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Thursday, August 19, 2010

These days it's not uncommon to see live music, comedy, acrobatics and the occasional puppet skit share the same stage. Today on Soundcheck: a look behind the curtain at the revival of cabaret, vaudeville, and variety shows. Plus: live music from singer-songwriter Tift Merritt.

The Return of Cabaret

It's been on the rise for a few years, but 2010 marks a tipping point: Cabaret and variety shows are everywhere right now. Involving elements of jazz, stand-up, dance, acrobatics, and risqué, circus-like theatrics, the shows can be found at major international festivals (including the New York Fringe Festival, underway this week) and in smaller settings like the “Spiegeltent” at the Bard Music Festival.

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Amanda Palmer Steps into the Kit Kat Klub

"Cabaret punk" is the term most often applied to Boston duo The Dresden Dolls. The band's frontwoman Amanda Palmer has been pursuing a solo career of late; her latest project is a collection of Radiohead covers on ukulele. But this fall, she'll be starring in a two-month revival of the musical Cabaret at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachussetts.

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Tift Merritt: In Studio

At the beginning of the decade, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Tift Merritt was heralded as the next alt country queen. But over subsequent albums, she turned away from the charts and focused inward.

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Life Is (Still) A Cabaret

Variety and cabaret shows are back?  I didn't know they'd gone away...

Bibi Tanga & the Selenites

Gig Alert: Bibi Tanga & the Selenites

The Parisian cosmopolitan funk band play a free show at Lincoln Center's David Rubenstein Atrium tonight. Download the Afrobeat-influenced track "Bê Africa."

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Eden Brent

Gig Alert: Eden Brent

The blues singer and pianist performs at Rockwood Music Hall tonight. Download her freewheeling new track "Ain't Got No Troubles."

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The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger

Gig Alert: The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger

The airy pop duo made up of Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl performs tonight at Joe's Pub. Download the delicate "The World Was Made for Men."

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