Songs of stars and space
Peterborough: Cabaret artist returns with world premiere show
A child looks up into the vast expanse of stars reaching out into an infinite universe and thinks of adventures into the unknown. A large honey moon hanging low in a canvas of pinpricks of soft starlight creates the perfect setting for a young couple’s romantic evening. A lonely satellite drifting amongst the deep, silent void projects feelings of fear and isolation.
Space, the moon and the stars is a varied thing in our culture, explained cabaret singer Jennifer Sheehan in a phone interview Thursday from her New York City residence. Particularly in music. For as long as there has been music, said Sheehan, there have been people writing about the moon in June and the various aspects of the cosmos. Sheehan will be collecting some of her favorites on the theme into a single show, “STARDUST – A Night in the Cosmos” that will make its premiere performance at the Peterborough Town House on Sunday, with a backdrop of the height of the Perseid Meteor Shower and the year’s largest Super Moon as her backdrop.
“It’s an evening of wonderful songs that celebrate the night sky and the various ways we see and contemplate it as we move through life,” said Sheehan. “From wide-eyed wonderment as a child, to being a backdrop for romance as we get older, or the moon being a friend for the lonesome to talk to.”
Sheehan has become a highly sought-after new voice in the concert and cabaret world. She has performed for audiences in venues from coast-to-coast and in the UK, including Carnegie Hall, Café Carlyle, Feinsteins at Lowes Regency, 54 Below, Ely Cathedral in England, The Sheldon Concert Hall in St, Louis, and notably, many concerts at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Sheehan has also performed both of her other original cabaret shows “I Know A Place” (a showcase of songs from the 1960s) and “The American Songbook” at the Town House in Peterborough. Those that have seen her previous performances will find the tone of her new show familiar, she said.
“My concerts are very interactive, which is a hallmark of cabaret, that you’re very involved and sharing stories and weaving them into the songs,” said Sheehan. “It’s a theatrical type of evening. I wouldn’t say that, in terms of style, this show will be that different. What’s going to be a little different is the subject matter.”
Living in New York City, it’s a rare event to get to see the real night sky, said Sheehan, but she remembers the feeling of being a child and looking up at it. Now, when she travels to tour her shows, she’s reminded occasionally of how spectacular the view can be.
“I’m reminded how it really inspires me, sparks my curiosity and puts me into perspective. I think it’s very healthy, and for me, it’s almost very spiritual, to feel connected to what’s out there and to know that I’m part of something much greater than myself and my daily problems and my own day-to-day.”
Sheehan said she’ll be performing a range of songs from different styles and eras, ranging from music from the 1920s, to Bossinova, jive, jazz, spoke and rock. “Think Melody Gardot and Pink Martini meets Hoagy Carmichael, Sergio Mendes, Joni Mitchell and David Bowie, just to name a few,” she said with a laugh.
Sheehan will be backed by musicians James Followell, pianist and music director, Steve Bargonetti, guitarist, Jered Egan, bass player, and Dan Gross on percussion.
The concert will be Sunday at 7:30 p.m. in the Peterborough Town House. Tickets are $30, and may be purchased on www.electricearth.org, or reserved by calling 522-3352. Prior to the concert, people are invited to picnic on the lawn between the Town House and the Monadnock Center for History and Culture.
For a catered picnic basket, call Sunflowers Restaurant by Friday at 593-3303. Picnic baskets will be delivered to the Town House at 6 p.m. before the show.
Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or firstname.lastname@example.org. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaari.