December 15, 2017
Indianapolis Monthly Magazine named Gail Payne "Best Cabaret Act" in its December 2017 "Best of Indy" issue, which includes the editors' favorites in categories of "Food & Drink," "Arts & Culture," "Shopping & Style," and "Health & Beauty."
An acclaimed cabaret performer from Indianapolis, Payne performed her most recent show, "This Is U.S.: We Hold These Tunes to Be Self-Evident," as the only local performer in the 2017 season of Indy's The Cabaret. She also made her debut with the show this year in renowned venues in Chicago's Davenport's and New York City's Feinstein's 54Below. Inspired by politics and the 2016 Presidential election, Payne created and first performed "This Is U.S." in St. Louis just before the election.
Accompanied by renowned New York musical director Alex Rybeck with direction by Tony-Award-winner Faith Prince, Payne has carefully curated an evening of music and stories that explores how she feels about being American. Avoiding sap and over-sentimentality, Payne offers a smart and sophisticated perspective with a glimpse into what influenced her growing up in rural Illinois, living in urban Indianapolis, and traveling the world. Selections range from Guthrie to Gershwin, Berlin to Dixie Chicks, "This Land is Your Land" to Mellencamp's "Small Town" and Randy Newman's "Political Science". Alex Rybeck accompanies on piano with his masterful arrangements for guitar and ukulele played by Sean Harkness.
"Given where we are today, these songs remind us of what it means to be American," said Payne. Without being partisan, music allows us to reflect on where we've been and who we are -- the beautiful and ugly; the funny and infuriating; and everything in between. It's about our unwavering hope, which is a message that's needed today."
"Gail Payne's show combined honesty, deep thought, humor and irony with great vocals and masterful musical arrangements for a show that was anything but cliché," said Forsell. "It's a show worthy of being seen on a national scale," said Shannon Forsell, CEO and Artistic Director for The Cabaret in Indianapolis.
Gail has had extensive national study in the art of cabaret performance. She was invited to participate in the prestigious, audition-only, International Cabaret Conference at Yale University in 2012. She was also invited to study in the acclaimed St. Louis Cabaret Conference in 2015 and 2016 where she studied with such prestigious performers, composers and musicians as Faith Prince, Jason Robert Brown, Christine Ebersole, Marilyn Maye, Karen Mason, and Ann Hampton Calloway.
Gail is currently performing in the Phoenix Theatre's "A Very Phoenix Xmas: Up to Snow Good" through December 23.
For more information or to book Gail Payne for your venue or private event, visit www.gailpayne.com or follow her @GailPayneSings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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