For cabaret singer Courtenay Day, making lyrics from the Great American Songbook come alive for audiences takes more than a beautiful voice and an elegant stage presence - though she has both in good measure. For Day it takes an intimate and per sonal connection to the lyrics - and a willingness to share her emotional experience of the songs with her audience.
Whether she's delivering an old standard, a romantic ballad, or a comic number, her aim is to make the cabaret experience memorable by connecting with the listener.
The first step in the process is careful selection of material. Says Day, "The song has to be strongly written, and also meaningful to me. I choose songs that tell a story and speak to me in some way. This helps me create a strong experience for the audience."
Choosing the right songs is only part of Day's formula for success. She continues, "The most successful cabaret singers are willing to show the audience who they are through the music. By sharing a song through my experience of it, I can gi ve the audience the gift of hearing even a familiar song in a totally new way. To me, this is the essence of live cabaret performance."
Having performed to critical acclaim, it is perhaps Day's reviewers who say it best of all:
"Without warning she's probing standards for values that no one else has found... she sings [Sondheim's] "Every Day a Little Death" with more pain than it may possibly ever have been sung."- David Finkle, Back Stage
"Day looks like and sounds like a mix of Sandy Duncan and Liz Callaway, with a teaspoonful of Katie Couric thrown in for good measure. Without artifice, Day allows herself to inhabit the lyrics directly to achieve maximum effect with minimum affect."- Frank K. Darmstadt, Show Business
"It isn't only that she has a fine voice, but listening to her makes one realize Day has thought about these lyrics. It sounds simple, although too many singers don't have a clue that it matters."- Max Preeo, Show Music
A lifelong dancer whose credentials include a BA in dance, and training at the School of American Ballet in New York City, Day runs her own ballet school and dance company in suburban Philadelphia. She pursues her cabaret career from her second home in Manhattan. "I started my artistic career as a professional dancer and found that I needed a more verbal way to communicate with an audience. So, I started singing. Being on stage sharing this cabaret art form allows me to put it all together." ;
Courtenay Day was the first singer to appear at the Cabaret Room at Odette's in New Hope, Pennsylvania - now a must-stop on the cabaret circuit. Day helped open this venue in what she felt was a fitting tribute to the club's first owner, th e late Odette Myrtil, who played the role of Bloody Mary in the Broadway production of South Pacific. Since then, Day is a regular performer at Odette's.
Day has also played a number of popular New York cabaret rooms including Judy's, Danny's Skylight Room, Eighty-Eights and Don't Tell Mama. She's also appeared at the Paris nightclub, Bouchon, and entertains at many special events and fundraisers.
Day is a member of the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs (MAC) and a fellow of the O'Neill Cabaret Symposium. She has worked with some of the great cabaret masters including Sylvia Sims, and Margaret Whiting, who wrote the liner notes for Day's CD, "Live At Don't Tell Mama."
For further information, interviews and bookings call E.R. Becker Company, 203-852-8077.