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Gaslight Cabaret Festival returns, bringing musical stylings from Scott Joplin to Marilyn Monroe

Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio
Marissa Mulder and Jon Weber

The spring season of the Gaslight Cabaret Festival has returned, featuring 12 artists and 22 performances over the course of nine weekends. Two performers with a long, friendly history on the New York cabaret scene joined “St. Louis on the Air” contributor Steve Potter to discuss their performances this weekend.

Marissa Mulder, a cabaret singer, will perform a tribute to Marilyn Monroe in a variety of styles. She said she drew inspiration to do so from a photograph.

“There was just something about her eyes in the photograph that registered with me,” Mulder said.

Her performance is unusual in that the music is from all over the place…and different from the style you might normally see in a cabaret club.

“I’ll be singing songs from Alanis Morissette to George Gershwin to Noel Coward to Nine Inch Nails to Tom Waits,” Mulder said. “It is a musical journey about Marilyn’s life. All of the spoken-word in the show are Marilyn’s words from diaries, recipes, hotel stationery. It is chronicling her inner feelings from joy to sadness.”

Mulder initially met Jon Weber, the musical director of her show as well as a jazz pianist and fellow performer in the festival, when she moved to New York City in 2007. They collaborated on a live recording called “Tom…in his words,” which featured the music of Tom Waits. Mulder was also invited to be a guest on the NPR show “Piano Jazz,” which Weber hosts.

The world of cabaret in New York is pretty small, so Mulder and Weber have become friends.

Weber’s show in the festival is titled “From Joplin to Jarrett: 100 Years of Piano Jazz” and covers a wide variety of musical styles.

“It starts with Scott Joplin and quickly evolves through the history of jazz piano, whom evolves into whom, from Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson, Fats Waller, et al, all the way up to Keith Jarrett.”

Listen to the two discuss their careers and hear selections of their music here:

Related Events

What: Gaslight Cabaret Festival Presents Marissa Mulder in "Fragments of Marilyn"
When: March 18 and 19 at 8:00 p.m.
Where: Gaslight Theater, 358 N. Boyle Ave., St. Louis, MO 63108
More information.

What: Gaslight Cabaret Festival Presents Jon Weber in "From Joplin to Jarrett: 100 Years of Piano Jazz"
When: Sunday, March 20 at 3:00 p.m.
Where: Gaslight Theater, 358 N. Boyle Ave., St. Louis, MO 63108
More information.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region. 

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Kelly Moffitt joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2015 as an online producer for St. Louis Public Radio's talk shows St. Louis on the Air.