There are a lot of reasons to go see Sharron Matthews perform. She’s a great singer. She has a performance resume as long as your arm on the biggest stages in Toronto and around the world. You remember her as the Joan, the Secretary, in the movie Mean Girls. She is the Canadian pioneer of cabaret performance and has traveled the country and the world doing it.
These are all perfectly valid reasons to attend a Matthews’ performance, but here’s another. She’s singing about you.
Matthews brings her award-winning cabaret show, “Girl Crush,” to the Rose Studio Theatre on February 13th and 14th. The show was recently named Best Cabaret Performance of 2017 by Broadway World.
In the show, Matthews sings songs popularized by others. She weaves the re-imagined music of well-known artists including Kim Carnes, The Police, Blondie, Rick Springfield, Beyoncé and Cyndi Lauper. Make no mistake though, when she sings them they are to, for and about the audience.
“It’s intimate without being intrusive,” says Matthews. “I get to watch women in the audience nod their heads in agreement while their husbands hide their eyes.”
This is what makes a Sharron Matthews performance a singular experience. It’s not a concert exactly. Sharon sings and tells stories about herself and somehow manages to reveal the audience to themselves, with song and dance while making it a celebration. Matthews’ performance style has been honed with years of practice, first on any stage that would have her, eventually on bigger stages in Toronto and then around the world via her success at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
“You can’t help but gain confidence by making it through Edinburgh,” Matthews laughs. “It’s a crazy environment. You don’t know if there’s gonna be a drunk, a fire alarm or an empty room. On your best day, the Scottish audience doesn’t give you much.”
“Girl Crush” comes from Matthews’ desire to find a way to tell a more concise story through cabaret.
“I was on the beach one day,” she remembers, “and I was wearing this new bathing suit.”
Matthews has fought with weight issues for her entire life. As a performer too, the pressure to control how one looks found her always thinking negative thoughts about herself.
“But I had this moment,” Matthews continues, “where I thought, what if this is the way I am and that’s just fine?”
Matthews immediately began to write about this revelation. She wrote a blog that asked, ‘what if my happiness looks different then yours—what if this is the way we all are and that’s okay?’ That blog post has now been viewed more than 30,000 times. And it’s the idea that inspired “Girl Crush.”
“People wrote me from all over the world, men and women” says Matthews. “I had to put it inside a show.”
She traces her antipathy toward her physical self to its roots and then takes the audience on an actual musical journey to her revelation on the beach.
“Everyone in the room gets a chance to acknowledge who they are,” adds Matthews, “and not only is it just fine, it’s awesome!”
Valentine’s Day is an appropriate occasion for this show, as it is a love story. “Girl Crush” is the story of learning to love yourself.
Sharron Matthews appears at The Rose Theatre in Brampton Feb. 13-14. Tickets are available by calling 905-874-2800 or by visiting www.rosetheatre.ca