Interview by: Mandy Moe Pwint Tu
Short and sweet: this time we bring you Jake Dennis, celebrated jazz singer and musician, and he’ll be performing not one, not two, but three shows with the Mint Jazz Band at Fringe this year!
- What are you most looking forward to about performing at Fringe?
It’s always great to reach a new audience and see some familiar faces. The Fringe World Festival is the best time of the year in Perth. Every day and night there is something fantastic to see and do. It’s a pleasure to be a part of the entertainment on offer for you.
- Could you tell us a bit about each of the three shows you’ve got on?
COME FLY WITH ME: Whether you love jazz, swing, and blues legends like Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Doris Day, and Natalie Cole, or reggae, soul, and pop classics by Stevie Wonder, Bruno Mars, Michael Jackson, and Maroon 5, you will have a great time aboard Mint Jazz Airlines. Flying to destinations in Europe (France, Ireland, London, etc) and America (Hawaii, Los Angeles, New York etc) through song, this cabaret show takes off at the luxurious Laneway Lounge and you all have first class seats! This show has sold out ahead of Opening Night every time it has been presented (FRINGE WORLD 2015 and at The Ellington Jazz Club 2014). Tickets for Come Fly With Me on sale now!
GATSBY’S CABARET: Private Jay Gatsby, a coloured musician from the poor side of town, competes with elitist Tom Buchanan, a wealthy womaniser, for the love of the beautiful Daisy in this dramatic reimagining of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.” Featuring songs from the 1910s to 2010s, this theatrical show features talented local actors Sjaan Lucas (Daisy Faye), Fleur Pereira (Hattie Berry), Samuel Barbas (Tom Buchanan), as well as Jake Dennis (Jay Gatsby) and the Mint Jazz Band. Every ticket you purchase for this show puts you in the draw to win the nightly prize for Best Dressed Lady & Best Dressed Gentleman. Book your place at Gatsby’s Cabaret today!
CLASSIC CROONERS: Nat King Cole, The Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin), Ray Charles, Bobby Darin, Harry Connick Jr., Michael Buble, and Jamie Cullum have set the gentlemanly standard for classic swing standards like “Lady Is A Tramp,” “Have You Met Miss Jones?,” and “Mack The Knife.” Following in the footsteps of these leading men, the Mint Jazz Band and I are excited to bring to the Ellington Jazz Club a cabaret show featuring classic crooner hits as well as the comedic talents of local actress Natasha Dawson who plays the love interest in this romantic story of love. This show was a hit with audiences last year at the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, Fremantle’s Fibonacci Centre, and the Town of Cottesloe’s Music for Pleasure series. Don’t miss out! Book your tickets for Classic Crooners today!
- Who are your biggest role models in jazz?
Nina Simone and her daughter Simone, Nat King Cole and his daughter Natalie Cole, Judy Garland and her daughter Liza Minnelli, as well as Billie Holiday, Norah Jones, Jamie Cullum, and Molly Johnson. Each are inspire me in different ways through their awesome talent and their ability to tell a story through song.
- What shows are you excited to see at Fringe this year?
My friend gifted me a ticket to see “Music for Emily Dickinson” because she knows I love poetry so I’m excited to see that but I’m also keen to see “In Vogue – Songs by Madonna” as I’m seeing the superstar’s Rebel Heart tour next year! I’m a huge fan of Edith Piaf so I am hoping I will get to see “Exposing Edith” and possibly “Frankly Winehouse.” Comedy wise, anything featuring Marcel Lucont is hilarious. I’m also a big fan of David Mamet so I cannot wait to see “Oleanna.”
- Why should people come and see your shows?
All my shows feature a live band, a narrative driving the show, a few cool props and costumes, and at least one actor or dancer at some point in the show. Performing is my life and without people’s support it is impossible to keep doing it. Need more help deciding?
Classic Crooners – This one is for those who love the classic crooner songs. It’s the kind of show you can gift as a treat for your family (including your grandparents) or enjoy with your partner on Valentine’s Day. It’s a romantic show and it’s nearly sold out already!
Gatsby’s Cabaret – This is a dramatic musical play with four actors and is for those who are interested in alternative versions of stories – stories told from the marginalised or fringe point-of-view. This one is at times joyous, funny, and exciting but also melancholy, and confronting.
Come Fly With Me – This one is a lot of fun and has songs to please both young and old audiences. It’s been our most performed show to date and has always proven popular. You can join in and sing along or sit back and enjoy the flight.