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Venice Theatre Cabaret Festival: A Troubadour’s Cabaret

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  • | 4:48 p.m. July 23, 2013
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Many of the shows during Venice Theatre’s Summer Cabaret Festival take cues from Broadway musicals and vocal standards. However, this Thursday, July 25th and Sunday, August 4th, something entirely different will be gracing the stage at Venice Theatre. Bill Schustik brings to the festival A Troubadour’s Cabaret - a quixotic and wonderfully dramatic musical adventure into the soul of America and sometimes beyond.

Bill's performances have carried him all around this country, through a record setting around the world tour in 46 hours, to a command performance at the White House. He has also appeared on and off Broadway, authored two full-length ballets and has written a show about the American Civil War ("Shiloh Hill," produced by Ford's Theater, Washington, D.C.).

Here, I asked him some questions about his upcoming cabaret. He gives us a glimpse into what makes him tick, from building sandcastles when he’s not performing to awakening folk songs that are over several hundred years old.

KP: Tell me about your upcoming cabaret at Venice Theatre – what is the concept behind it?

BS: I sing the gut stompers, the tearjerkers, and often invite my audiences to sing along to the songs they have known and loved throughout the years.  The stories inspired by and woven into the songs create a magical thread between the past and the present.  You could say I am in the business of resurrecting spirits.

What do you do when you are not touring?

I like to delight folks with whimsical drawings, sandcastles, and, lately, sharing my talents with students across the country.

Are there any other musicians in the show?

Carolyn Dunn is a singer/songwriter who has been performing at festivals, clubs, and coffeehouses throughout Florida since moving here in 2004. She grew up and started performing in Rochester, NY, and lived in Burlington, VT for 15 years before moving to Sarasota. Carolyn plays bass and sings in several groups, and is known as the Bass Playin’ Grandma. She's very active with the Sarasota Folk Club, is on several festival committees, and is a Director of the Florida Music Food Initiative.

What do you think is unique to A Troubadour's Cabaret?

These songs and memories are national treasures.  There are art songs and show tunes, yodels and jew’s harps.  Several of the songs featured in my performance are several hundred years old, and yet many will remember them as commercial top 20 hits from the folk revival era of the 60’s.

What are you most excited about sharing with an audience?

Memories are important to me.  A lot of the stories I tell have been passed on to me through the ordinary folks I have met during my many years touring this country.  It’s always exciting to see the moment when folks realize they are being reconnected not just with a song they may have tucked into the recesses of their minds, but the experiences surrounding those songs that resonate through the years and help shape our fondest memories. 

What does it mean for you to have Venice Theatre providing this platform?

It’s an incredible opportunity to share in the dynamic, artistic spirit that Venice Theatre has created, and to share the spirit of our unique American experience.  A theatrical Cabaret is more than a concert, it is an intimate platform that allows the performer to make a special connection with the audience, and Venice Theatre is a class operation. 

Which cabarets (other then your own) are you most excited to attend?

If I could, I would go to all of them! The Summer Cabaret Festival has something for everyone. 

Anything else you’d like people to know about your show?

I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of old friends and meeting new ones!  Come up and talk to me after the show, I’d love to hear your story!

You can find more information about A Troubadour’s Cabaret or purchase tickets online at the Venice Theatre website.


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