Personnel Paris 2023

This exchange (both the conference and the festival) continues the essential conversation on the art of cabaret among performers, teachers and coaches, writers and historians, and fans. Come meet each other!

Cette échange poursuit l’essentiel de la conversation sur l’art du cabaret entre interprètes, enseignants et entraîneurs, écrivains et historiens, et fans. Venez vous rencontrer!

Stefan Kukurugya, Paulus, Mylène Launay, Jeanie Carroll, Tássia Minuzzo, Barbara Smith,
Mark & Anne Burnell, Ava Logan, Michèle Barbier, Lynne Jordan, Jeff Harnar, Maryline Rollet,
Claudia Hommel, Benjamin Legrand, Jeanne Franks, Jean-Claude Orfali, Isabelle Georges, Anne Fromm

Workshop teachers and principal performers — list is in formation

Michèle began as actress and singer (Comédie Française, Festival d’Avignon, etc) but left everything for the circus in Sweden, Germany and her own company in France. She was discovered in Sweden by the legendary Josephine Baker who engaged her as personal secretary from 1969-1971. After thirty years, Michèle returned to theater, released three song albums, published novels, historical essays, theater and poems, and produced her one-woman-shows evoking the circus world and more recently her upbringing in Algeria. She has created events, often televised, such as the Gala de la Presse and Kréatika, the Festival of Authors-Composers-Performers. She was vice-president of the Alliance Francophone, taking her to many countries, most notably Japan. www.michele-barbier.comhe Alliance Francophone for which she has performed and traveled to many countries, including Japan.

Michèle, a commencé sa carrière comme actrice, chanteuse et auteur (Comédie Française, Festival d’Avignon, etc). Mais elle a tout quitté pour vivre dans le monde du cirque pendant trente ans, voyageant en Scandinavie, en Allemagne, puis dirigeant sa propre compagnie en France. En Suède, elle est découverte par la légendaire Joséphine Baker qui l’engage comme secrétaire personnelle de 1968 à 1971. Revenant au théâtre, à l’écriture et à la chanson, elle a sorti quatre albums, publié douze livres (romans, essais historiques, pièces de théâtre et poèmes) et produit et joué dans cinq pièces de théâtre, dont un one-woman-show inspiré du monde du cirque. Son dernier livre, Josephine Baker, les dernières années – La renaissance d’une étoile est paru aux Editions Riveneuve au début de l’année 2022. Originaire d’Algérie, elle a publié plusieurs ouvrages sur son pays natal . N’ayant jamais oublié la Guerre d’Algérie, elle présente en mars 2022 une nouvelle pièce de théâtre et publie un nouveau livre, consacrés à cette période qui l’a beaucoup marquée.
Elle a produit des événements télévisés, tels que le Gala de la Presse et Kréatika, le Festival des auteurs-compositeurs-interprètes. Elle est vice-présidente de l’Alliance Francophone pour laquelle elle s’est produite et a voyagé dans de nombreux pays, dont le Japon.

MicheleBarbier with microphone

Anne has performed for WDCB Jazz Salon, Jazz at the Logan, Chicago Humanities Festival, Mabel Mercer Foundation Cabaret Convention, Metropolis, and the Auditorium Theatre. Along with her husband pianist/vocalist Mark Burnell, she has toured in Paris and Amsterdam, and has sung the national anthem for the Cubs, White Sox, Arlington International Race Track, and the Special Olympics. Recordings:Summer Days and Dreamy Nights,Blues in the Night, Serious, Little Things We Do Together. Shows include: Cry Me a River: the Music of Julie London with Mark Burnell, and guitarist Henry Johnson, The Brill Building Songwriters, Tales of Our Travels, Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves. Anne is current president of Chicago Cabaret Professionals.

Pianist and singer, Mark trained vocalists for ten years at Carnegie Mellon University, where he received his M.F.A. He has worked with Dave Frishberg, Connie Francis, Ward Swingle, Howie Mandel, Laura San Giocomo, Richie Cole, Rob Marshall, Blair Underwood, and Seth Myers. Mark’s overseas tours have taken him to Bern, Zurich, Paris, Freiburg, Geneva, Panama, and Amsterdam. The Chicago Sun-Times hailed his work as “silky smooth and highly polished”, and Cabaret Hotline praised him as “one of the most talented pianists and arrangers I’ve seen.” Mark was twice a Master Instructor at the International Cabaret Conference at Yale University, and he has also taught at Northwestern and Roosevelt Universities. In Chicago, he can be heard at the Tortoise Supper Club, City Winery, Davenport’s, and the Signature Room. Discography: Summer Days & Dreamy Nights, Blues in the Night (with Anne Burnell), Christmas Piano, Cooler by the Lake.

A seasoned stage vocalist in many types of shows from rock to cabaret in several languages, Jeanie reveled in the experience of participating in the St Louis Cabaret Conference twice. Jeanie worked for Club Mediterranée for several years traveling and singing in many “villages”. She studied French in Aix-en-Provence and lived and worked in Paris for several years, singing at Jazz Clubs in Montparnasse and at The Hollywood Savoy next to La Bourse. These days, Jeanie hails from Sedona, Arizona, a beautiful cultural Mecca for some of the best artists and musicians from all over the world. She has fun collaborating in shows and gigs including the Sentimental Journey Big Band, a combo called “The Classics”, and is the director of Red Rockappella, a Sweet Adelines barbershop small chorus.

Singer-actor Anne Fromm was trained at the Stage school of music, dance and drama in Hamburg, and performed in many musicals in Germany. Since 1998, she has lived in France, following other paths such as polyphony, world singing, sacred singing and also body practices such as shiatsu, inspired by the teachings of Frank Kane (work on vibration and Georgian singing), Jean-Luc Bosc (theater, improvisation), Arnaud Didierjean (North Indian dhrupad singing) as well as Borys Cholevka (world singing, sacred singing).
Since her arrival in Lyon, she has been teaching vocal technique, interpretation and also the therapeutic aspect of singing. She loves to share the pleasure of singing, to set up artistic projects, to coach and stage all kinds of vocal groups and artists.

Chanteuse et comédienne, j’ai été formée à la ‘Stage school of music, dance and drama’ à Hambourg. Ensuite j’ai eu le plaisir de jouer, chanter et danser dans de nombreuses productions de comédies musicales en Allemagne. Depuis 24 ans en France, je parcours d’autres sentiers comme la polyphonie, les chants du monde, le chant sacré et aussi des pratiques corporelles comme le shiatsu. Je continue à suivre les enseignements de personnes qui me sont très chères comme Frank Kane (travail sur la vibration et le chant géorgien), Jean-Luc Bosc (théâtre, improvisation), Arnaud Didierjean (chant dhrupad de l’Inde du Nord) ainsi que Borys Cholevka (chant du monde, chant sacré) qui nous a malheureusement quitté en 2017.
Depuis mon arrivée à Lyon, j’enseigne la technique vocale, l’interprétation et aussi tout l’aspect thérapeutique à travers le chant. J’aime partager le plaisir de chanter, monter des projets artistiques, mettre en scène, coacher des groupes vocaux et artistes de tout horizon.

A radiant and reassuring presence, a voice that reaches for the stars, a powerful zest for life through song and dance, a passion for new horizons, projects and encounters… Isabelle Georges unifies all of the aforementioned with a smile! On stage, as a performer, and creator of her own shows, we witness her inspiring cultural and artistic heritage in a joyful combination of musical theater, French songs, classical, jazz and Yiddish music.
This melting pot of music and language reflects her free- spirited, ever-curious nature, finely honed from childhood. The environment in which Isabelle grew up was both musical and music loving. It was profoundly humanistic, open and full of promises that, after many years in hospital, ignited inside her an energy that she would never lose. Musical theater allowed her not only to forge her own path alongside the dramatic soprano legacy from her mother but also to rediscover her body with dance and begin to arm herself for the stage in Jean-Paul Lucetʼs production of Barnum. Isabelle attended the Cours Florent and her idols include Judy Garland (the subject of her first show in 2005), Liza Minnelli, Barbra Streisand, Jacques Brel.

Jeff has won multiple MAC, Bistro and BroadwayWorld Cabaret Awards and The Noel Coward Foundation Cabaret Award. His Carnegie Hall appearances include both the Cole Porter and Noel Coward Centennial Galas.  Jeff’s televised PBS concerts include “The 1959 Broadway Songbook” with Music Director Alex Rybeck, “American Songbook: Stephen Sondheim” co-starring KT Sullivan, and Michael Feinstein’s “Live from NJPAC.” Jeff toured with Shauna Hicks in their Symphony Pops Concert “I Got Rhythm: Mickey & Judy’s Hollywood.” Jeff’s fifth solo album will be released worldwide by PS Classics on June 17, 2022.  The album, I KNOW THINGS NOW (My Life in SONDHEIM’S Words), features a 20 piece orchestra conducted by jazz virtuoso Jon Weber.
Jeff is also a BroadwayWorld, MAC and Bistro Award winning Director.  He has directed critically-acclaimed shows for Tovah Feldshuh, Rita Gardner and award-winning shows for Celia Berk, Dawn Derow, Josephine Sanges and Margo Brown. He will return to the faculty of The St. Louis Cabaret Conference this summer.

Elisabeth is the author of the Teacher’s Vocal Power Method Toolkit for CCM and the Singer’s Vocal Power Method Toolkit for CCM. She is recognized by National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) as a pioneer in the field of teaching Contemporary Commercial Music (CCM) and featured featured in the NATS publication, So You Want to Sing Contemporary Commercial Music, as well as Training Contemporary Commercial Singers, published by Compton.
Elisabeth is a graduate of the Julliard School with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in voice and founder of the Vocal Power Academy in Los Angeles. She has presented Vocal Power Method Workshops for National Voice Teachers Conferences in eleven countries and has certified Vocal Power Trainers throughout the US, France, Italy and Brazil.
Clients include Paige O’Hara, the voice of Belle in the film, Beauty and the Beast, Lionel Richie, The Police, Priscilla Presley and was the warm-up coach for Sting at the Grammys. She has had clients on Broadway, National tours, American Idol, ten winners on Star Search and was a vocal coach on America’s Got Talent. Her Cabaret act, Op’ra to Pop’ra was performed in New York and Los Angeles clubs and was touted by Los Angeles Music Connection Magazine as “a talent to be reckoned with.” Elisabeth has performed leads in 25 musicals and operas. She won the national title, “Ms Senior America, 2012.”

Detroit-based pianist and vocalist (and accompanist, music producer, and general musical Swiss army knife), Stefan is a versatile performer and vocalist as a solo artist or with a band. He has a diverse repertoire including Jazz, Pop, blues, R&B to Motown, and Classical, not to mention Funk, ethnic music (Ladino, Latino salsa and folkloric, Arabic, Jewish, French, Albanian, Igbo, Yiddish, Polish, Black Gospel) straight improvisation, New Age & songwriting. Throughout his career he has toured as a pianist and Musical Director for different national acts.

He plays acoustic piano, Hammond B3 style, synthesizers, guitar, percussion, harmonica, and drum kit as needed. He has created custom sound design and programming for the Detroit Symphony. Back in the late 70s he accompanied Temptations singer David Ruffin on the road for a year. His jingles have been performed on TV and radio, and he has produced children’s music with clients such as Sesame Street and The Learning Channel.

As a bandleader, Stefan instinctively knows how to work the crowd and keep the party going! “Let’s Build International Goodwill and Inclusion through Music.”

French actress, dancer, creator, street and cabaret singer, Mylène was trained in classical-dance, modern-jazz, tap dance, flamenco (at AID), Argentine  tango (in Buenos Aires), musical comedy (AICOM). With accordionist Christian Bassoul, she co-hosts a weekly street ball at rue Mouffetard and performs cabaret events in Paris and the UK. Mylène wrote her first musical, In Vitro, in 2015. In 2017, she joined with Claudia Hommel to organize the Chicago and Paris encounters of the Cabaret Connexion. She continues to coordinate and recruit the French delegation for each conference.

Ava Logan is an award-winning singer-actress from Washington, D.C., now living in the Chicago area. Dr. Logan is a veterinarian by day and a jazz singer at night! The classically-trained jazz recording artist has performed jazz, pop, and rhythm and blues in the nationally and internationally, in jazz clubs, festivals, hotels and more with duos to 18-piece big bands! She has portrayed her idols Ella Fitzgerald and Nancy Wilson in professional theater performances in Chicago. Her first major CD, So Many Stars, produced by internationally acclaimed guitarist Henry Johnson, was met with critical acclaim.

Comic, singer, presenter and judge on BBC 1’s All Together Now, Paul L Martin, A.K.A. Paulus, is the foremost teacher and facilitator of cabaret in the U.K. Based in London, Paul has worked for over 15 years in drama schools, acting centers and with clients on a one-to-one basis, as well as offering his own unique courses on the tenets and principals of this much misunderstood and often maligned art-form. Paul is passionate about having cabaret recognized as a genre in its own right within the industry and beyond, and has been a campaigner and champion of the London cabaret scene for over 20 years. He returns to the Connexion to teach again.

Singer, pianist and composer, the Brazilian artist of great prestige, Tássia Minuzzo, stands out in the national and international musical scene as one of the best contemporary interpreters of Édith Piaf.

In 2009 she won the French Song Festival promoted by Aliança Francesa, in Porto Alegre. In 2013 she recorded an album of French songs Dans Ma Rue. In 2018 she was soloist with the Chamber Orchestra of Ulbra, also in Porto Alegre, interpreting works by Michel Legrand. This same concert will be repeated in June this year.

In 2022, she had her first participation in the Cabaret Connexion, performing a Live Stream from Brazil to Chicago, in which she interpreted the song “Mais qu’est-ce que j’ai?” (from Henri Betti and Édith Piaf) in the English version “What Can I Do?” by Harold Rome. She participated in a podcast with Greta Pope, and performed on the stage of Theatro São Pedro, in Porto Alegre, a tribute to the centenary of another great interpreter of Piaf, Bibi Ferreira, with the show Au Bal de la Chance – Édith Piaf e Bibi Ferreira, As Musas se Encontram.


Chanteuse, pianiste et compositrice, l’artiste brésilienne de grand prestige, Tássia Minuzzo s’impose sur la scène musicale nationale et internationale comme l’une des meilleures interprètes d’Édith Piaf. En 2009, elle a remporté le Festival de la chanson française promu par l’Alliance française de Porto Alegre, Brésil. En 2013, elle a enregistré un répertoire de chansons françaises dans l’album Dans Ma Rue. En 2018, elle était soliste de l’orchestre de chambre d’Ulbra, Porto Alegre, interprétant des œuvres de Michel Legrand – Ce même concert sera répété en juin prochain. En 2022, elle participe pour la première fois au Cabaret Connexion en réalisant un Live stream de Brésil dans lequel elle interprète la chanson “Mais qu’est-ce que j’ai ?” (Henri Betti et Édith Piaf) dans l’adaptation anglaise d’Harold Rome “What Can I Do?”. La même année, elle a participé à un podcast avec Greta Pope, et s’est produite sur la scène du Theatro São Pedro, Porto Alegre un hommage au centenaire d’une autre grande interprète de Piaf, Bibi Ferreira, avec le spectacle Au Bal de la Chance – Édith Piaf e Bibi Ferreira, As Musas se Encontram.

Pianist Jean-Claude is a principal organizer of the Cabaret Connexion (Paris) and serves as collaborative pianist in master classes and concerts. He has participated in many international events and piano concerts around the world. Pianist, composer, conductor, Jean-Claude comes from a family of musicians. For many years he has played regularly in Paris at venues such as Le George V, le Plaza-Athénée et le Bristol. He appears frequently at the oldest Parisian artistic cabaret, Lapin Agile. He accompanied Claudia Hommel’s master class for twenty musical theater students at the École Professionnel de Comédie Musicale in 2016 and joined Elizabeth Doyle as principal pianist for the first and second Chicago Paris Cabaret Connexion in Paris (2017) and Chicago (2018). He recently returned to Chicago to perform with Christine Steyer, taking their concert Sweet Spot between Our Worlds to Montréal. He performs as a solo pianist, as part of small jazz groups and also leads Parisian Big Band “BB15”. He has composed and performed for film.

Maryline Rollet

Joyeuse et mélancolique, mêlant la douceur de la balade, l’énergie du jazz et la sensualité de la bossa-nova, Maryline nous embarque avec enthousiasme — en français, en anglais et en brésilien — dans son univers touchant et sensible. Elle se produit régulièrement en duo, trio, quartet, solo, sur les scènes des cafés, restaurants, clubs jazz, théâtres et aussi dans le métro parisien. Le répertoire chanson, jazz, bossa nova — principalement de reprises — est teinté d’humour et de poésie. Elle a participé à la première Chicago Paris Cabaret Connexion à Paris en 2017.

Joyful and melancholy, mixing the sweetness of the ballad, the energy of jazz and the sensuality of bossa nova, Maryline brings us along enthusiastically—in French, English and Brazilian Portuguese—in her touching and sensitive universe. She regularly performs in duet, trio, quartet, solo, at cafes, restaurants, jazz clubs, theaters and also in the Paris metro. Her repertoire of standards is tinged with humor and poetry. She participated in the first Chicago Paris Cabaret Connexion in Paris in 2017 and in Chicago in 2018.

Barb was the winner of the 2018 Skokie Idol Contest. She has sung in shows at Davenport’s, Underground Wonder Bar, Rosa’s Lounge, Chief O’Neill’s and the Cliff Dwellers Club. Her powerful alto voice is well-suited to jazz, blues, and folk music as well as cabaret. She is a board member of Working in Concert and an active volunteer organizer of the Cabaret Connexion. Barb started her career as a folk singer, playing guitar and singing at coffee houses and in hootenannies. She also serves on the board of Working In Concert.

Conference participants

Susan Arjmand has collaborated with other Connexion members on performances throughout Chicago in cabaret , musical theatre, and opera.  She has performed with several Chicago area opera companies and is a founding member of Opera Inter Alia, a group of professional singers who offer a Sunday salon series in Chicago restaurants.  When not singing opera or cabaret, Susan is a physician and medical educator. 

A native of Chicago, Sue relocated to metro Detroit in 1999, after living in Montreal and Las Vegas. She has performed in community theater productions in all four cities. As a child, she learned the complete scores of Broadway musicals by singing to the cast recordings. A regular participant in karaoke venues, Sue has also entertained at assisted living venues, with show tunes, country, pop/contemporary, and French language songs. A natural performer, Sue loves to connect with her audience. She participates in Claudia Hommel’s SongShop, joined the Singers Jazz Workshop in Paris in 2015 and has attended all of the Cabaret Connexion conferences, thus far.

Jeanne Franks is a jazz vocalist and long-time on-air radio host at WDCB 90.9 FM, Chicagoland’s premier jazz station. She performs for corporate and private events. A Chicago native, she started piano lessons at age five after hearing jazz her father’s trio rehearsing in the living room and asking for a piano so she too could play! Jeanne played flute in school bands and later studied piano and voice at Elmhurst College and Benedictine University. For two decades, she was a soprano and soloist in the Wooten Choral Ensemble singing hymns, spirituals, traditional and contemporary gospel music. A graduate of Knox College, she earned an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. Jeanne fills in the spaces between singing and her radio show as a self-employed marketing, business development and interior design professional in the architecture and construction industry.

Having attended all previous Chicago Paris Cabaret Connexion conferences, Deborah has loved everything French since living in Paris as a college student at the Sorbonne. A linguist by profession, Deborah loves traveling the world singing and using her French and Spanish skills, including Chile and Madrid. A member of Chicago Cabaret Professionals, Deborah has been a featured performer in the Strut Your Stuff at Davenport’s Cabaret and has also performed in the Merry Measures Holiday Show. Other vocal performances include Cabaret Connexion Concerts at the LakeHouse. In addition to her solo appearances, Deborah loves connecting with others in ensembles and choirs. In 2018, she was honored to sing at Carnegie Hall as part of an international choir performing Handel’s Messiah.

Cristina Marinescu joined Chicago’s cabaret and piano bar community a few years ago, however, music has always been an important part of her life. When she is not teaching Computer Science, Cristina dedicates herself to singing with joy and passion. Over the years, she has performed along some great Chicago pianists in open mics, group shows, or solo, and as a featured vocalist at several live music venues. Currently, Cristina is working on a new solo project entitled Lucky Me!

Lou Ella Rose

Lou Ella Rose is the lead singer and founder of Filipino folk fusion band, SamaSama Project.

A musical theater actress for Repertory Philippines and Tanghalang Pilipino in Manila and Theaterworks in Singapore, she dabbled in Philippine Television acting in soap operas, the Knowledge Channel, and ABS-CBN’s Wansapantaym. If you lived in Manila in the early 2000s, you’ll recognize her in the widely popular Selecta Sundae “Jolex” and Lucky Me Spicy Hot Mami TV commercials.

Lou is a newscaster for Chicago Philippine Reports on Cable TV throughout Chicagoland and writes for  Via Times News Magazine on happenings, celebrity features, Filipino culture, food, and travel. Having a passion for understanding facts through data, she is also an established IT Manager for Data Analytics at BCBS-IL.

As an active community leader, Lou is an alumni and President Elect of Filipino Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO). She is passionate about sharing Filipino culture in the modern world and supports all outstanding Filipinos around the globe.

Lydia’s background is primarily in musical theater, although she also enjoys singing folk music, Tin Pan Alley songs and American standards, in additional to show tunes. Her favorite musical roles include Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret, Grandma Tzeitl in Fiddler on the Roof, Mr. Twimble/Wally Womper in How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying and Dot, a Goose, in Honk! This is her fourth Cabaret Connexion, so she is not a newcomer to cabaret anymore, but still a novice. Lydia also plays a major volunteer role managing design and communication tasks for Working In Concert.

Graduated in Paris in classical and jazz accordion, Wilfried Touati participates in all types of projects across musical borders, from solo to symphony orchestra, as musician, arranger and composer. In 2018, he formed the Wilfried Touati Quartet to play his compositions in a jazz aesthetic. Its first album Voyage was released in November 2021 by the label Jazz Family. This experience led him to create duets with oboist Guillaume Retail and Christelle Raquillet on flute and vocals.