Cabaret Artist Victor Janusz tells “Obama Tales” and reveals his own “(Nordstrom) Mannequin Blues” in HANDS SOLO: Pianoman with six performances at ACT’s Central Heating Lab running through July 20th. Get your tickets here.
ED: When did you know you wanted to become a professional musician?
VJ: I started out as a professional actor in NYC when I was 20, and started getting busy with music –playing piano in Greenwich Village, which didn’t pay much but I started getting more into it.
I was always discouraged when I was a kid –and this is a part of the show— because I didn’t like theory, reading, or lessons at all. I played piano by ear. Much later I was encouraged big-time by jazz musicians, cabaret folk, and others who were more “instinctual” with it.
ED: Tell us a bit about the show?
VJ: It is about me opening up and telling hilarious and heartfelt stories through song. This new one-man show includes many familiar songs, five of my original pieces and a dozen stories with corresponding music
ED: Is it hard to put so much of your life story into your music then perform is in front of strangers?
VJ: No. I see it as a real gift from the heart. Cabaret legend Julie Wilson taught me (at Yale Univ. Cabaret Workshop) that solo-shows give you an opportunity to “Perform yourself –on purpose”. It means digging deep and offering the most truthful aspect of a song or story from your life to an audience.
ED: What is your favorite part of the show?
VJ: The Wedding Section (I have played for 168 weddings to date –I count them!) I combine two of my most requested “Wedding Songs” into one medley –two songs with the very same title written 36 years apart! “FOR ALL WE KNOW” x 2!
ED: What is your favorite song?
VJ: “Without A Song” by Billy Rose/Eliscu/Youmans (1929) –and it is the very beginning of the show….. (I’ve loved it since I was a little boy)
ED: If you could collaborate with any musician/vocalist who would it be and what would you perform?
VJ: I love Duffy Bishop (who I heard just got nominated for a Grammy in the BLUES category!) We have done a couple concerts together. She has the biggest voice and heart of anyone on the planet –and makes me “step up” in a way no one else ever has! She taught me some cool songs one of which “SHOULD I EVER LOVE AGAIN?” It is on my new album coming out in late August…Facebook Page: “Victor Janusz BAND New CD” I really wanna sing my Holiday tune THE FRUITCAKE BLUES with her!