In case you have not heard, the Arden Theatre in Philadelphia is doing a wonderful cabaret series featuring some of Philly’s well-known performers. If you have not had a chance to see one of the performances in the series, I highly recommend it. It is a way that audience members can experience the authentic person behind the performer and learn more about them. I always find that I gain additional respect from an actor after seeing this type of performance in which they tell stories about themselves and feature music that has personal meaning to them. The inaugural season began in December 2015 and the next cabaret in the series is with Krissy Fraelich. Her cabaret is Friday, April 22 and Saturday, April 23, 2016, at 8pm in the Hamilton Family Arts Center.

Krissy Fraelich is a well-known figure in the Philadelphia area. She has been seen in countless productions at the Arden Theatre Company, including Next To Normal and Sunday in the Park with George. Most recently she was seen at the Media Theatre as Mama Rose in Gypsy, and has been seen in many other theatres throughout the Philadelphia region such as Walnut Street Theatre, Theatre Horizon and Eagle Theatre.  I had the opportunity to speak with Fraelich about her cabaret and what audiences can look forward to.

Kelli Curtin: Could you tell me about your cabaret? What’s it about?

Krissy Fraelich: The theme for this cabaret is going to be about my story. Who I am, what my life has been like so far and how I am able to be a mother and an actor. When Terry [Nolen] and Matt [Decker] approached me about doing this type of concert, I was hesitant because the cabaret style is not my forte. However, I decided that this made sense for me, and I am getting a chance to tell my story about how I starting performing when I was eleven, how I met my husband, I get to talk about my three children and how I came from New York City to Philadelphia.

Kelli: Why is the Arden cabaret Series an important addition to the already thriving theatre scene in Philly?

Krissy: Venues like this add an intimacy, and it is great to have something like this in Philadelphia. It gives audience members a chance to see their favorite performers do something different. If a member of the audience likes certain performers, they now have a chance to see them do a performance that has a personal meaning to them. Cabarets allow the audience to see a performer up close and personal and draws the audience into their story. The intimate setting of cabarets help provide a relationship between the performer and the audience, where people really get a chance to see the person behind the performer.

Kelli: I really love the format of these cabarets, as it lets the audience know about the real Krissy Fraelich, and not a character you are portraying. In doing something like this do you find the intimate setting easier or more stressful to work in?

Krissy: Personally, I find it more stressful. It is a venue in which I am raw and have to be me, not a character. It is different because I love that I get to be me, but it also makes me more vulnerable because I have to be open and let people see me and who I am. One of the more difficult tasks when creating a cabaret is that I have to put into words what I want to say, and I have to relive all the emotions I once went through in my life, good and bad. When I chose the songs I wanted to perform, they all needed to mean something and make sense to perform in this style. I chose songs that reminded me of certain pieces of my life. In an intimate setting like this I am out of my comfort zone, and a show like this is hard and challenging because I have to be so raw. That being said, I do get the chance to tell my story, how I became who I am today and form a bond with the audience.

Kelli: What do you like most about performing in a venue like this?

Krissy: I love the space of the Hamilton Arts Center, it allows for an intimate and personal relationship with the audience. It gives me a chance to have a conversation with the audience.

In general, the Arden is my artistic home. I am blessed with the relationship I have with everyone there. I always feel so comfortable at the Arden especially with the audiences who have come to see shows I have been a part of. I am looking forward to having a chance to share my story with people at the Arden.

Kelli: Since the performance is personal for you how do you choose which songs you are performing?

Krissy: I gave tons of thought to what songs I wanted to perform and I knew I needed to have a personal connection to the music. For example, I will be singing the song I sang to my husband on our wedding day, what I sang to rock my kids to sleep and then there will be songs that people have seen me perform on stage such as when I played Diana in Next to Normal and Mama Rose in Gypsy. This is all music I have a personal association with and I wanted to be able to tell my story through this music.

Kelli: Can you give me an idea of what audiences can look forward to in your cabaret?

Krissy: This is my chance to tell my story. I want to share that I am a mother, and I live in the suburbs and I am an actor. I am living proof you can have it all. I made a choice to leave New York City and come back to Philadelphia. I have had a thriving career here, where in NYC people can get lost in the shuffle. I now have three wonderful children, a loving husband, a car and a career, and I am proof you can do all you want to do with your life.

I really want audiences to come out and see me and hear me share my stories. People may learn something new about me. It will be an awesome night that I am looking forward to.

Krissy Fraelich’s cabaret will take the stage Friday, April 22 and Saturday, April 23, 2016, at 8pm in the Arden’s Hamilton Family Arts Center at 62 N. 2nd Street in Old City, Philadelphia.  For more information and tickets visit their website at or call the box office at 215-922-1122. 

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