Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Kristoffer Lowe: An Outstanding Entertainer on the Rise

If Spring came but once in a century, instead of once a year, or burst forth with the sound of an earthquake, and not in silence, what wonder and expectation there would be in all hearts to behold the miraculous change!
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Today, I offer the next installment of a series of blogs celebrating the upcoming Bistro Awards which will be taking place at The Gotham Comedy Club and also celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Bistro Awards.
Each year The Ira Eaker Special Achievement Award is given to an outstanding entertainer on the rise, and named after Back Stage’s co-founder, co-publisher and first cabaret critic.
When I think of Kristoffer, I think of a man who is still figuring out his career path but who is definitely not defined by his work. We sat down to discuss his past, present, and future yesterday. Today, I celebrate Kristoffer and his body of "worth".
If you ask Kristoffer who Kristoffer Lowe is, he responds: He is sensitive, complex, witty, thoughtful, kind, creative, and TALL!
He is also always hungry.
with Tracy Stark and Stacy Sullivan backstage at the 2014 Cabaret Convention
If someone was on a date with him, the one thing they could do that would turn him off is be "rude to the server".
What does Kristoffer do when he wants a little "nonsense" in his life?
Besides eating Kettle Corn and watching Little House on the Prairie
Everything else to him would probably not be nonsensical. The world is full of nonsense...being an artist.
Kristoffer's favorite children's book was The Little Red Hen!
"TheLittleRedHen" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:TheLittleRedHen.png#mediaviewer/File:TheLittleRedHen.png
The Little Red Hen is an old folk tale, most likely of Russian origin.


The best-known version in the United States is that popularized by Little Golden Books, a series of children's books published for the mass market since the 1940s. The story is applied in teaching children the virtues of the work ethic and personal initiative.(Source: Wikipedia). How Apropos.

Kristoffer started very late as an artist. He didn't start singing until he was seventeen. He auditioned for the high school show choir.
He thought it was fun. He was very shy so it was a good way to hide behind music. He thought he wanted to be a veterinarian and actually pursued that for a few months before he decided he did not want to be part of that. He started on the path of music in college and never looked back. The over riding factor that came with that was the ability for Kristoffer to hide his shyness behind music and text as a way to express himself as opposed to be able to speak out and engage in the world that way. The music was a vehicle for him to be more comfortable.
And here he is, winning a 2015 Bistro Award! I wrote about the snafu that leaked prematurely this years winners in my blog on Stearns Matthews.
with Ricky Ritzel
Kristoffer was just "googling" and assuming that he had not won because he thought the announcement would be coming out in January. It popped up and that's how he found out! Then he found out that it was a PR glitch. He had to sit on it a day until it came out officially. This award means a lot to Kristoffer. He has been here in New York for seventeen years. Kristoffer says nothing "major" has happened for him and that is not for a lack of trying in the theatre world. When he started putting together his first show a year ago, he didn't know what he had or what it would be.He had seen a lot of cabaret and knew what he didn't desire to do. There is never any surefire combo to make it succeed. When he won the Bistro Award, for Kristoffer, it has given him a little more sense of "belonging". It is not  a sense of "I made it". but rather, that the community acknowledges him. He is part of this world now. It is nice to have a "title" for his own "insecurities".The world in general is obsessed with titles. For Kristoffer, it is giving him some peace of mind.
with John Treacy Egan Karen Mason and Klea Blackhurst
He BELONGS in the cabaret community. Hopefully, he will continue to have successes.
Although this is his first award in the cabaret community, it is not his first win. He won the MetroStar Competition. That is a very specific competition as opposed to be awarded for your comprehensive body of worth.
As mentioned earlier, Ira Eaker was the co-founder of Back Stage. He was also one of the first cabaret critics. The publication was established in 1960 in a small office on West 46th Street in Manhattan, producing a print run of 10,000 copies.This award carries with it a lot of history and prestige. He was a very well respected man. This award is special for that. His vision for cabaret AND Back Stage was very specific. It is great that daughter Sherry Eaker is carrying on his legacy and mission. This is a great honor for Kristoffer.
Beyond The Bistro Awards, Kristoffer is going to follow through and present his MetroStar win show at The Metropolitan Room. He is aiming for June although he has not had any meetings about that yet. He has no idea yet what he desires to say or bring to the table as far as a new show is concerned. Usually the Metro Star becomes a debut show for the winner. In the case of Kristoffer, his debut show has already happened. He doesn't know if his next show will be more wacky Kristoffer stories interspersed with the Great American Songbook or something a little more theatrical and unique, he doesn't know yet. The Great American Songbook is the canon of the most important and most
with KT Sullivan and Jeff Harnar
influential American popular songs of the 20th century – principally created for Broadway theatre, musical theatre, and Hollywood musical film in the United States. 
He is still trying to figure out what he's going to do and get the motivation behind it.
I asked Kristoffer if he is absolutely sure that he is doing EXACTLY what he should be doing at this point in his life, his response is that he is not sure. He doesn't know if anyone is absolutely sure if they are doing what they should be doing.
If Kristoffer could change one thing about cabaret, it would be that there would be more opportunities to make money doing it even if it wasn't a great living by many standards. He would love to see more opportunities for gigs. He has heard that there were more opportunities in the seventies and eighties. I can vouch that there were! There were certainly more clubs and certainly more opportunities for gigs. Right now, there is over saturation and it is harder to get those gigs in. There aren't a lot of clubs left. Those are the two things that Kristoffer would like to change: more money and opportunities. In Europe, artists get paid for what they do. We don't do that here very much.

He also realizes that if he had chosen a different path, that would have been a lot easier. There is no way to know that. 
For now, acknowledging that he is "getting on up there", he can say this, he is happier now than he has been in a very long time. It is now just a matter of getting to express himself through music and now, getting recognized for that, is a huge part of that happiness. Just being on a stage, wherever, is a huge part of that for him.
He trained classically but he doesn't bring any of that to cabaret other than just good vocal technique.
Most of his career, he believes, is SELF directed. He admits that he has sat on a couch mostly for the past two years. He had gone through a terrible breakup and he was very depressed. He had no vision of doing anything. He just sat around. His motivation was very self directed. He says, "YOU are the only YOU that YOU have!"
Kristoffer has always kept notebooks with random ideas and story ideas and words and songs he might like to sing somewhere. It sounds very "Oprah", but one night, sitting on his sofa, he pulled out those notebooks and started going through them and he thought, "What am I waiting for? What am I doing?"
Through his own psychotherapy, he began to work through that.They began to really understand that FEAR was the huge barrier. Kristoffer began to figure out what he was afraid of and why he wasn't doing it. He told himself that money was a huge factor. He pulled aside some money and hired director, Lennie Watts.
Kristoffer's opinion of show business is that it has become very diluted. We seem to now embrace "generic" verses"unique". Everything is so commercial now. We kind of approach everything from a "cinematic" approach. We see a show and we kind of get this whole "wash of everything." He is not sure that he sees a lot of specificity any more. Think about Barbra Streisand coming on the scene or Liza Minnelli. We don't seem to embrace that uniqueness anymore. Everything seems to be "factory" created people, albeit, some of them are very good and very serviceable and the talent speaks for itself, but there is nothing unique for casting directors to go for.
There is no one special in Kristoffer's life right now. He has put himself on the market again. It is all a rat race to him.
It always was, but he thinks the older one gets and people are more and more about apps and the computer and it is getting more and more difficult.
If Kristoffer could change ONE THING about cabaret, it would be the perception of cabaret. When he tells people he does a lot of work in the cabaret world now, he sees their eyes kind of resisting rolling back in their heads. He thinks people think of cabaret as some older lady in a beaded gown sitting on a bar stool wearing jewels and singing Stormy Weather. It is no longer that.Cabaret can be very comprehensive and embrace a whole new variety of music. It can be anything you want it to be. However, the general perception and feeling is that it is old fashioned and over indulgent. It is not that way and we need to break that image. If we can achieve that, we can take cabaret into a whole new realm and a whole new space with a whole new respect.
If Kristoffer could change ONE THING about Kristoffer Lowe, it would be his height. "I'm just too damn tall." It makes him stand out at auditions...in a bad way. It is hard for dating. It is bad for doorway clearances.
It is not fun being this tall.
Kristoffer is looking forward to what is around the corner. He hopes to be supporting himself through his singing.
Something tells me he will be! I for one will be cheering him on on March 4th as he walks up to receive his WELL DESERVED Bistro Award!

Thank to ALL mentioned in this blog for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!
With grateful XOXOXs ,
 



 
Check out my site celebrating the legacy of Jerry Herman's Hello, Dolly!

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Please join Richard Skipper in NYC February 25th!. He will be interviewing Lee Roy Reams LIVE ON STAGE to benefit The Spiral Theatre Studio at 300 West 43rd Street, 6th Floor New York, NY 10036 at 8PM!  The evening with Lee Roy Reams will begin with a Wine and Cheese mixer at 7:30 PM, and interview of Lee Roy Reams at 8 PM promptly. Call me if interested. 845-365-0720 $30.00 RESERVATIONS A MUST! Please reserve today!! SEATING IS LIMITED!
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