: On A Cabaret Stage Working closely with director Lennie Watts and Musical Director Steven Ray Watkins, Ms. Daley has crafted a charming show that acts as a personal story rather than a mere setlist, thus making her relatable. Had she chosen to just sing songs that she liked, there would be no hook to draw in the strangers - and in cabaret, you want your audience to be strangers, people who saw your postcard and were compelled to check you out (and Daley has a good postcard that could get people to check her out). As a newcomer to the scene, it is important for Shannon to announce herself, and Anybody Have a Map? does just that, in a way that is empathetic and enjoyable, that opens up Daley's journey without becoming too personal or cringey, all of it structured very nicely, thanks to the vast combined experience of her guides, Watkins and Watts.

Review: ANYBODY HAVE A MAP? at Don't Tell Mama Drops Shannon Daley Off Where She Belongs: On A Cabaret Stage There is also the matter of talent to consider when debuting a new cabaret show. Often is the time when someone grows restless in life and decides that the best course of action for them is to become a live entertainer, without checking to make sure that they have the goods to back it up. Surprise and audible sigh of relief: Shannon Daley has the goods to back it up. She may have taken a couple of decades off from her musical storytelling but it doesn't show. The lady has some good vocal training, some range, and a lucky ability to vary up the styles in which she is performing. Working with Broadway show tunes from Sunset Boulevard and Dear Evan Hansen, Daley displays a strong musical theater voice, but when the time is right, Shannon, just as easily, takes on Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Dolly Parton and Steven Tyler (yes, Steven Tyler). Her vocal skills are entirely cabaret-worthy and any rustiness that she might exhibit from only using her Mom Voice for two decades will fall away, as Shannon gets her "cabaret legs."

Review: ANYBODY HAVE A MAP? at Don't Tell Mama Drops Shannon Daley Off Where She Belongs: On A Cabaret Stage And on the subject of getting one's cabaret legs, Shannon Daley is a pretty good musical storyteller - she is present, in the moment, willing and able to commit to the story, indeed, more than willing and able, she is ready and she is determined. Cabaret storytelling is different from musical theater storytelling, and Shannon has made a good, a promising start. Working with Watts and Watkins, continuing to do shows, and growing at this brand of storytelling will only make the Daley brand better. If this reporter were to offer one note to Ms. Daley it would be to tell the story to the people in the seats. At this point in time, Shannon seems to be finding comfort and safety in a spot in the back right corner of the room, and that's understandable. Many people standing in that light, with that mic in front of them, will tend toward locking in on the horizon line, the amber gels, or the darkness. But the most beneficial part of cabaret storytelling is the intimacy, and the connection with the audience is the most valuable tool in the telling of the story. Working the humorous side of life through brilliant self-scribed song parodies or the tender aspect of her tale with an impressive "Everything Must Change" and an emotion-inspiring mashup of "Before The Parade Passes By" and "You're Gonna Hear From Me," Daley easily drew audible responses from audience members at Saturday's show, and the only thing that will happen by playing directly to the people in the seats is that the stories will become more resonant, and the responses more powerful.

Review: ANYBODY HAVE A MAP? at Don't Tell Mama Drops Shannon Daley Off Where She Belongs: On A Cabaret Stage A particular highlight of Saturday's program was the two duets Shanon Daley performed with her son, singing actor Rafi Martinez, a most engaging man with a powerful charm, not the least of which is the way he looks at his mom when she isn't looking. Everyone loves a good mother-son duet, but when applied to the story of this empty-nester in the process of rediscovering herself, there is a doubling-down of emotional energy, especially when considering that Martinez is at an age where he, too, is probably living in a room of self-discovery. Both singing members of the Daley/Martinez family acquit themselves very well, indeed, and their time together during Anybody Have A Map? would touch anyone who has a special relationship with a parent.

This is just the beginning for Shannon Daley, and she's lucky that she has such a strong creative team working with her (including drummer Don Kelly, whose presence in any show makes the evening better) because, even while her nest is empty, she is not going to be lonely. Shannon has stepped into a community of artists and audiences who will request and require her society, her company, her artistry. As this run of shows draws to a close, it would be wise for her to begin seeing other acts, meeting other artists, and hitting the open mics. There is work to be done, and this momentum should not be stopped because she's got the goods, and she's made a start - a good one.

Shannon Daley, welcome to cabaret.

Follow Shannon Daley on Facebook HERE.

Find great shows to see on the Don't Tell Mama website HERE.

At the June 18th performance, Bassist Marco Panascia subbed in at the last minute with no rehearsal and was fantastic.

Review: ANYBODY HAVE A MAP? at Don't Tell Mama Drops Shannon Daley Off Where She Belongs: On A Cabaret Stage

Review: ANYBODY HAVE A MAP? at Don't Tell Mama Drops Shannon Daley Off Where She Belongs: On A Cabaret Stage

Review: ANYBODY HAVE A MAP? at Don't Tell Mama Drops Shannon Daley Off Where She Belongs: On A Cabaret Stage Review: ANYBODY HAVE A MAP? at Don't Tell Mama Drops Shannon Daley Off Where She Belongs: On A Cabaret Stage Review: ANYBODY HAVE A MAP? at Don't Tell Mama Drops Shannon Daley Off Where She Belongs: On A Cabaret Stage Review: ANYBODY HAVE A MAP? at Don't Tell Mama Drops Shannon Daley Off Where She Belongs: On A Cabaret Stage

Review: ANYBODY HAVE A MAP? at Don't Tell Mama Drops Shannon Daley Off Where She Belongs: On A Cabaret Stage

Review: ANYBODY HAVE A MAP? at Don't Tell Mama Drops Shannon Daley Off Where She Belongs: On A Cabaret Stage

Review: ANYBODY HAVE A MAP? at Don't Tell Mama Drops Shannon Daley Off Where She Belongs: On A Cabaret Stage

Review: ANYBODY HAVE A MAP? at Don't Tell Mama Drops Shannon Daley Off Where She Belongs: On A Cabaret Stage

Review: ANYBODY HAVE A MAP? at Don't Tell Mama Drops Shannon Daley Off Where She Belongs: On A Cabaret Stage Review: ANYBODY HAVE A MAP? at Don't Tell Mama Drops Shannon Daley Off Where She Belongs: On A Cabaret Stage Review: ANYBODY HAVE A MAP? at Don't Tell Mama Drops Shannon Daley Off Where She Belongs: On A Cabaret Stage

Review: ANYBODY HAVE A MAP? at Don't Tell Mama Drops Shannon Daley Off Where She Belongs: On A Cabaret Stage

Photos by Stephen Mosher


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From This Author - Stephen Mosher