With their warmth, wit, and winning sophistication, Eric Comstock and Barbara Fasano have taken the New York cabaret scene by storm. Stephen Holden of The New York Times has written of them, “Mr. Comstock and Ms. Fasano are turning the neighborhood into a hotbed of pleasure."
On Thursday, October 21, the award-winning husband-and-wife team return to the Café Sabarsky, to delight audiences with their take on the European and American songbooks.
Eric and Barbara took some time to answer our questions about what inspires them, and what it is like working with your spouse.
Question 1: You are often praised for the way that you interpret the music that you perform. How much acting goes into one of your performances?
Barbara Fasano: I definitely treat songs as monologues—stories that are told from a very specific point of view or emotional place. The trick is to combine that sensibility with a musician's sense of time and rhythm, and to let the music support the emotion so that it all comes together as united expression.
Eric Comstock: My inspiration as an actor in song, other than Barbara, is Frank Sinatra. At his best, he utterly believed the words he was singing. The American songbook was very personal to him, and he sang the best of those songs as if he had written them.
Q2: How did you come to start performing together? Was it before or after you started seeing each other romantically?
BF: It was totally by accident. Eric had a gig out of town and I went with him. The producer also knew my work and asked if we could do a few things together. We pulled it together quickly, it was really fun, and the audience loved it. So we figured we were on to something.
Q3: As a married couple, what is the most rewarding thing about working together?
EC: Traveling together for work is fantastic. We've been so lucky—trips to Europe, across the country, to beautiful places. The work is satisfying, and then we get to share the travel, too. It’s really an embarrassment of riches.
Q4: What do you think you’d be doing professionally if you weren’t performing cabaret?
EC: My first love was politics. I might have run for office.
BF: I would love to have been a writer. Two of my favorite current writers are Jhumpa Lahiri and Mary Karr, and what they're able to do with language is amazing to me.
Q5: What sort of a program have you put together for us?
EC: As always, we'll be mixing it up, with a few surprises. Café Sabarsky is the most elegant room in New York, and we look forward to bringing in a few new songs—the range of the European songbook contrasts so nicely with its American counterpart. But we like to keep a sense of fun, too, and make it a wonderful party.
Eric Comstock and Barbara Fasano will perform Thursday, October 21 at 9 p.m., preceded by a prix-fixe dinner at 7 p.m.
Ticket price is $110 (dinner $65, performance $45; purchased together). Performance and dinner are not sold separately. Tickets are nonrefundable.
This performance has sold out. You may place yourself on the waiting list by sending an e-mail with your name, telephone number, and the number of tickets you would like to request to [email protected].
Performance will take place in Café Sabarsky at the Neue Galerie New York
1048 Fifth Avenue at 86th Street
New York, NY 10028
Piano courtesy of Yahama.