Get ready to go all out as this year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival kicks off this weekend with a star-studded lineup of the brightest and boldest performers, starting with the sold-out The Variety Gala at Festival Theatre tonight.
Audiences will be entertained, delighted, and downright dazzled by a glittering smorgasbord of cabaret classics and brand-new shows alike, also part of Adelaide Festival Centre’s 50th Anniversary celebrations throughout June.
Curated by an all-star line-up of nine Artistic Directors, The Cabaret Collective - Julia Holt, David Campbell and Lisa Campbell, Kate Ceberano, Eddie Perfect, Ali McGregor, Julia Zemiro, Alan Cumming and Tina Arena – this year’s program features 342 artists and musicians across 91 performances including 13 world premieres and 20 Adelaide premieres by a large contingent of Australian artists and performers from the USA, United Kingdom, and France.
Each Artistic Director has brought their own flair to the program, with some performing their very own shows as part of the opening weekend’s stellar line-up, including Kate Ceberano’s Festival Theatre show My Life Is A Symphony with Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, celebrating her illustrious 40-year music career. Limited tickets available. Julia Zemiro and Brian Nankervis bring back RocKwiz, this time saluting Adelaide and one of Australia’s most prolific writers and composers, Eddie Perfect (Shane Warne: The Musical, Beetlejuice), brings his world premiere show to the Banquet Room stage – The Blank Page.
In an Australian premiere, Ali McGregor, who shares her golden 50th year with Adelaide Festival Centre, brings her brand-new show to the Dunstan Playhouse stage: Fool’s Gold with her six-piece band. Ali will also host the guaranteed good time late night club - Late Nite Variety-Nite Night – throughout the first weekend in the Banquet Room, with tickets selling fast.
Shows proving to be a hot ticket this year:
- Direct from Paris, in an Australian exclusive, world-famous French cabaret act, Paris Combo will perform their show A Celebration of Songs of Belle Du Berry in tribute to their late charismatic chanteuse and songwriter this weekend.
- Soul and R&B powerhouse Thndo will bring her incredible vocals to the stage in The Reintroduction.
- Edge of Reality Elvis Presley Songbook featuring Paul Grabowsky , Joe Camilleri and Deborah Conway paying tribute to Elvis Presley with heartfelt, reimagined renditions of the King’s greatest hits. Sold out.
- Adelaide Tonight with Bob Downe and Willsy back by popular demand during the second week of the festival.
- Performing with an 18-piece orchestra, international cabaret star Reuben Kaye will present the world premiere of his show enGORGEd . An extra show has been added due to popular demand.
- ARIA Award Winner Vince Jones performs the much-loved songs from the ABC television series Come In Spinner soundtrack, which became the highest-selling Australian jazz album of all time, accompanied by a 17-piece big band and special guest Nina Ferro. This show has been hand-picked by Kate Ceberano.
South Australian performers featured include:
- Brag Drunch - This year’s Frank Ford Commission is an immersive dining and performance experience looking at the intersection of queer history and food featuring a spread of South Australian drag artists. The award by Adelaide Cabaret Festival’s late founding father, provides $20,000 a year towards the creation of new works by South Australian artists.
- The legendary Robyn Archer presents An Australian Songbook , spanning 150 years of Australian voices from rock, folk, country, and musical theatre.
- Adelaide Cabaret Festival Icon Award 2022 winner Libby O’Donovan joins renowned jazz vocalist Michelle Nicolle and The Yankalilla Miracles to belt out hit songs from the 60s to the 90s in More Than A Melody.
- Helpmann Award winner Michael Griffiths gets personal in the world premiere of It’s A Sin - Songs of Love and Shame in Space Theatre. Limited tickets available.
International acts include:
- Stage legend and social media sensation, Broadway Barbara – who boasts almost half a million followers – makes her Australian debut this weekend.
- Returning to Adelaide Cabaret Festival for the first time in a decade, direct from the US, internationally acclaimed cabaret great Mark Nadler will perform two shows. The charismatic New Yorker will take to the stage with Hootenanny and The Old Razzle Dazzle, both on the second weekend of the festival.
- Grammy Award winning chanteuse Rizo’s show Prizmatism makes its Australian premiere in the final weekend.
- Following sold-out UK tours, Sarah-Louise Young brings her show, An Evening Without Kate Bush , to Australia for the first time and pays homage to the music, majesty, and mythology of one of the most influential voices in British music.
Here’s what the Cabaret Collective have to say:
Julia Holt: “I am hopping from one foot to the other in excitement ready for the Adelaide Cabaret Festival Variety Gala and the smorgasbord of incredible shows that follow, starting with the swinging gypsy jazz of Paris Combo direct from Paris. Come and join the conga line of Co- Artistic Directors as we wind our way through two weeks of musical delights, sublime voices, heartfelt stories, incisive views, breathtaking moments, and rib-tickling belly laughs.”
David Campbell and Lisa Campbell: “We cannot wait to join The Cabaret Collective for the opening weekend. We are honoured to be walking the red carpet alongside the best and the brightest of Adelaide. The Gala looks set to be an extraordinary evening with surprises for all and we are looking forward to having a chat with our Co-Artistic Directors at Julia Holt’s In Conversation on Saturday and hopefully catching the sublime Ms Ceberano in the evening!”
Kate Ceberano: “I’m very excited to be coming back to Adelaide for this opening weekend for Adelaide Cabaret Festival. The range of shows, big and small, all detailed and hand-picked to offer punchy, emotional, and original works. I for one can’t wait to bring the My Life Is A Symphony repertoire to the Festival Theatre stage. It’s personal, cinematic, and truly epic amongst the grandeur of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Roscoe James Irwin who has arranged all the charts for my concert will also be performing his show, an ode to Chet Baker! And the vocal perfection of both Vince Jones and Nina Ferro with be a masterclass in jazz and big band sounds as they revisit the beloved catalogue for Come in Spinner. Cannot wait.”
Eddie Perfect: “It’s always a gift to return to the warm embrace of Adelaide Cabaret Festival. This year they’re even letting me bypass the covid corridor and enter through the front. With so many incredible artists to experience, all of them handpicked by my extraordinary fellow Artistic Directors, it feels like a family homecoming. I’m excited for the late-night piano bar and late-night club and Comedians Auditioning For Musicals, ALL of which I have signed up for. Soon Adelaide Festival Centre will be humming with music and joy and incredible wine and food! See you soon, Adelaide.”
Ali McGregor: “I can't wait to return to my cabaret home in Adelaide after nearly five years! There is nothing like the warm, wine-soaked embrace of Adelaide Festival Centre when it is bustling with audiences getting their minds blown and hearts torn asunder. I am bringing a show that is extremely close to my heart this year, and I am excited to be amongst some of the titans of their craft from all over the world.”
Julia Zemiro: “I can’t wait to dress up and sparkle for Adelaide Cabaret Festival. 23 years and still shining like a diamond! Come for the extraordinary performer, the music, the laughter, champagne with old friends, and the company of strangers. Heaven! I am back with Rockwiz, this time saluting Adelaide, diving into the stories behind South Australia’s most revered artists. Join us!”
Alan Cumming: “When I was asked to be Artistic Director of Adelaide Cabaret Festival, I thought long and hard about the form of cabaret itself, and I really tried to present a program that showed the true variety of possibilities the cabaret form encompasses. And with that in mind this year I am bringing back Adelaide Tonight, which is an intergenerational variety feast! Alas I can’t make it to Adelaide to celebrate in person, but I hope you enjoy gorging on this show.”
Tina Arena: “I learned so much during my tenure as Artistic Director and delighted in exploring the hearts and minds of the Australian cultural landscape. Unfortunately, other projects prevent me from being in Adelaide in June but I’ve chosen two shows that present the spontaneity and story-telling spirit of cabaret, THNDO’s The Reintroduction and Reuben Kaye’s enGORGEd. Last year we promised to Lead You Astray. May the path be long and winding.”
Singer, writer and performer, Ursula Yovich is not to be missed in her Adelaide Cabaret Festival debut show, An Evening with Ursula Yovich, where she explores culture and connection through story and song in a moving love letter to language and taking inspiration from her Arnhem Land roots and tri-lingual childhood household.
Cabaret fans can also delight in the return of Paul Capsis in Dry My Tears – his first ever acoustic show, while diva Mama Alto will perform a stunning hour of vaudeville delights in Follies Girl. And award-winning Queen of Cabaret, Trevor Ashley returns to the festival with Showqueen, hot from his appearance on reality TV show, Queen Of The Universe.
With more free events than ever before, audiences can hear from some of our Cabaret Collective in Artistic Directors in Conversation with Julia Holt in The Quartet Bar on Saturday, June 10. While festival favourite Dr Trevor Jones – The Piano Man is back at the Festival Theatre foyer Corryton Burge Quartet Bar nightly, plus will host a brand-new Show Tunes Trivia night on Thursday, June 15. And the Cabaret Lounge returns as the perfect place for patrons to settle into a quiet corner or keep the party going between shows.
The popular LGBTIQ+ Elders Dance Club by All The Queens Men, the fabulous afternoon tea dance party for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, gender diverse and intersex elders and all allies, will be held at The Quartet Bar on June 17.
The Hon. Andrea Michaels MP, Minster for Arts: “It’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival time! A wonderful time of year when Adelaide takes centre stage and we see cabaret lovers and performers flock to our state. As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of Adelaide Festival Centre, the Malinauskas Government is delighted to welcome some of the previous artistic directors back to Adelaide for a very special Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Have a wonderful festival and I look forward to seeing you there!"
Adelaide Cabaret Festival Executive Producer Alex Sinclair: “We cannot wait to present some old favourites and brand-new works to the cabaret stages in one of our biggest festivals yet. This year’s opening weekend will be glittering brighter than ever in honour of Adelaide Festival Centre’s 50th birthday celebrations this month, we can’t wait to see you there and get this party started.”
Produced and presented by Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide Cabaret Festival has grown from modest beginnings in 2001 to become Australia’s major winter festival and the largest cabaret festival in the world. The festival has been a platform for shows and performers who have achieved critical acclaim and featured world-renowned artists including Ms Lisa Fischer, Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, Dita Von Teese and Patti LuPone to name a few.
Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2023 opens on June 9 and runs until June 24.
Tickets on sale now at adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au