Emily Padgett and Josh Young
Emily Padgett and Josh Young

Tony Award nominee Josh Young and his wife, Emily Padgett, will be honoring Andrew Lloyd Webber during a taped performance hosted by Cabaret 313.

Josh Young, a Tony Award nominee, often performs in cabaret style on prestigious stages. He sometimes appears in cabaret shows with his wife, Emily Padgett, also with Broadway credits, and he regularly teaches cabaret entertainment at Oakland University in Rochester.

Although the couple’s live performances have been sidelined during the pandemic, Young and Padgett will be onstage at the Berman Center for the Performing Arts in West Bloomfield, joined by pianist Frank Pitts, to give the sense of a live show although there will not be a live audience.

The performance, hosted by Cabaret 313, will be taped and presented online at 8 p.m. Friday, April 30.

“We’re doing an evening of Andrew Lloyd Webber songs with stories of how his music has affected my career and my life and how it has affected my wife’s career as well. 

“We go from my first interaction with Andrew Lloyd Webber music, which was when I was working at the Stratford Festival in the musical Evita, and move into the next year, when the festival cast me in Jesus Christ Superstar, which eventually became my debut on Broadway. Emily’s first big Webber show was Cats, and she will be debuting a medley of Cats songs.”

Although neither appeared in Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, they will be presenting the song “All I Ask of You,” which continues its popularity apart from the production. Other Webber shows providing plentiful material include School of Rock, Sunset Boulevard and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. 

“We talk a bit about backstage fun and insight,” Young explained about the kinds of behind-the-scenes experiences of a performance. “I was working for Andrew and did well by him, but he wouldn’t cast me in Phantom of the Opera because they have different height restrictions. [Audiences] wouldn’t know about the industry without these stories.”

Teaching Cabaret

Young, who grew up in Philadelphia and attended synagogue services, graduated in theater studies from Syracuse University and soon toured with Les Misérables, which brought him to the Fisher Theatre.

Besides accepting Broadway roles, Young has worked in regional theaters including the La Jolla Playhouse, Baltimore Center Stage and North Carolina Theatre. He is the cofounder of “Cutting-Edge Composers,” a concert series on broadwayworld.com to spotlight young theater songwriters.“If I appreciate music, I want to sing it,” Young said. “All the songs that we’ve chosen for Cabaret 313 are songs that we appreciate and enjoy performing.”

Young, assistant professor of theater at Oakland U. since 2019, uses his international stage background to establish curriculum as he teaches Advance Song Analysis, Acting the Song and Professional Practices as well as Constructing the Cabaret: Conception to Concert.

“Performing has brought fulfillment, but my long goal was to settle down with a family,” said Young, 40, whose time in Michigan has included celebrating the birth of two children, ages 2 years and 4 months. “Teaching has given me stability. 

“Because Oakland is a research university, it gives me the ability to still perform. We actually have to keep working in our industry so we have the best of both worlds.”

Although the couple had to cancel live performances with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra because of pandemic closures, they look forward to performing with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in March 2022, when they will feature songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein.

“We actually ended up being one of the only universities that taught in person,” said Young, who has traveled to Jerusalem to portray Shlomo Carlebach in Soul Doctor. “I used the Meadow Brook Theatre’s loading dock, exhaust fans and video and audio technology to have students tape live while following COVID restrictions. Most universities did one-on-one Zoom [programming].”

As Young and Padgett present their Webber programming, he will be demonstrating a critical lesson about cabaret. 

“The most important thing is that there’s some kind of through line,” he explained. “It doesn’t have to be so much a story as long as there’s some kind of theme. Whatever connects the songs also has to be engaging with some kind of humor.” 

Details

The Josh Young and Emily Padgett performance will be shown at 8 p.m. Friday, April 30. To purchase pay-what-you-can tickets, go to Cabaret313.org and then receive a private link to the livestream. Suggested prices: $15-$40.

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Suzanne Chessler’s writing-editing career has spanned many years, and her articles have been featured in secular and religious publications across the state and around the country. There was a period of time when she maintained three regular columns in three different publications – one appearing weekly to spotlight metro volunteers, another appearing weekly to profile stage enthusiasts in community theater and a third appearing bimonthly to showcase upcoming arts programs. Besides doing general reporting, she has had continuing assignments involving health, monetary subjects and crime. Her award-winning work builds on majors in English-speech and journalism earned at Wayne State University, where instructors also were writers-editors on Detroit’s daily newspapers.