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Blue Strawberry Will Kick Off 2020 With 3 Straight Nights Of Cabaret

Dionna Raedeke (at left), Beverly Brennan (center) and Robert Breig joined Friday's show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis cabaret scene got a boost this fall with the debut of the Blue Strawberry, a dining and show destination on the eastern edge of the Central West End. A quick glance at the venue’s music calendar reveals a steady parade of performers — continuing on into the new year.

And during the first weekend of 2020, New York-based singer/songwriter Rick Jensen will be collaborating with local cabaret performers, together presenting three consecutive evenings of storytelling and song.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske got a preview from cabaret artists Beverly Brennan, Robert Breig and Dionna Raedeke.

Each of them have become active in the cabaret scene just in fairly recent years, but they all agreed there’s something especially meaningful and intimate about this form of show business.

“Sometimes you will have a lyric and you will point to someone specific [in the audience],” Raedeke said, “and you will direct it right to them, and there’s this really strong connection. And once you’ve done that and had that in a space, there’s no going back.” 

For Breig, an annual cabaret conference held in St. Louis about a decade ago drew him to cabaret after a lifetime of singing.

“It just changed my life. It changed my way of singing, ever since I took that conference and just got this brand-new perspective,” he said.

When Fenske asked Brennan to clarify what exactly cabaret is for those unfamiliar, the singer noted that it’s a distinctive mix of genres.

“I think it can include jazz, and it can include musical theater,” she said. “The difference is, it’s sort of a conversation with the audience.”

“I’m a theater fan,” Brennan added. “But if you don't want to go the Fox or someplace and see a great big show, and you feel like you would like to connect with someone and get to know someone and experience the music that they love … to me it’s very rewarding as an audience member.”

Related Events
What: Three nights of cabaret ("With A Little Help From My Friends," "A Night With Day" and "Making Every Moment Count: The Music Of Peter Allen")
When: 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Jan. 2, 3 and 4, 2019
Where: Blue Strawberry (364 N. Boyle Ave., St. Louis, MO 63108)

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Tonina Saputo. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.

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Evie was a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.