Artistic director Julia Zemiro is keen to whet audiences’ appetite for the festival, which will return to the Adelaide Festival Centre from June 5-20.
She says 2020, which celebrates the festival’s 20th birthday, will be “a year of celebration of the past, the present and also turn the page on the next chapter”.
“David Campbell [Cabaret Festival artistic director from 2009-11] is going to co-host the opening Variety Gala for 2020 and there’s a lovely symmetry to that because we are celebrating 20 years of Cabaret Festival and David and his wife Lisa first invented the idea of the Variety Gala…
“Having David there will be a thrill. He is someone who can literally do anything … he can do pop, he can do rock, cabaret, musical theatre, but he’s so good at genre.”
While the Adelaide Festival Centre has previously hosted a French Festival in January, in 2020 it is instead presenting A French Soiree over four days in the middle weekend (June 11-14) of the Cabaret Festival.
The centrepiece of A French Soiree will be Do You Hear The People Sing?, a concert showcasing songs by composer and lyricist duo Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, whose musicals include Les Misérables, Miss Saigon and La Révolution Française. Presented over two nights, it will feature singers such as West End and Broadway musical theatre stars Alfie Boe and Lea Salonga (also known as a “Disney Legend” for her voicing of the animated film roles of Jasmine in Aladdin and Fa Mulan in Mulan).
The same weekend, French cabaret singer Caroline Nin will return to the festival stage with Barbara: La Dame en Noir, inspired by the chanteuse known simply as Barbara who was famous for her melancholic singing.
Offering a complete change of pace will be American group Davina and The Vagabonds. Zemiro likens them to 2019 Cabaret Festival acts The Hot Sardines and Gunhild Carling, “who just cooked up a storm with trumpets and sax and brass and charm”.
“They’ve got a New Orleans feel – they’re very sassy, they’re funny, they’re going to raise the roof in the Dunstan Playhouse,” Zemiro says of Davina and The Vagabonds’ Adelaide exclusive shows.
“I know that Cabaret Festival audiences really like that kind of energy and we can’t wait.”
Returning to close out the 2020 festival will be RocKwiz, this time with a show celebrating New York – not just its Broadway showtunes, but also the music heard in clubs and other spaces that have hosted the likes of Liza Minnelli, David Bowie, Blondie, Lou Reed, and Patti Smith.
“We’re going to bring those two together,” Zemiro says. “New York is like this absolute mecca of a melting pot, so there will be quiz questions about Broadway, quiz questions about New York performers and some special guests on the night.”
Included among the early-release shows is SIX The Musical, which will be one of the first shows at Her Majesty’s Theatre when it reopens and was announced earlier this month.
The full program will be launched in March next year. Details of the early-release shows can be found here.