The cantankerous and endlessly entertaining New York stage legend Elaine Stritch recently passed away. She was arguably the most famous national purveyor of cabaret, a solo theatrical form that requires many talents –– singing, storytelling, and most of all, interacting with a small audience in a highly personal style that balances intimacy and intensity. That’s a difficult trick to pull off. Many technically brilliant vocalists can be poor cabaret performers if they don’t understand how to weave themselves and the spectator into their readings of the song lyrics. Indeed, Stritch had a habit of shouting (and sometimes screeching) her way through a tune, but because she knew how to establish and maintain rapport with a small room, she usually had audiences in her pocket from the opening number.
Fort Worth has its own stellar cabaret performer in Sheran Keyton, a singer and actress who honed her skills through many seasons of starring roles in Jubilee Theatre musicals. Keyton is currently sailing full speed ahead as producer and artistic director for the third season of DVA Productions, her own stage company. She is a vocalist of great power and versatility, and a raconteur with lots of theatrical mileage on her. (That’s a compliment, btw.) She performs her cabaret show “An Evening With Sheran Keyton” 8pm tonight (Fri Aug 15) at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, 1300 Gendy St. Tix are $20. Her piano accompanist and longtime partner in musical crime, Joe Rogers, is his own musical force of nature as a composer and isntrumentalist. Together, they make an evening of must-see entertainment.