She may have been born Melissa Madden Gray in Western Australia, but you can call the cabaret superstar “Meow” — Meow Meow, that is — and call her, I did.
“The persona is me, that’s just me,” she told me in her silky voice over the telephone. “We all slip on different roles and I try to make my role joyous. If we have to wear uniforms in our lives, why not make it a sparkling ball dress? I’m just being honest with myself.”
Since breaking into the international scene just a couple of years ago, Meow Meow has become a global jetsetter, taking her unique style of cabaret from London to Sydney and most points in between, including a stop this coming weekend in Lake Worth.
Her repertoire ranges from classic numbers by Jacques Brel and Berthold Brecht to more contemporary selections from Radiohead and even Franz Schubert, if that is possible for the 19th-century Viennese master. She dances and delves into the raw sexuality of burlesque in her performances, too.
“It’s a pretty mad show, part of the West End show that I’ve been doing… Still Meow in concert, but a fairly joyful experience. I’m going to throw myself into the arms of Lake Worth and see what happens,” She added with a throaty chuckle, “As my pianist says, you may not be moved, but you will definitely be touched.”
At the start of our call, the sexy ingénue warned me she was still in bed — it was nearly noon — and at some point, we would be interrupted by room service. When her breakfast finally arrived, I overheard her tell the attendant, “Just put it on the bed and that would be fantastic.”
She jumped back on the phone, wondering, “How many times have I said that? Now, where was I?”
In the past six days, she had performed in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, Toronto Canada and was now getting ready to take the stage in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“It’s grueling, but because I like what I’m doing it’s bearable. It’s not like I’m traveling and going to horrible business meetings,” she said.
Next, she will fly to Texas before returning to Florida and then jetting off to performances in London, Poland, Virginia and New York City, “all before the end of March,” she pointed out.
Later this year, she plans to finish an upcoming album with Pink Martini and put together another London show, this time with Barry Humphries, widely known as the man “behind” entertainer Dame Edna Everidge.
She readily admits to being a “very controlling diva” and insists on giving the best performances whether playing in a huge concert hall in London or a small theatre in Charlotte.
She’s never been to Charlotte before, but audiences have been receptive, some returning night after night, lending to her fascination with the Southern city.
“Because we’re in the theater so much rehearsing, I’d love someone to drive me around and show me (the city,) she sighed. “I’m sure the Lake Worthers will show me a good time, though.”
If You Go
What: Meow Meow in concert
When: Saturday, Feb. 16, 8 p.m.
Palm Beach State College
How Much: Tickets at $27
For More Information: www.DuncanTheatre.org