The Marsh Berkeley Cabaret Presents Joni Takanikos In THE SONGBIRD OF PARIS, EDITH PIAF

The Cabaret at The Marsh Berkeley is proud to present Joni Takanikos in Martha Furey’s THE SONGBIRD OF PARIS, EDITH PIAF. Piaf’s stagehand (played by Max Cole-Takanikos) helps the iconic French singer to a park bench in Belleville, the working class neighborhood of her impoverished childhood, and leaves her there, wrapped in a blanket against the cold. Knowing she is nearing the end of her life, Piaf takes a final reckoning, sharing her vast triumphs and hair-raising tragedies with the cabaret audience, as though the audience represents the ghosts of her past. It’s a passionate ride: funny, forceful, wild and raw, sensual and romantic, replete with Piaf’s famous and heart-rending songs. Takanikos sings a cappella, an evocation of the young Piaf busking on the streets of her beloved Paris.

The show plays on Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 pm and Saturdays at 8:30 pm from November 1 – December 1, 2012 (press opening Saturday, November 3) in The Cabaret at The Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston Way (off Shattuck.) For tickets, the public may visit www.themarsh.orgor call 415-282-3055.The audience is seated at tables, and can enjoy wine, cocktails and beer from a full bar as well as delicious sandwiches, salads and snacks.

Tiny and frail, Piaf sometimes looked as if she could barely stand up, and yet perhaps no performer has so totally embodied herself on stage, mesmerizing audiences with the raw passion and beauty of her voice. When she died at 48, her second husband and final lover, the actor Théo Sarapo, 20 years her junior, drove her corpse to Paris, perhaps wanting people to believe she died in the city she loved, the city with which her name is still synonymous. Because of her celebrated life – the lovers, the booze, the drugs – the archbishop of Paris forbade her a mass; nonetheless, 40,000 fans mobbed her funeral at Père Lachaise.

Joni Takanikos is a singer-songwriter, poet and performer. She met the playwright Martha Furey over two decades ago on Whidbey Island, near Seattle, where Takanikos still lives. In those early days, both were involved in theater, although Takanikos worked as a jewelry designer and Furey delivered the mail! In 2010, encouraged by Furey, Takanikos took a three- month sabbatical to Ireland, where Furey now lives, and where Takanikos realized her dream of becoming a traveling minstrel. In March 2012, after Takanikos returned to the States, Furey, who wrote Songbird” specifically for her, brought the project to Whidbey Island where it premiered in November before traveling back to Ireland in December to play at St. Johns Theatre in Listowel. Takanikos has successfully produced and performed in many cabaret-style evenings and was awarded the Local Artist Series from Whidbey Island Center for the Arts in 2007. She credits the post-modern dancer and writer, Deborah Hay, with helping her to embody what she calls Edith Piaf’s “willingness to be seen: when she sings, she gives you everything.” For two sample tracks from her second album, Love in a Mist, Devil in a Bush, visit http://soundcloud.com/joni-takanikos.

Max Cole-Takanikos, Joni Takanikos’ son, is an aspiring young artist who has been involved with theater since the age of seven. His credits include Solyony in The Three Sisters, Romeo in Romeo & Juliet, Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, Antony in Sweeney Todd and Jason in Rabbit Hole.

Martha Furey is a playwright known for capturing the essence and depth of some of the world’s most engaging and compelling women. During the course of her long theatrical career she has written and starred in eight one-woman plays, all of which have been performed in the United States where she was born, and Ireland, where she now lives. La Flor de Mexico/Frida Kahlo and Tea With Emily, about poet Emily Dickinson, received four star reviews in The Scotsman after performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Of La Flor de Mexico/Frida Kahlo critic Joy Hendry said, “Furey’s script is music to the ears, pulse to the heart and food for the brain. Unlike so many biographical one-person shows, you feel truly in Kahlo’s presence.”

WHEN:             November 1 – December 1, 2012

SHOWTIME:     Thursdays & Fridays at 8:00 pm; Saturdays at 8:30 pm

WHERE            The Cabaret at The Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston Way in Berkeley near Shattuck

TICKETS:         $15-35 Sliding Scale
For tickets, visit www.themarsh.org or call 415-282-3055

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