Australian jazz singer turns hand to cabaret for kids

Jazzamatazz. Picture: Prudence Upton

Jazzamatazz. Picture: Prudence Upton - Credit: Archant

Sanya Ali talks to Ali McGregor, whose latest show aims to get under 10s dancing and singing along to rousing versions of tunes by Baha Men and Beyonce.

Opera singer turned cabaret star Ali McGregor has seen her share of success in the performance world.

Her credits include five years as principal soprano in Opera Australia, including 25 roles in various productions, one of which won her a Green Room award.

The Crouch End resident has also hosted Radio 4’s “Curiosity Killed the Cabaret” and her latest venture Jazzamatazz, will run at the Southbank’s giant circus tent - London Wonderground.

The family-friendly show features some classic McGregor spirit, and a vibrant collection of tunes.

“I started to go to lots of kids shows once my daughter needed endless entertainment,” says the Australian-born mother-of-two.

“I realised that her favourite shows were the early evening cabaret and music show where she could dance and sing and hear fantastic, quality music.”

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Jazzamatazz provides just that. Designed for children aged 0 to 10, it’s an experience they can enjoy with their parents by their side.

“I decided to create a show that kids go to experience this fun in the middle of the day but parents could also enjoy it just as much as an evening gig.

“I hope children get to sing and dance and listen to fabulous jazz music while their parents sit back, join in, relax or let loose,” says McGregor.

The award-winning show has travelled around the world including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Auckland Arts Festival.

The vibrant musical selection of anthems such as Who Let the Dogs Out and Single Ladies, are just the beginning of the twist on the traditional cabaret format.

“We have performed this show all over the world. All the favourite songs are returning with some new tunes, new dancers and bubbles!”

McGregor’s career as a performer began before she had finished her schooling.

“When I realised people would let me do something I love for a job there was really no other choice!”

Motherhood has brought out a new level of performance in McGregor, whose partner is Australian comedian Adam Hills, so she knows what makes kids and parents get up and shake.

“My Jazzamatazz dancing began when I became a mum and became a daggy mum dancer, with massive tickets on myself as a total groover.”

For this singer, creative expression is the hallmark of a happy and fulfilling life.

“I see everyday how much creative expression makes everyone’s lives more fulfilled. Whether it is as escapism, education or just a precious moment to feel connected to other people.

“Bringing laughter, music and general tomfoolery to all and sundry is essential.”

McGregor has three final thoughts to draw the crowds into the show.

“One: Who let the dogs out? Two: Sparkly shoes are an essential part of this show. Any show. Three: I did. I definitely let the dogs out.”

Jazzamatazz runs at London Wonderground on the Southbank from July 11 until 19. Tickets and information at