Dame Janet Suzman will make her singing debut in a duet with the singer Harold Sanditen when he brings back his cabaret show Flyin’ High on 31 March and 1 April to London’s Crazy Coqs. (You can also catch the show on 2 April when he will be joined by another surprise guest.)
Sanditen, who hosts the regular Open Mic Thursday evenings at Crazy Coqs, has known the renowned South African-born actress and director for a long time, but didn’t know whether she had sung very much before, as he explains.
“I bumped into her at LAMDA and plucked up the courage to ask her if she would consider singing a duet with me. As soon as I asked, I saw her excitement percolating, and by the end of the day it was a done deal.”
Sanditen had two songs arranged: “I thought Janet was likely to choose the rather serious, classic Greek and English medley I had prepared, but she preferred to go for the pretty obscure, frothy and jazzy Dave Frishberg number called ‘Let’s Eat Home’. The song is all about a person who travels the world, but ultimately decides at the end of the day he would really like to have an evening at home.
“Janet was attracted to the wit of the comedy number, but it was by no means the easy option. It’s quite syncopated and there’s lot of internal rhymes. And I’ve commissioned a new verse of lyrics as well, so I can’t wait to perform it at the Crazy Coqs.”
Since bursting onto the jazz/cabaret scene in 2008, Sanditen has devised six cabaret shows in as many years. Prior to singing, he spent 20 years producing theatre, working with actors ranging from Academy Award winners to complete up-and-comers.
Travelling the world is the central theme of Flyin’ High and there is no doubt that Sanditen has top credentials for the musical journey, having visited 65 countries at the last count (apparently covering all continents except the polar regions!).
In a recent review for this website, Musical Theatre Review editor Lisa Martland said of the show: “It can’t be long before Sanditen is off on his adventures again, but it is obvious cabaret and the joy of performing in such an intimate room as the Crazy Coqs are equal in his affections. With Flyin’ High, that passion certainly comes across.”
Martland’s predictions were spot-on as Sanditen, along with musical director Michael Roulston and bassist Jonty Fisher, will soon be taking the show on a brief world tour, visiting San Diego, Palm Springs, LA, San Francisco, New York, Paris and Montenegro, plus possible future dates in Madrid, Lisbon and Berlin.
Back at the Crazy Coqs, Sanditen is also recording the three nights of Flyin’ High for a special ‘Live at the Crazy Coqs cd’. It will be the first CD recorded in the venue for commercial release. “I find singing in the studio doesn’t do it for me. It’s all about the connection with the audience, engaging with them is so much fun.”
Last but not least, the ever-popular Open Mic night at the Crazy Coqs is celebrating its second birthday on 30 April.
Sanditen adds: “When I suggested the Open Mic idea, I never realised I would end up as host and that on some nights I would be introducing 18 artists during a 90 minute show. The quality of those who take part is really superb – opera singers, lot of jazz performers, plenty of people bringing in musical theatre scores and cabaret songs, and those who write their own music. It should be a great second birthday party!”
* Harold Sanditen’s show Flyin’ High is at the Crazy Coqs from 31 March to 2 April. Dame Janet Suzman will appear on two nights, 31 March and 1 April.