For Megan Elk, music is her heart and soul. As an internationally acclaimed singer, composer, actress, and vocal coach, Megan Elk has been lighting up stages with her cabaret-style performances. On March 19, at the BOP STOP in Cleveland, Elk presents Torched: Songs of Triumph & Regret, a solo performance where she will share stories of struggles and successes through the music of Gershwin, Weill, Arlen, Porter, Sondheim, Kander, and others.
“Lots of people have called me a ‘torch singer’, which has always filled me with lots of questions about what exactly a torch song is,” says Elk on why the show is named Torched. “For me, it’s a song with one of two purposes. For one, it tells the sad story of how your (or someone else’s) life has crashed and burned to the ground. Or two, it’s a song about a burning desire to achieve a specific goal. When I named the show, I wanted to explore both of those elements.”
Known throughout Cleveland and surrounding areas as her alter ego, Miss Alexandra Huntingdon, Elk is choosing to perform under her real name for Torched. “Miss Alexandra Huntingdon has very much been the nom de plume under which I’ve written my own set of torch songs,” says Elk. “Miss A is also a bit dramatic and over the top, whereas I wanted my exploration of the theme Torched to be entirely honest, 100% me, and from the heart.”
Elk’s personal stories that will be brought to light have been carefully selected in order to be seamlessly woven together with the music, keeping with the Torched‘s themes of triumph and regret. “I think my stories are stories a lot of people will identify with; being unlucky in love and finding love, being unsure of yourself and yet growing to love the body you inhabit, making creative work that sometimes receives praise, but still garners rejection; and yet, you go on. You continue to burn,” Elk reveals.
As for the music selection, “I really respond to songs that tell stories that speak to me, that tell some universal truth about my experience of life right now,” Elk says. ” I was raised on musicals, trained to sing on that repertoire. The music lives so deeply inside of me that it affects the music I write and the kind of music I want to see being made in my community.”
The BOP STOP, where the event will be held, is a no-brainer for the setting. “The BOP STOP is a gorgeous space with incredible acoustics and one of the best baby grand pianos of any club in town. It’s also a dedicated space for listening, […] just an audience that really wants to hear what you have to say,” Elk points out.
Torched also features local pianist, Joe Leaman, who brings an ambience that complements Elk’s standout style. “Joe is one of the most fun, flexible, and adept players I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. He tends to read my mind a bit stylistically and that’s because I think he loves the material (and revels in the camp of it) as much as I do. He’s got a unique and infectious energy and brings a kind of joy to each piece so that the work never gets too serious. Believe me, Joe alone is worth the price of admission!”
While Torched on March 19 engulfs the themes of adversity and accomplishment, Elk has future plans to perform more shows covering a different theme each time.