POP! Meets the Moment

When the house lights dim, and the noise and rustling of the audience suddenly stills, the stage lights will come up beaming this March for the first time in what feels like too long. And when they do, the spotlight will rest upon a singer Time Out NY calls “one of cabaret’s brightest rising stars,” waiting to serenade the audience with an all-new show.

Carole J. Bufford. Photo by David Rosen.

Carole J. Bufford is one of the most sought after young performers of the New York Cabaret and jazz scene today. Hailing from Lincolnton, GA, the artist says she grew up on a healthy dose of Liza Minelli, Judy Garland, Patsy Cline, and more…and when she sings, it shows. With bright and fresh new takes on classic favorites from the Great American Songbook, Bufford brings artistic heavyweights of the past to life in an original performance that feels almost like you’re stepping back in time.

“Carole J. Bufford is, first and foremost, a consummate performer,” said Richard Hopkins, FST’s Producing Artistic Director. “She is top tier and the best of the best.”

Audiences may remember Bufford from two popular Summer Cabarets at FST: Roar!, a jazzy musical revue featuring classics made famous by Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith (2017), and Come Together, a rockin’ Cabaret exploring the changing musical landscape from 1965-75 (2019). Now, she returns to Sarasota with a never-before-seen show, Vintage POP!, highlighting almost a century of songs that defined their respective eras, including “Over the Rainbow,” “St. Louis Blues,” “Every Breath You Take,” and “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.”

“I can’t wait to get back to FST!” said Bufford. “I’ve been looking forward to getting back to performing, and I am thrilled that my first show before a live audience will be at FST. It feels a bit like coming home.”

Vintage POP! is an especially fitting show to welcome back not only this beloved artist to the theatre, but FST’s beloved audience as well.

Carole J. Bufford. Photo by Peter Carrier.

Vintage POP! is a great show for us to reopen with because it covers popular music from the 20th century,” said Hopkins. “There is something particularly meaningful about revisiting stories that are nearly a half century old. They help you put different eras in perspective, and that perspective gives us the understanding that ‘If I survived that, then surely I can survive this.’ With everything that’s happened in the past year or so, we all could use some perspective.”

“To me, Vintage POP! highlights how, even though the style and sound of popular music have changed over time, it still explores the same basic human emotions,” added Bufford. “Whether the music is from the turn of the 20th Century or from the late ‘80s, pop artists sang about the excitement of falling in love, the pain you feel when that love ends, and making a fresh start in life. All of these themes are found in the songs of Vintage POP!, regardless of what year they’re from.”

Bufford’s hope is that audiences will walk away from Vintage POP! excited and filled to the brim with music. “Going to the theatre may look a little different,” she said. “But we, as artists, are capable of adapting and changing to meet the moment.”

Due to popular demand, Vintage POP! has already been extended twice and is now playing in FST’s Keating Theatre from March 24 – May 9, 2021. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.