Next Big Things: Toast of Cabaret

Tom Sharah and Elizabeth Cousemacker

Sydneysiders Tom Sharah and Elizabeth Cousemacker are the toast of the cabaret world after taking out the Cabaret Showcase on Sunday night at The Basement.

The judges, including David Campbell and Phil Scott, couldn’t determine an outright winner and for the first time in the Showcase’s history, declared a tie.

The Grand Final at The Basement on Sunday night proved the Cabaret Showcase concept has reached the heights of the Sydney Cabaret Convention, which it essentially replaced.

Opened with a brilliant performance by last year’s winner Sheridan Hardbridge, the marathon Grand Final featured performances from special guests such as James Millar and Trevor Ashley, who brought the house down with his Liza Minnelli ‘tribute’.

This annual event produced by Your Management, is the chance for aspiring cabaret and musical theatre talents to showcase their abilities in front of an audience and before judges including Australia’s leading entertainers and entertainment industry professionals.

This year’s competition saw over 50 performers take to the stage and judges have praised the incredible level of talent that they have seen.

The 12 finalists this year were from Sydney Libby Wood, Blake Erickson, Chris Scalzo, Sarah Blackstone, Elizabeth Cousemacker, Katie McKee, Kate Parry, Stephanie Morrison, Tom Sharah and Sophie Webb and from Melbourne Joel Bow and Sophia Katos.

The Showcase has built a reputation for the high standard of its performers and as a springboard onto Australia’s professional theatrical stages. Past winners include James Millar, Nick Christo and Elenoa Rokobaro.

Last year’s winner Sheridan Harbridge was a standout, her “commanding presence”, as the Sydney Morning Herald described it, won her the annual event. The prize included a spot at The 2009 Adelaide Cabaret Festival, one of the largest and most prestigious cabaret festivals in the world.

Harbridge said of her win: “The Sydney Showcase was one of the best things I’ve done. Not only did I win an amazing prize but it was also how I got to understudy the role of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady [Opera Australia]. One of the judges saw me perform and offered me the part.”

Prizes this year include a place in the 2010 Adelaide Cabaret Festival line-up including airfares and accommodation, a Blueprint Studios photographic package, a platinum listing on AT2 casting directory, an appearance at Show Queen and more.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival Artistic Director, legendary Australian singer/actor David Campbell said: “We’re thrilled to be associated with the Annual Cabaret Showcase again this year, and look forward to discovering ‘the next big thing’ on the Australian cabaret scene.”

Sunday’s final was hosted by Hayden Tee and Sheridan Hardbridge.

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