October 21, 2005

Fiona Apple’s sister stars in NY cabaret revival

By Richard Satran

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York is in the midst of a cabaret
revival this week and rock star Fiona Apple's sister is at
center stage.

Maude Maggart is one of more than 100 cabaret artists
appearing in two events wrapping up this week -- the annual
Cabaret Convention, which moved from Town Hall to the larger
Lincoln Center, and the Broadway Cabaret Festival. Both have
been drawing sellout crowds.

The New York cabaret events are taking place on big stages,
instead of the clubs like Feinstein's and Danny's Skylight Room
in New York and The Gardenia in Los Angeles that define the
music.

"Cabaret music is more of a venue than a type of sound,"
Maggart said in an interview.

It is usually performed in small, intimate settings, with
just a piano player to accompany a singer reviving golden songs
from the past.

While her edgy rock-star sister Fiona Apple, born Fiona
Apple Maggart, is on a tour of big concert halls, Maude plays
the small nightclubs of the cabaret circuit.

Last week, she finished a show of Irving Berlin tunes at
the Algonquin Hotel's Oak Room that drew rave reviews. A New
York Times reviewer called her "singular and arresting" as she
sang Berlin's "Alexander's Rag Time Band" and "Always" --
numbers that were hits more than 80 years ago.

Cabaret is a nostalgic world and some see it as an
endangered species but Maggart has become its glitzy young
star. She landed on the cover of Time Out magazine ahead of
this week's shows and the magazine crowned her "the darling of
the cabaret set" and described her as "straight out of the
flapper era."

The late-blooming Maggart, glamorous in the period lace
gowns she performs in, says she was drawn to cabaret because
she grew up in a Broadway family. Her parents and grandparents
were entertainers on the New York stage.

Maggart, 30, and her sister, grew up singing together in
their New York apartment. Fiona, who is two years younger, was
already a triple-platinum album superstar at 18, while Maude
was studying opera and working with cabaret legend Andrea
Marcovicci. Maude's music debut came nearly a decade after her
sister was already a star.

"We both sort of fell into what we did," Maggart said.
"Fiona was always a brilliant songwriter and things worked for
her immediately. I didn't know what direction to go."

Despite her celebrity status in cabaret, Maggart says she
will not necessarily stay in the genre.

"I'm a kind of 'in the moment' sort of gal," she said.
"Whatever comes my way I'll consider it."