Entertainment » Music

A Talk with Cabaret's Tori Scott — Why Is She 'Pickled?'

by Steve Duffy
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Apr 17, 2019

Singer/actress Tori Scott was called "the Bette Midler of the new millennium" by Provincetown Magazine after an appearance in that resort town. Over the past five years, Scott has made her name as one of New York's rising cabaret performers for her bawdy humor and a voice that is said to out sing Beyonce. For her appearances at Joe's Pub (amongst other clubs), she was named one of the Top 10 Cabaret Performer by Time Out New York; and has performed throughout the world, from LA and Dallas to London and Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she took her show "#Thirsty."

Last year she brought "#Thirsty" to Cambridge as part of the American Repertory Theater's "Afterglow @ Oberon" series to sold-out houses. (Afterglow @ OBERON is curated by Quinn Cox, founder of Provincetown's annual Afterglow Festival.) On April 18 she returns with her latest show, "Tori Scott is Pickled!," which she recently premiered at Joe's Pub.

The show is described in a release as a "shameless musical journey with blackouts and belting

"As she crawls deeper into her thirties, Tori has decided to examine her life, one martini at a time. 'Tori Scott Is Pickled!' will take you on a slurred autobiographical adventure of her biggest regrets, her most recent shame spirals, and her life surrounded by too many gay men. 'Pickled' includes music from Lady Gaga, Madonna, Dolly Parton and more."

The Huffington Post has called Scott, "An absolute thrill! A soul-baring singer and sharp comedian... witty, wry and engaging. Tori is a twinkling cabaret talent and a sassy storyteller"

EDGE caught up with the singer recently to talk about her upcoming show, being compared to Bette Midler, and where to not to stroll when on a gay cruise.

A 6-year old Mary Poppins

EDGE: When did you first realize your musical talents?

Tori Scott: It was a piano teacher I had when I was 6 years old. I was not great at the piano, but I would hum along to the songs. She mentioned to my mom that I could sing very well on pitch and then while I was in dance class I would sing along to the songs and then my dance teacher took it even further and started having me sing songs in the recitals. It was really just people noticing and hearing something and saying, "let's take a look at that."

EDGE: Can you remember the first time you performed in front of anybody?

Tori Scott: In the first grade, I performed in the school talent show and I sang "A Spoon Full of Sugar" dressed as Mary Poppins. My mom still has the video of it on a VHS tape. It was fun for me to perform, but I think it was fun for my mom to dress me up as Mary Poppins.

EDGE: Why is Tori pickled?

Tori Scott: I have a residency at Joe's Pub in New York and I have done a series of shows called "Tori Scott is Thirsty." A lot of it has to do with celebrating my poor life choices. Looking back at mistakes you have made, that it has been long enough that you can now laugh at it. "Pickled" is just another way for me to look at how I deal with getting older. Also, just having way too many martinis and feeling pickled that way.

The gay connection

b>EDGE: How many martinis will you consume during your show?

Tori Scott: I usually have one during the show and then after the show depends on how many people buy me before I fall over. I will say that 4 martinis will probably put me over the edge.

EDGE: As a self-described "bad decision expert" what would you say is the worst decision you ever made?

Tori Scott: I perform occasionally on cruises specifically for LGBT and primally gay men. After a performance one night, I took a walk up to this deck that is, after dark, the spot for guys to have a little fun (if you know what I mean). They call it the "DD" and after that, I learned not to go exploring after a few drinks again. That was one of my most recent bad decisions.

EDGE: Why is there a shared mutual love between you and gay men?

Tori Scott: I grew up doing community theatre and from the time that I was young, I was surrounded by gay men. There was a group of men that were so wonderful to me during my childhood and were incredible mentors. They are my gay dads. They really had a positive influence on me and pushed me to follow my dreams. One person told me that gay men love me because I tell it like it is. I don't sugar coat things. I had one guy come up to me and say, "I learned more about the gay community from you then I have from gay men." It may also be the high belting that they like too.

Compared to Bette

EDGE: How do you feel about being compared to Bette Milder?

Tori Scott: I think it is amazing! I was first compared to her after I did a show in Provincetown at the Art House. The Provincetown magazine mentioned it and I have used that quote for everything. When Someone compares you to Bette Milder, you don't sleep on that quote. I have idolized her for a long time and everything she has done as paved the way for people like me to do what I do. It is definitely an honor and something that I hope to live up to.

EDGE: Describe your process of weaving together music and story?

Tori Scott: I wish it was a more of an eloquent process, but I basically figure out what stories I am ready to tell. I keep a list of stories or things that I want to talk about and a list of songs that I am dying to sing. When I sit down to put it together I have a lot of songs on my list that I have never been able to use, because they haven't been able to work within stories and I just don't want to throw a song in without it having a purpose and meaning.

EDGE: When did cabaret grab hold of you and what do you love about it?

Tori Scott: After graduating from the Boston Conservatory, I moved to New York. I was pursuing musical theatre and had a friend who was bartending at a gay bar called Vlada. They had a stage upstairs and he told me they were looking for acts and I wasn't getting any work doing musical theatre. I was one rejection after another. So, I put a little short show together and it felt really good and people enjoyed it. In 2012, Joe's Pub asked me to do a show and that is when it really took hold. At Vlada, it was really fun, and it was a way to perform when I wasn't getting work. Once I got to Joe's it turned in to a whole different life for me.

EDGE: Will you be returning to Provincetown this summer?

Tori Scott: I will! I don't know my exact dates yet. We are still working it out. I will be back at the Art House. I love it there and I love Provincetown.

Tori Scott performs "Tori Scott is Pickled!" on April 18 at Oberon, 2 Arrow Street, Cambridge, MA. For more information about the show, visit the American Repertory Theater website. For more on Tori Scott, .

Watch Tori Scott perform "Wig in a Box/What's Up"

Watch Tori Scott sing "Wrecking Ball/The Man That Got Away"


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