top of page
CAB19_Finale_performance-25.jpg

cabaret & performance conference

The Cabaret & Performance Conference reexamines, redefines, and revitalizes the cabaret art form for the 21st century using a definition of cabaret as “any kind of live performance in an intimate space that breaks the fourth wall.”

Jr. Fellows Application Dates

In-Person Auditions: January 13, 2024 from 10am to 3pm at the O'Neill

Online Application: February 5-19, 2024

Fellows Application Dates

March 7-21, 2024

Conference Dates

July 30-August 11, 2024

The Cabaret & Performance Conference brings some of the biggest names in cabaret theater to perform at the O’Neill each summer and provides valuable development and performance training for select up-and-coming performers on the cabaret scene and students through its Fellows and Junior Fellows programs.

 

Recent Conference artists include: Judy Kuhn, Tonya Pinkins, Norm Lewis, Marilyn Maye, Ken Page, Molly Pope, Melissa Manchester, Karen Mason, Christina Bianco, Joyce Breach, Brad Simmons, Matt Baker, Eric Yves Garcia, Mark Hartman, Brian Nash, Natalie Douglas, The Skivvies, Nick Adams, Shirley Jones, Jim Caruso, Billy Stritch, Mimi Hines, Susie Mosher, Betty Buckley, and Tommy Tune.

Fellows and Junior Fellows receive training from the talented Conference staff as well as Conference guest artists.

JohnMcDaniel_BruceGlikasShotHighRes.jpg

Conductor, pianist, composer, orchestrator, record producer, Grammy and two-time Emmy Award winner, John McDaniel was seen leading the band daily on The Rosie O’Donnell Show for its entire six year run. He wrote the theme song and received five Emmy nominations for Outstanding Music Direction and Composition. On the show, he worked with such artists as Billy Joel, Tony Bennett, Dick Van Dyke, Neil Diamond, Dolly Parton, Liza Minnelli, Rosemary Clooney, Barry Manilow, Chaka Kahn, and Madonna.

Recently, John participated in a live Playbill concert event in Times Square welcoming back Broadway, featuring Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jessica Vosk and Chuck Schumer. McDaniel produced and directed a virtual concert of Sticks & Stones, for which he is also the composer, starring Audra McDonald & Javier Muñoz.  

 

He first worked with Rosie in 1994 when he conducted the Broadway revival of Grease in which Rosie played Rizzo. McDaniel also created new vocal and dance arrangements for this production. Stars throughout its run included Brooke Shields, Jon Secada, Sheena Easton, Chubby Checker, Debby Boone, Jennifer Holliday, and Al Jarreau.

His recent Broadway credits include Bonnie & Clyde, for which John received a Drama Desk nomination for Best Orchestrations; Catch Me If You Can; and Brooklyn, which he also orchestrated and produced.

Mr. McDaniel was the supervising Music Director of the Broadway revival of Annie Get Your Gun, starring Bernadette Peters (and subsequently Reba McEntire), which won the 1999 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical and for which he received the Grammy Award as producer for Best Musical Show Album. He also was the supervising Music Director for Boy George’s Taboo on Broadway in 2003, and produced the cast album. He conducted the smash hit Chicago on Broadway, the 1993 reunion of the original Broadway cast of Company in concert at Lincoln Center, the U.S. tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express, Off-Broadway’s Blame It On the Movies, as well as solo performances for such esteemed artists as Cab Calloway, Shirley MacLaine, George Burns, Betty Buckley, Bette Midler, Frederica von Stade, and Carol Burnett. Mr. McDaniel also arranged the show Patti LuPone on Broadway.

 

In 2011, McDaniel made his opera debut, conducting The Daughter of the Regiment at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis.

 

His musical adaptation of Pirates! has played the Goodspeed Opera House, the Paper Mill Playhouse, the Huntington Theatre in Boston, and most recently the St. Louis Muny Opera.

 

He arranged music for the Tony Awards on CBS in 1997, 1998 and 2000. Other arranging and conducting credits for television specials include A Rosie Christmas for ABC, starring Celine Dion and Marc Anthony, and the Friars Roasts of Jerry Stiller, Rob Reiner, Hugh Hefner and Chevy Chase, all for Comedy Central, as well as A Family is a Family for HBO.

 

He has been a featured pops conductor for the Milwaukee Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Oklahoma Philharmonic, the Colorado Symphony, the Stamford Symphony and the Utah Symphony orchestras as well as multiple return engagements with the San Francisco Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Indianapolis Symphony and his hometown St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

 

In 2001, Mr. McDaniel produced and conducted a national television commercial in the wake of 9/11 to promote tourism in New York City starring Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Michele Lee, Joel Grey, Elaine Stritch and a host of other Broadway stars.

 

Mr. McDaniel produced and conducted "The Maury Yeston Songbook" for PS Classics featuring Tony Award winners Betty Buckley, Sutton Foster and Christine Ebersole among many others. Mr. McDaniel has recorded four solo CDs, John McDaniel at the Piano: Broadway, John McDaniel at the Piano: Christmas, and John McDaniel at the Piano: Compositions, and most recently, John McDaniel Live at Joe’s Pub. He produced the Broadway Cast Recordings of Bonnie & Clyde, Brooklyn, Taboo as well as The Journey Home (Malcolm Gets). Other recording credits include the Broadway cast album for the revival of Grease on the RCA/Victor label, Patti LuPone Live! on RCA/Victor, as well as Davis Gaines’ release, Against the Tide.

 

He is the recipient of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for his music direction of Chicago, as well as multiple Drama Logue awards. Mr. McDaniel received the Board of Director’s Award from the Manhattan Association of Cabaret in 2000. In 2002, Mr. McDaniel was elected to The Television Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors.

 

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Mr. McDaniel first studied piano with his mother Jane, and earned his BFA degree in Drama from Carnegie Mellon University. www.johnmcdaniel.com

Table Setting
CAB Fellows

cabaret fellows

A dynamic opportunity for performers to refine their skills and stage presence with the guidance of an accomplished team of world-class professionals

The Cabaret & Performance Conference Fellows Program is a dynamic opportunity for performers to refine their skills and stage presence under the direction of an accomplished team of professionals. During an intense two-week period, this conference provides artistic guidance and expert instruction to a handful of participants chosen by application and invitation.

 

With six hours of classes daily, Fellows receive one-on-one coaching from leading music directors, work with world-class guest artists, and prepare for a public performance, as well as participate in night time open mic sessions. Fellows gain admission to nightly professional shows by world-class performers. Areas of study include song selection, ear training, mic technique, harmony, and group dynamics. Alumni of the program have gone on to perform at major venues from coast to coast, utilizing the lasting relationships they cultivated at the O’Neill.

Natalie Douglas (1).jpg

Natalie Douglas

Master Artist Teacher

BroadwayWorld Best Cabaret Vocalist Award Winner and recipient of the Donald F. Smith & Margaret Whiting Awards from the Mabel Mercer Foundation.

BarbJungrNov2020.jpg

Barb Jungr

Guest Faculty

Award-winning British songstress renowned for her vocal style, interpretation of song and radical approach to arrangements. 

mark hartman.jpg

Mark Hartman

Music Director

New York-based pianist, coach, conductor, arranger and composer. Recipient of three MAC Awards and the Backstage Bistro Award for Music Direction.

JonWeber.jpg

Jon Weber

Music Director

Highly sought music director for top jazz and cabaret performers. A consummate post-bop musician with a lithe technical ability and an ear for complex harmonic compositions.

Lennie Watts 2022.JPG

Lennie Watts

Master Artist Teacher

10-time MAC Award-winner, vocalist, director, producer, & booking manager with over 20 years in the NYC cabaret scene.

BBuckley-059-PSfinal2.jpg

Betty Buckley

Guest Faculty

Tony Award-winning actress, whose career has encompassed TV, film, stage and concert work around the globe.

TracyStark.png

Tracy Stark

Music Director

10-time MAC Award winner, Bistro Award winner, winner of the Dottie Burman Songwriter of the Year Award. Singer/Songwriter, Musical Director, Conductor and Arranger.

Bryan Eng 2024.jpg

Bryan Eng

Guest Artist

Appeared on Broadway, TV, feature films, commercials, and in revered enues such as the Kennedy Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall, Birdland Jazz Club, Drury Lane Theatre, and more.

Cabaret Fellows applications will open in 2024! 

Sign up for our mailing list to be the first to know when applications open. You’ll be able to access the application form right here through this webpage. The application to the 2024 Cabaret Fellows program will request the following materials: 

 

  • Contact and Demographic Information: Name, email address, telephone number, physical address, etc.

  • Biographical Statement: A sketch of your biography that focuses on your history as a performer or cabaret artist in 200 words or less.

  • Conference Objectives: This should outline your goals and objectives for your time with the Cabaret Fellows program in 200 words or less.

  • Two Work Samples: You will be asked to provide two contrasting videos of your work in performance. For example, for example, you may sing one ballad and one up-tempo. These videos should highlight your voice and performance style. We recommend choosing songs that you personally know well. You will be asked to provide a link to each video, which may be hosted via DropBox, Google Drive, YouTube, or another accessible online platform.

  • Tuition/Financial Information: Tuition for the Cabaret Fellows program is $3,500. If applicants would require financial assistance in order to attend this program, they may apply for a need-based scholarship through the application form.

  • Fee: Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the $20 application fee has been waived for the 2024 season. 

 

Please note that participants of all O'Neill programs, including Cabaret Fellows and faculty, must have received the latest FDA-approved COVID-19 booster prior to their arrival on campus.

If you have any questions about your application materials or form, please reach out to the O’Neill literary office at litoffice@theneill.org. If you have any questions about the logistics of the program, please reach out to line producer Jorge Lopez Rivera at jrivera@theoneill.org.

The base cost of tuition for this program is $3,500. A non-refundable deposit is required at the time of acceptance. 

 

Tuition includes six hours of classes daily, mentorship with Cabaret & Performance Conference faculty, master classes with guest artists, tickets to nightly shows on the main stage, as well as housing and meals at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in beautiful Waterford, CT. 


Travel to and from the O’Neill is the responsibility of participants. We are unable to arrange or cover the cost of your travel. Please reach out to companymanager@theoneill.org with any questions related to travel, lodging, meals, and accommodations.

We’ve provided a list of frequently asked questions about the Cabaret Fellows program for your convenience. If your question isn’t answered here, please reach out to line producer Jorge Rivera at jrivera@theoneill.org

 

If I’ve been a Cabaret Fellow or Junior Fellow before, do I have to submit another application?

Yes. A complete application is always required. 

 

Is there a fee to apply for this program? 

No. The admin fee for the 2024 Cabaret Fellows program has been waived thanks to the generosity of O’Neill supporters. 

 

What are the O’Neill’s COVID-19 policies? Is there a vaccine requirement? 

Yes. All staff and participants of O'Neill programs, including Cabaret fellows and faculty, must be fully vaccinated with the latest booster shot before their arrival on campus. At the time of writing, we continue to follow federally mandated COVID-19 guidance for indoor performance venues. Performers on stage will not be masked. Please reach out to our Company Management team at companymanager@theneill.org with questions. 

 

If I'm selected to be a Fellow, will the O'Neill provide housing?

Yes. Fellows will be provided with dormitory-style housing in double or single rooms. All rooms include beds, desks, dressers, and closets. Community bathrooms, private bathrooms, and shower rooms are available. 

 

Are meals provided? And can dietary restrictions be accommodated? 

Yes. Three meals a day are served on-site by our resident chefs. Special consideration is given to accommodate dietary restrictions, and all applicants are asked to provide their dietary restrictions to company management upon acceptance. The O'Neill cafeteria offers continual access to snacks and beverages throughout the day and into the evening. 

 

What does the average day look like? Can you provide a sample schedule? 

The Cabaret Fellows program offers a rigorous and varied schedule over the course of approximately two weeks each August. An example of the daily schedule is offered below. All class sessions include work with our master teachers, a team of music directors, and esteemed guest artists. 

 

9:30 am -12:30 pm: Morning Class Session with Guest Artist 

12:30-1:30 pm: Lunch

1:30 - 2:00 pm: Daily All-Conference Meeting

2:00 - 5:30 pm: Afternoon Class Session with Master Teacher  

5:30 - 6:30 pm: Dinner

8:00 pm: Mainstage Performance

 

Does the O'Neill cover travel or provide transportation to campus? 

No. The O'Neill is unable to cover the cost of your travel to participate in the Cabaret Fellows program. 

 

Where are the nearest airports to the O'Neill? 

The O'Neill campus is located in Waterford, CT. If you are flying into the area, the nearest airports are Providence International Airport (PVD) and Hartford-Bradley Airport (BDL). We are able to arrange transportation from the airport to the O'Neill. Please reach out to the Company Management team at companymanager@theoneill.org to schedule a pickup. 

 

If I'm selected to attend, could I drive to the O'Neill campus? Is parking available on-site? 

Yes. Please reach out to our Company Management team at companymanager@theoneill.org. They will provide you with a parking pass upon arrival.

Performance Classes
Open Mic
Public Performance
Pinning Ceremony
Jr Fellows

junior fellows

Offers select 15- to 18-year-old students an opportunity for professional vocal instruction, movement, and hands-on artistic guidance in the art of performance

The premier pop music performance program for Connecticut's 15- to18-year-olds, the Cabaret Junior Fellows program offers a select group of students the opportunity for in-person professional vocal instruction, movement, and hands-on artistic guidance in the art of performance. Students gain valuable interaction with world-renowned guest artists and professional faculty and acquire skills needed to make performance an important part of their creative lives.

 

The program includes two weeks of master classes and performance opportunities alongside the O’Neill’s professional guest artists at the Cabaret & Performance Conference.

 

Alumni have gone on to: Royal Conservatory of Scotland, UC College-Conservatory of Music, NYU, UCLA, Northeastern University, University of Miami Theatre, Sony Music Entertainment, and NBC's The Voice.

The O'Neill will host an in-person audition for the program on January 13 from 10am to 3pm.

Students should sign up for their audition slot HERE.

Auditioning students should prepare the following: two short song selections showing vocal range and energy. We would prefer one musical theater song and a short Taylor Swift or Harry Styles song. No ballads, please.

Note: If you are unable to make our in-person audition we will have the option to submit a video audition when applications officially open on February 5th. In-person auditions are greatly preferred, however, even if you audition in-person on the 13th you will still need to submit a formal application in February.

 

If you have any questions about the audition sign-up, please reach out to the O’Neill literary office at litoffice@theneill.org. If you have any questions about the logistics of the program, please reach out to line producer Jorge Lopez Rivera at jrivera@theoneill.org.

Junior Fellows online applications will open from February 5-19! All students interested in the program should complete the application form, even if they auditioned in person. Sign up for our mailing list to be the first to know. In the meantime, please note that the application will request the following materials: 

 

  • Applicant and Parent/Guardian Contact Information: Name, grade, school, email address, telephone number, physical address, etc. 

  • Audition Videos (for those who did not audition in person): Please prepare For your audition please prepare two short song selections showing vocal range and energy. We would prefer one musical theater song and a short Taylor Swift or Harry Styles song. No ballads, please. You will be asked to provide a link to each video, which may be hosted via DropBox, Google Drive, YouTube, or another accessible online platform.

  • Other Information: Do you play any musical instrument? What other extracurricular activities do you participate in, performance-related or otherwise? 

 

If you have any questions about your application materials or form, please reach out to the O’Neill literary office at litoffice@theneill.org. If you have any questions about the logistics of the program, please reach out to line producer Jorge Lopez Rivera at jrivera@theoneill.org.

Tuition is $1,000 for the two-week Junior Fellows program and includes all meals. A non-refundable deposit is required at the time of acceptance. 

With the support of generous donors, the O'Neill endeavors to ensure access to the Junior Fellows program for students regardless of economic status by providing need-based scholarships.


Travel to and from the O’Neill is the responsibility of participants. We are unable to arrange or cover the cost of your travel. Housing may be available on request (please visit or FAQ for details). Please reach out to companymanager@theoneill.org with any questions related to travel, lodging, meals, and accommodations.

Brad Simmons, who is recognized from the films The Last Five Years and the cult-favorite Camp, has shared the stage with Broadway luminaries Tonya Pinkins, Alice Ripley, Beth Leavel, and Donna McKechnie  and recording artists  Sandi Patty and The B-52s' Kate Pierson. Simmons music directed Lysistrata Jones, Hood, To Wong Foo, Mr. & Mrs. Fitch with John Lithgow, Me and The Girls with Alan Cumming, and the film Hello Again with Audra McDonald and Martha Plimpton. Simmons composed the musicals A Kiss from Alexander, A Woman Onstage, and A Dickens of a Carol with librettist Stephan DeGhelder. Find Brad’s recordings, including Dreamworld, Mundane Existence, and The Simon & Garfunkel Collection on all music platforms. thebradsimmons.com

We’ve provided a list of frequently asked questions about the Junior Fellows program for your convenience. If your question isn’t answered here, please reach out to line producer Jorge Lopez Rivera at jrivera@theoneill.org

 

If I’ve been a Junior Fellow before, do I have to audition/submit another application this season?

Yes. An in-person audition or a complete application is always required. 

Should I attend the in-person audition or submit the online application?

We recognize that scheduling or travel barriers may prevent students from attending an audition in purpose. Therefore, students may elect to audition in person on the O'Neill's campus or via the online application based on their availability. Dates and information for each are located above.

 

Is there a fee to apply for this program? 

No. The admin fee for the 2023 Junior Cabaret Fellows program has been waived thanks to the generosity of O’Neill supporters. 

 

What are the O’Neill’s COVID-19 policies? Is there a vaccine requirement? 

Participants must either receive and provide proof of the most current FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccination (with a small number of exceptions, every American 6 months and older is eligible to receive these vaccines safely) or if not vaccinated, pay a $100 fee and test for COVID-19 daily while on campus participating in the program. For the full text of the policy, please click HERE.

 

If I'm selected to be a Junior Fellow, will the O'Neill provide housing?

Limited housing is available upon request, depending on availability, to Fellows from outside of the Connecticut area. If housing is provided, a parent or guardian must also reside in housing for the duration of the fellows program. Those receiving housing will be provided with dormitory-style housing in double or single rooms. All rooms include beds, desks, dressers, and closets. Community bathrooms, private bathrooms, and shower rooms are available. 

 

Are meals provided? And can dietary restrictions be accommodated? 

Yes. Three meals a day are served on-site by our resident chefs. Special consideration is given to accommodate dietary restrictions, and all applicants are asked to provide their dietary restrictions to company management upon acceptance to the program. The O'Neill cafeteria offers continual access to snacks and beverages throughout the day and into the evening. 

 

Does the O'Neill cover travel or provide transportation to campus? 

No. The O'Neill is unable to cover the cost of any travel to participate in the Cabaret Junior Fellows program. While we accept applications from youth nationwide, please note that we are unable to provide housing to participants or their parents.  

 

Where are the nearest airports to the O'Neill? 

The O'Neill campus is located in Waterford, CT. If you are flying into the area, the nearest airports are Providence International Airport (PVD) and Hartford-Bradley Airport (BDL). We are able to arrange transportation from the airport to the O'Neill. Please reach out to the Company Management team at companymanager@theoneill.org to schedule a pickup. 

 

If I'm selected to attend, could I drive to the O'Neill campus? Is parking available on-site? 

Yes. Please reach out to our Company Management team at companymanager@theoneill.org. They will provide you with a parking pass upon arrival.

Performance Classes
Public Performance
Spend Your Summer Here
Open Mic
bottom of page