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Upcoming | Auditions | FAQs | Past Performers

but were afraid to ask…

What follows is a cohesive, detailed description and analysis of everything involved in doing a Seth’s Talent Showcase. You will be quizzed afterwards. (Just kidding. This isn’t a classroom.)


A showcase is an evening where you get to perform a 10 minute cabaret set. Usually 6 people are performing in an evening; each brings part of the audience, so there usually is a full house. It is great for getting your feet wet in the cabaret world! It is also great for people who never get to perform in the city for their friends here. Or people who haven’t performed in awhile to get a reminder of WHY they’re in this crazy business we call show. It is also good for workshopping a full-length cabaret in pieces. Finally, above all, it is essential for a performer to be comfortable in his/her own skin on stage; cabaret is the best forum for garnering experience while getting to pick songs one has a distinct connection to, regardless of context.


I’m happy to announce we are back in person as of May 2021 at Don’t Tell Mama! I produced 44 lovely virtual showcases from April 2020 to February 2021, and you can watch them on my livestream YouTube channel: here.


Unlike many showcases, you only have to bring FIVE people. That’s right — only FIVE people. Most are 10-12. ALSO, in most showcases you have to PAY the PIANIST b/c the producer keeps the $$. However, since I am the producer and the pianist, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PAY THE PIANIST. You only bring FIVE PEOPLE. That’s it. Also unlike most, I DO NOT make you pay up front. You get the chance to perform, and 20 minutes the day of at the tech to rehearse for ZERO DOLLARS if you get FIVE PEOPLE to come.

Another special thing about the showcase is that I EMCEE it. I ask everyone for quirky fun facts (more on that later), and open and close the show to relieve the pressure of warming up the crowd and leaving them on a bang! I’ve been doing these for 14 years now, and I’d like to think I’m pretty amusing.


The audience should reserve via Don’t Tell Mama, like any normal show there – make sure they know to reserve for Seth’s Talent Show and that that is the name of the show they are seeing so they don’t go into the wrong room. It is very important your audience reserves so that DTM knows how many waiters to staff for the show, but it has nothing to do with me knowing you have 5 people coming. Instead, when the audience arrives, my personal house manager will give them a program, and check them off on the list by your name. At the end of the show, the list is given to me. If you don’t have 5 people, you pay the difference ($20 per person) — so if you get 1 person, you owe $80; 2 people, you owe $60; 3, you owe $40; 4, you owe $20. If you have 5 or more, you pay NOTHING!


An awful lot of people respond that they don’t want to “pay to perform”, and I completely get that. I do NOT consider this you paying to perform. I consider this me helping you to produce your own mini-cabaret set. I keep my showcases as cheap as possible, but the audience coming (or you paying the difference) pays for the following: the midtown venue, the lighting/sound person, the servers, the pianist (me), the producer (also me), the emcee (me, too), the director (me again), the stage manager (sadly me), the house manager/videographer (not me) and video editor (surprise: it’s me). For all of these services at the highest of quality, you are getting a bargain. So don’t think of it as “pay to play” think of it as investing in yourself. This is a contract between you and me, with the deal clearly spelled out. But you don’t have to take my word for the experience, as there are over 3,000 singers who have participated, and you probably know one!


$20 cover + $20 minimum (which must include 2 drinks). Same for any normal cabaret show. The cover/drinks are CASH ONLY. I regret that the drinks are so expensive, but there is nothing I can do about it. Please make your audience aware that not paying the full check and not leaving a tip is UNACCEPTABLE. For your convenience, I have asked for a price list, so that your audience can be aware of what they’re going to owe: sodas, juices $6.50, poland spring/pelingrino bottled water $6.50; wines $11; beers $9/10; scotch $11-$15; vodka $11-$15; gin $11-$15; tequila $11-$15; cocktails $11-$15. Please note that as of spring 2022, if audiences get drinks under $10, they will either have to pay a total of $20 for them anyway or order food, as well.


Yes. They just cannot drink alcohol, but there is no age restriction.


ONE MONTH before. If you cancel after the ONE MONTH, NO MATTER THE REASON (illness, family emergency, etc), you have to either: 1. Find someone to take your place who will be accountable for the audience members OR 2. Pay me an $80 cancellation fee. *However, post-pandemic, I will allow anyone who is sick to earn back their money in a future show given that sick people are not allowed to enter the building.*

Please take the contract seriously, as Don’t Tell Mama takes its contract with me seriously! And also keep in mind that you are getting a great deal. Most showcases are far more expensive, and I promise mine are super fun!!!!! (and warrant a lot of!!!)


It is important you have your friends make reservations with the club so they know how many people to expect. The club likes them to be doubly aware that it’s cash only and the room opens at 6:15 so not everyone shows up at 7:05 with only credit cards. They do NOT have to tell the club they are there to see you. That is separate. My house manager will check in your audience the night of. (I know I reiterated this twice, but someone asks every week, so it’s justified redundancy!)


I am happy to create the set for you in a private session, or recommend songs in a repertoire coaching session. However, if you are self-sufficient, that is also cool. I HIGHLY suggest that people do song sets. The two songs should contrast and complement each other, while coming together to form some sort of theme or story…

Some previous choices: “Isn’t This Better” into “Bring on the Men” –> Soft, sad ballad about breaking up into a fun, fierce uptempo about sleeping around as a consequence.

“Times Like This” into “A Trip to the Library” –> Contemplative, comic ballad about being alone and loving one’s dog into uptempo about finding true love at the library.

Here’s a well thought out set by Nadia Hudson. And here’s Josh Meredith in a full set to add a guy’s perspective: here.


Patter ties the songs together. I ask that everyone come up with some patter b/c this makes the set more like a story. You only patter between the songs. I have confirmed from many audience members, that this makes the audience enjoy the show more, feel more connected to the performer, etc. Otherwise it becomes more of a recital, and less like a cabaret or theatre, in general. The point of performing is to tell a story, and get the audience to connect and emote!

Good patter is succinct, but cute and funny and also un-googlable. Do not give a history lesson on the song – the program will tell the audience where it’s from, and they can google it later if they have interest. Also, it is not a strong choice to mention that you are singing or mention the words “song” or “cabaret.” Don’t say “that last song makes me…” just start after the ellipse. It is important to be YOURSELF — to show your personality. I am happy to coach patter, as well as songs.

Thus, the patter connects the songs, shows the theme w/o overtly saying it, and also could include a funny anecdote or two. Playing to the audience is key b/c it’s an intimate space. Treating the audience like your best friends is great, b/c then they’ll feel connected and moved, etc.


One week before the show, I’ll email out to collect songs, facts and video requests. Examples of quirky fun facts, to be used as introductions for the performers, are as follows:

Our next performer:
has an odd fear of letting go of helium balloons
loves to watch Spongebob Squarepants
AND no one has ever seen her real hair color since she was 9
Please welcome……..

The fun facts make for a very casual, relaxing ambiance. It also gives the audience more chances to laugh and enjoy themselves. I ask for 5-6 in THIRD PERSON, and I’ll pick the funniest ones, and riff a little (or a lot) as well…


*The tech rehearsal is usually the day of the show, 4-6. Post-pandemic, I will be giving everyone 20 minute slots when they can rehearse their songs twice and do a quick coaching.* It is important to use levels for your set — it’s better to not do the same position for songs twice in a row — there’s a stool, there’s a piano — there are different areas of the stage — it is fine to move around during an uptempo, but remember you’re going to have to watch out for the mic cord, all of these issues will be addressed at tech.

We will no longer run the bow, but it’s very easy. I thank people before I do my last song. I do the last song — everyone comes back out; I announce your name, one at a time, then my name. Group bow… and OFF! And while I’m at the off point, it is imperative that you LEAVE THE ROOM after the show and not stay talking to your guests, so they’ll pay and leave faster. DO NOT STAY IN THE ROOM AFTER THE SHOW.


Dress nice, but not super nice. Don’t be in ripped, schleppy jeans, but you don’t have to wear a prom dress, either. Overall be comfortable!


Please invite everyone you know, but also feel free to invite agents and casting directors. INDUSTRY people do NOT have to pay cover OR have drinks. If they DO have drinks, they have to pay for them, but there is no minimum for industry folk. (You can make the choice to pay for your own industry person’s drinks, as well.) Just put their names on the industry list at the tech. (Industry people only includes agents, casting directors and producers.)

I only use performers that I know or know people I know who can vouch for them, so the quality of the showcases are very good.


*Post-pandemic I will be asking people to email me PDFs of sheet music by the Friday before the show. I will print everything out so there will be less contact between us.*


If you feel like having only 20 minutes the day of the show is frazzled and harried, I am always available for private coachings at my normal rate. I am happy to coach the songs, coach the patter, find material, record the accompaniment for rehearsal purposes, and of course run through the songs as many times as you like.


Like I’ve mentioned, the showcases have gotten great responses from participants AND audience. The booking director at Don’t Tell Mama frequently comes to them, and says they are quite enjoyable. He’s also remarked on the incredible talent level. So, in conclusion, I think that Seth’s Talent Showcase is a win-win-win situation for everyone involved.


Speaking of audience – please make sure your audience understands it is improper to talk or text during the show. Also, please make sure your audience brings enough cash to cover the cover and the drinks and the tip. Please make sure your audience is aware they are expected to tip. You would think these things should go without saying, but I have found that audiences not accustomed to attending cabaret do not realize them, and it is really unconscionably rude and disrespectful to everyone involved when they misbehave. ALSO, it is important that your audience comes ON TIME, preferably early. Feel free to tell your audience the show starts at 6:30 or 6:45. Late comers force the show to start late, and also disrupt the performances and sometimes the video taping.


For those of you who have done a regular set, I offer extended sets – that is you sing 4 songs and bring 10 people (and owe at most $200). I only open this up to people who have gone through showcases before or come with a very solid recommendation, b/c if someone flakes, I am out $200. The extended sets are a great way to workshop a full show, as well as a great evening for serious industry invitation.


In addition included in the price, I will provide you with a video of your set – edited and ready to upload on the YouTube! The videos are recorded in HD 1080p. Please note that since the video is included and inexpensive, sometimes it is not perfect. Servers may get in the way, the audience may talk during your set (even though I’ve asked the performers to remind them they shouldn’t) and the camera might get fuzzy if the view gets disrupted. Unfortunately, there is absolutely nothing I can do about these situations, as that is what happens when you try to film a cabaret. After the show if you purchase the video, you will receive an MP4 file via I do not give you a DVD or post it for you. Please note the files are rather large, and you ideally should download them on a computer and then back them up to a separate hard drive.


*POST PANDEMIC: THIS FEE HAS BEEN SUSPENDED FOR NOW.* For those who bring fewer than 50% of their requirement, if, and only if, the club minimum is not met, those people, and only those people, will split the $$ owed to the club. Unfortunately, after losing $$ a few times, I had to add this new policy. However, if you bring 4 people for the regular sets, or the cast brings over 15 in total, it is moot. This happens 99.5% of the time. And to keep things in perspective, if ZERO people show up (which has NEVER happened even in blizzards), the 6 performers only owe an additional $40 each. *While I’m talking about the club, here are its safety protocols and rules:

1. DON’T TELL MAMA asks all parties involved to provide their email addresses and telephone numbers for contact tracing purposes due to COVID-19.

2. All parties involved will be verbally asked about their health condition: whether they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, have traveled outside of NYS within the last twenty-eight (28) days or are exhibiting symptoms that coincide with COVID-19. DON’T TELL MAMA expressly reserves the right to cancel and postpone a performance if someone on the team exhibits any of the above conditions.

3. The said PERFORMER(S) understand and agree that the club will meet reasonable and effective measures as imposed by the state of New York and will immediately communicate with DON’T TELL MAMA if any health protocols standards are not reasonably being met during any time of their performance.

4. By signing this contract, you are waiving any liability from DON’T TELL MAMA (DTM PB Corp.) in the event you test positive with COVID-19 and that you understand the risks associated with working in a limited social distant setting.

5. If you and anyone on your team experience symptoms up to and no longer than twenty-eight (28) days from the presentation date, you are required to contact Sidney Myer:

6. Any changes succumbed to by the executive order in regards to the COVID pandemic and operations of NYC restaurants must override and follow any policies amended as dictated on the date of signing your agreement. Your Booking Manager will inform you as soon as directives by the state are given to DON’T TELL MAMA.


As Benjamin Franklin once said: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Please pick your songs before the week of. Please learn your lyrics well enough that you don’t go up on them. It is embarrassing to you, and to me if you do. So if you need more rehearsal, please don’t be cheap and hire me for a private session. If you do go up, please do not turn to me and act like it – just start from wherever you want, and I will jump to that point.

Finally, to avoid owing me money, you should make sure you have 5 people coming — that means you should try to confirm 10 b/c 50% flake! And if 10 come, then you get on the gold star list, which is what I use to fill last minute, pre-paid for slots. Start marketing the show NOW. Do not wait to the week before. If you think there’s any chance you won’t have 5 people, please bring cash or be prepared to Venmo before you leave the building so I don’t have to chase you don’t for the next few weeks.


Please don’t hesitate to ask. Email me at: