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Going Solo

Going Solo

*confession, I’ve never written a blog before but now seems as good a time as any to give it a whirl and share some of the exciting/terrifying roller coaster process that is putting on my first solo show!  Nearly 2 years ago, I sat with my best friend at her piano and sang the Judy and Babs Happy Days/Get Happy duet. It wasn’t a project, it wasn’t even a rehearsal, it was two friends singing because we loved it and were excited to have found the music. Both of us had dipped our toes in cabaret but it wasn’t until many coffee dates later that it became The Diva List. I’ve loved what we’ve worked on together and I’m looking forward to many more exciting projects together that are written on post it notes, or on the back of sheet music and the ideas we haven’t even had yet. I’d done a few showcases and guest spots but it was my first experience of the whole process, being both producer and performer and it certainly got me thinking.   I made a big decision that the cabaret scene was where I really wanted to be. I’ve always loved musical  theatre and spent plenty of time chasing the drama school dream, but I realised that there’s something special about the cabaret world that my heart was longing to settle into, my head just took a while to catch up! Of course I still have some unfinished business with the West End shows I’d dreamed of being a part of, but they’re not going anywhere and we’ll come to that in the show in any case. One of my favourite things about cabaret is that you can highlight the work that doesn’t always get seen, there are countless amazing musicals out there that don’t get produced or don’t get the limelight they deserve for a whole multitude of reasons (though, usually its money!) AND with a bit of repertoire juggling you can take a whistle-stop tour of them in one night! I’ve managed to get myself a bit of a reputation for finding obscure musicals to sing from, or choosing the wildcard of a lesser known song by a super-famous composer, and I certainly wouldn’t knock being known for that. Of course, that’s not to say I don’t love a greatest hits album as much as the next person or that I don’t sing Disney songs every day in the shower! In fact, the whole equally exciting and frustrating process of programming the show is another highlight for me. Many an afternoon has been spent writing song titles on post it notes and arranging them on my bedroom wall into little cabaret chapters, figuring out links and then the agonising part where I try to figure out if those links make sense or if they only make sense in my head!  Right now, I’m though that part,  I’m about to start rehearsals with the fabulous Nicki Williamson and I couldn’t be more excited to share it all with you!

Lauren Shields