By Haley Gibson, NUVO
July 6, 2017
Using a creative mindset to mesh immigration, family heritage and rural life, Indy actress Gail Payne will make her debut at The Cabaret located at the Indiana Landmarks Center on Friday, July 7, to a sold-out audience.
Her performance of This Is U.S.: We Hold These Tunes To Be Self-Evident began its journey in St. Louis and continues in Indianapolis before touring through Chicago to New York's prestigious Feinstein’s/54 Below this fall.
Payne's cabaret act includes a variety of different musical styles including country, folk, rock, musical theatre and traditional anthems. Her show's stories and songs comment on contemporary American society, and will be accentuated with compositions for guitar, piano and ukulele to features pieces that have inspired Payne throughout her life.
“[This show] is about what it means to me to be American. My song and story choices are somewhat based on my own experiences and perspective,” said Payne in an interview with NUVO before the show. “I think where you’re from [and] where you grew up shapes who you are, who you become and frames how you think about being American. I talk and sing about living my entire life in the Midwest – either in Indianapolis or Illinois, where I grew up.”
After growing up in small-town Gibson City, Illinois, Payne has called Indianapolis home for 23 years. During her time here, she's performed at shows including La Vie, L’Amour (Life, Love) at the 2013 Indy Fringe Festival. In 2015 and 2016, while attending the St Louis Cabaret Conference she reconnected with Yale faculty members Faith Prince and Alex Rybeck, who both played a significant role in The is U.S.
“Alex and Faith are two of the best cabaret collaborators in the country, in my opinion. Alex is a renowned cabaret music director,” said Payne. “His process and ethic is the same. It’s about telling a story and how each story and the patter move that story along. He’s a wonderful collaborator and his arrangements are magical. ”
Payne describes Tony Award-winning Prince as a mentor and coach to her, saying, “I began working with Faith as a performance coach two years ago via Skype. She has taught me that there’s room for everyone – for all artists to share their gifts and that I am enough.”
Friday's show is in collaboration with the League of Women Voters of Indiana and Indianapolis, which is partnering with Payne to further the mission of engaging women in the effort of democracy.
“The show is like a “call-to-action.” If someone feels inspired to get involved in some way, then the League of Women Voters may be a good option,” said Payne. “I like that LWV is non-partisan and that its mission is to educate advocate and ultimately help all Americans be involved in our democracy. “
The location plans to host more major names alongside Payne in the coming months with names such as Kyle Dean Massey, who starred in Wicked and NBC’s Nashville, as well as Mandy Gonzalez from Hamilton, and Broadway's In the Heights.
“I’m hoping that the show will remind people that we have so much in common and that we can start with that versus starting from where we disagree,” says Payne. “We still need everyone’s commitment, ideas and energy to make it a country and home we can be proud of.”
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