Newtonville singer aims to bring cabaret back into the spotlight

Singer/songwriter Linda Marks and friends will present “Heart to Heart,”  a concert of cabaret-style music, on Sunday afternoon at the Amazing Things space in Framingham.
Rob Kendall
Singer/songwriter Linda Marks and friends will present “Heart to Heart,” a concert of cabaret-style music, on Sunday afternoon at the Amazing Things space in Framingham.

Linda Marks is on a mission: to make cabaret singing hot again.

But she isn’t in this alone. Marks, in the midst of moving from Newton to Waltham, is a member of the Boston Association of Cabaret Artists, as is Bonnie MacLeod. Together, the two women, joined by several band members and one of Marks’ earliest songwriting partners, will perform “Heart to Heart,” featuring cabaret-style music, at the Amazing Things Arts Center in Framingham on Sunday.

The hearts in the concert’s title are not merely Valentine’s Day icons. “Heart” is a leading theme in Marks’ life, both in her musical world and in her work as a mind-body psychotherapist.


“As a therapist, I specialize in the relationship of the emotional heart to the physical heart,” she said. “And as a singer, everything I sing and write is from the heart to the heart.”

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Marks said her earliest memories are of toddling to the piano to play songs by ear. Her father dismissed his young daughter’s talents, saying, as Marks recalls, that “music is a waste of a good mind,” but her mother supported her efforts and enrolled her in a program for unusually talented preschoolers at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge. Marks wrote and performed the graduation song for her eighth-grade class; as an undergraduate at Yale, she cofounded the women’s a cappella group Something Extra, which endures to this day.

“The cabaret world is a good fit for me,” Marks said, “because cabaret music focuses on the relationship of the singer to the audience. Many cabaret singers choose their music from the Great American Songbook, but really a cabaret singer can choose to sing anything, and that works well for me because I don’t really fit into a box. I like to sing blues, Broadway, jazz — Broadway to Bachrach.”

Marks also likes to perform her own songs, some of which she wrote with longtime collaborator Lisa Wexler, who will join her for some numbers at this weekend’s Amazing Things concert.

“Building the musical community for artists of all genres has always been a huge part of my personal mission,” Marks said, but it is challenging, in part because of evolving technology. “When I started out as a musician in the early 1980s, everything was physical. You cut an actual tape; you performed at live venues. Now musicians record CDs and find their audience through YouTube or the Internet. Music has become a commodity. But I still believe that live music is where the juice is at, and real performing happens in the connection between the musicians and the audience.”


The connection among artists is important as well, Marks said, and she is actively engaged in fostering those professional and artistic links through her work with the Boston Association of Cabaret Artists, and with a salon space that she plans to set up in her new home in Waltham by early next year.

Marks, MacLeod, and friends will perform “Heart to Heart” at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Amazing Things space at 160 Hollis St. in downtown Framingham. Tickets are $18, $17 for students and seniors, $15 for members, and $9 for children under 12. To order tickets or for more information, call 508-405-2787 or go to www.amazingthings.org.

SHOW TUNES: Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston presents a tribute to iconic songwriting team Rodgers & Hammerstein with “A Grand Night for Singing” on Saturday and Sunday in Waltham.

Featuring Broadway classics from “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’ ” to “Some Enchanted Evening,” “A Grand Night for Singing” is an intimate revue featuring more than 30 of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s greatest hits. A six-piece orchestra will accompany the five-member cast through tunes from shows such as “Carousel,” “Oklahoma!,” “The King and I,” and “South Pacific.”

The performances take place Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Waltham High School’s Robinson Theatre, 617 Lexington St. Tickets range from $35 to $63 and can be purchased at www.reaglemusictheatre.com, by calling 781-891-5600, or at the box office.


DECEPTIVE DEPTH: Francesca Anderson Fine Art is hosting “Trompe L’Oeil, A Major Show’’ through Nov. 2 at its gallery, 56 Adams St. in Lexington.

The exhibition’s title means “trick of the eye,” and refers to an art technique that creates the optical illusion of three dimensions. The show features nearly two dozen artists from around the country offering works of still life, landscape, and sculpture. For hours and more information, go to www.fafineart.com or e-mail francesca@portraitsnorth.com.

SCOTTISH SOUNDS: Boston-based fiddler Katie McNally performs tunes from the Scottish and Cape Breton traditions in collaboration with genre-bending pianist Neil Pearlman at Gore Place in Waltham next Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

McNally has won numerous titles in national and regional Scottish fiddle contests. Her evocative and melodic style, anchored by Pearlman’s rhythmically driving piano accompaniment, create a distinctive take on traditional music.

Tickets are $10, or $8 for children ages 5-12 and members of the historic property at 52 Gore St. To reserve a seat, call 781-894-2798, ext. 12.

ART FOR ANIMALS: The new exhibition “Animal Art” at the Belmont Gallery of Art is a juried art show featuring depictions of animals in a range of media, including painting, photography, collage, drawing, and sculpture.

Ten percent of sales from the show will support the MSPCA/Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston. It is running through Oct. 17 at the gallery, on the third floor of the Homer Municipal Building, 19 Moore St. The gallery is open Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m.

Send ideas to nancyswest@ gmail.com.