Sydney Cabaret Festival

Sydney Cabaret Festival 2019 feat Trevor Ashley
Photograph: Supplied

Time Out says

What good is sitting alone in your room?

Since 2002, Adelaide has been home to Australia’s biggest cabaret festival, which has gradually evolved into the biggest cabaret festival anywhere in the world. But this year Sydney is throwing its own hat into the ring in a big way, with the inaugural Sydney Cabaret Festival. Directed by drag, musical theatre and cabaret star Trevor Ashley, the festival is setting up its hub at the Seymour Centre, with shows by local and international acts around the city. Here are some of our highlights:

Jennifer Holliday: The Original Dreamgirl (Jul 6-7)
The artist who changed Broadway history by belting out ‘And I am Telling You I’m Not Going’ in the original production of Dreamgirls is bringing her powerhouse voice – and a selection of Broadway, soul and jazz classics – to this headlining concert at Sydney Town Hall.

Alison Jiear: A Centenary Celebration of Ella Fitzgerald (Jul 12-13)
Australian-born singer and West End star Alison Jiear has one of the most beautiful voices in the business and is paying tribute to the Queen of Jazz with a quartet and some of Ella’s most memorable musical moments.

Natalie Joy Johnson: Relentless (Jul 11-13)
New York cabaret diva Natalie Joy Johnson was once described by the Village Voice as a mixture of Bette Midler and Courtney Love, and we’re not sure we can do much better than that. She’ll be joined by accompanist Brian Nash and a scorching hot band to share songs and stories.

Kim David Smith: Kim Sings Kylie (Jul 12-14)
Australia’s own Princess of Pop gets the cabaret treatment in this show by New York-based Kim David Smith. Given that Smith was described by the New York Times as a kind of male Marlene Dietrich, you should probably expect pretty unexpected twists on Kylie’s classics, ranging from ‘The Locomotion’ right through to her 2018 album, Golden.

Solve-Along-A-Murder-She-Wrote (Jul 5-7)
No, Jessica Fletcher didn’t do it. This show hosted by Murder, She Wrote superfan Tim Benzie is packed with games, audience participation, ‘80s trivia and, of course, a screening of a classic episode of the TV series.

Moët & Chandon Piano Bar (Jul 5-13)
The best moments of a cabaret festival often don’t happen during the main shows, but rather late at night when the festival’s stars get up to collaborate with other special guests and belt out a tune. The Moët & Chandon Piano Bar is open at the Seymour Centre over six nights of the festival from 10pm, and will have guest hosts including Rhonda Burchmore, Genevieve Lemon, Tom Sharah and Cath Alcorn.

See the full Sydney Cabaret Festival program at


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