Seth's Showcase featured up-and-coming cabaret singers showcasing work by three female composers.

By: Jan. 28, 2023
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It was a treat to see Seth's Talent Showcase cabaret this Tuesday night at Midtown's Don't Tell Mama. Composer and lyricist Seth Bisen-Hersh's weekly talent showcase has been going on for quite some time, and this week's edition, held on Tuesday, January 24th at 7 pm, was no slouch. In honor of Lucy Simon, who passed away last October, Bisen-Hersh decided to focus this week's show around the work of female composers on Broadway, of which there are shockingly few, compared to male composers. Since Lucy Simon only ever wrote two shows (The Secret Garden and Dr. Zhivago), Bisen-Hersh rounded out the song selection with two other female composers whose names have been in the news lately: Once Upon a Mattress's Mary Rodgers, who is back in the news with the recent publication of her memoir Shy, and Jeanine Tesori, who is back on Broadway with the new musical Kimberly Akimbo, which just opened in November. Together, selections from the three women present a delightfully wide range of music. Female composers make up a tiny percentage of all work on Broadway, and women lag far behind men in all key creative roles, so seeing their work featured together like this makes a powerful statement. Tesori is, by far, the most commercially successful and prolific of the three, but each woman left an indelible mark on the Broadway stage and broke boundaries.

Bisen-Hersh's show also highlighted new, up-and-coming talent in cabaret singers, with an overwhelmingly female cast, giving a chance for newer performers to shine. Cara Ferro (@caraeferro) was one of the highlights of the night, belting out Tesori's "The Girl in 14G," flawlessly moving between the mousy narrator, operatic soprano, and high-energy upbeat jazz at the drop of a dime, building up to the frenzied end. The song was written by Tesori and Dick Scanlon for Kristin Chenoweth's 2001 album Let Yourself Go, but Ferro made it her own, with her truly impressive voice. Other standouts included Izzy Munsch (@izzymunsch) with a soulful rendition of Tesori's "Democracy" from Soft Power, and Samantha Burkard (@burkard_sam) with a perfectly sweet, excited "Changing My Major" from Fun Home. Maria Lane (@marialane), Cara Chesney (@cara_e_chesney), Zoie Lanning (@zodevoe) and Randall Holloway (@itsrandallholloway) each sang a selection from Violet (lyrics by Brian Crawley), deftly capturing the wide range of emotions that each one of Tesori's songs conveys. Violet is a treat of a character, with so much naivety, anger, hope, excitement and hurt wrapped together, and Lane, Chesney, and Lanning sang with an excellent combination of acting range and strong vocals (respectively, "Lay Down Your Head," "On My Way," and "All to Pieces"). Holloway bares his soul as Flick in "Let It Sing," giving a rousing performance, laying out the character's life philosophy and grappling with his feelings for Violet.

To find out when the next edition of Seth's Talent Showcase is, you can visit or follow him at @sethBHdotcom on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter.

Visit Don't Tell Mama at or on Instagram at @ donttellmamanewyorkcity

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