Frenchie Davis (American Idol, The Voice, Rent) and out funny lady and piano virtuoso Kathryn Lounsbery have teamed up to produce their two-woman cabaret, “The French and Kat Show.” A big hit in during its first go around, the dynamic duo is bringing their show to the Metropolitan Room in NYC this weekend. Frenchie and Kat took some time with AfterEllen to discuss their collaboration, and the “musical orgy” that is “The French and Kat Show.”
AfterEllen: You are both very talented ladies in your own rights, so what made you decide to partner up for this cabaret?
Kathryn Lounsbery: I first met Frenchie when I was hired to play for her on a gay cruise. I knew she could sing but what I didn’t know was how brilliantly funny she is! Her comedic skills were so enticing. I knew I had to work with her on incorporating the comedy into a musical act. I have a six-pack from laughing so hard with her! Like, literally. I bought a six-pack of beer to celebrate the laughter.
Frenchie Davis: Yes! Kathryn and I were referred to one another because I needed a pianist for a gig. We met up at her place for our first rehearsal and I walked in to a HUGE Nina Simone poster hanging over Kathryn’s grand piano shortly followed by my introduction to the naked Liberace in a bubble bath print that hangs in her bathroom. I knew from that moment that I had come to the right place. My partner was with me and she was like, “Oh my God, babe! She is your musical soul mate!” It didn’t take long for us to realize that there was so much truth in that statement and that the awesomeness should be shared with the world. The hilarity that ensued eventually evolved into “The French And Kat Show.”
AE: You are obviously good friends, and it’s so special to find that on-stage chemistry with someone. Frenchie, I love that you refer to Kathryn as your musical life partner. I have one myself and performing with him just has a special kind of magic. Frenchie, what is it about Kathryn that makes her such a great creative partner? Kathryn, what is it about Frenchie?
KL: Frenchie possesses the two qualities you want in a life partner: She inspires me and the possibilities feel endless. I never have writer’s block when it comes to thinking of ideas for the two of us. That’s why we need to hire a scribe! The back and forth of creative ideas literally feels endless and non-stop. We need someone to write it all down, lest we forget. Oh, she also is very good at navigation and I know to just be a passenger when she shepherds us around. And she makes great playlists. I’ll stop now.
FD: I also think it works because we get it. We get each other. We never have to spend an extended length of time trying to convince one another that we should try something. Even if it’s outside of our comfort zone. Hell, we are doing everything from hip-hop to thrash metal to country, stuff I would have never imagined singing before we crossed paths. One of us has an idea, we try it out, we love it, we nurture it in the warmth of our voluptuous musical bosoms and it becomes musical comedic magic.
AE: Frenchie, you’ve spent some serious time in New York performing on Broadway. Was it important to you to bring this show to New York? Is the whole vibe different from doing cabaret in LA?
FD: It is, and we have gotten such good feedback on it. People like Carol Channing and Raven Symone have come to see us in our California shows and they loved us, so arguably, we can retire now. But I think because I am such a theatre girl, I am reluctant to believe the hype until New York falls in love with the show too.
AE: Kathryn, I can only imagine how much fun it is to do a show with you at the piano. Do you find that your comedic talents have really expanded your reach as a musician?
KL: Comedy and music really do go hand in hand in that both are active, “living” entities. I love the quick-thinking that both require. As I continue developing my one-woman show, I’m seeing how seamless it is to integrate both of my passions: comedy and music. It feels fantastic and exactly what I should be doing right now.
AE: What are some of the numbers we can look forward to? Anything that might be geared toward your lesbian/bisexual fans? You know we love a good lady love song.
KL: I’m in love with our mash-ups. You can expect to hear Britney, Gnarls Barkley, Patsy Cline, Lil’ Wayne, and more. It’s really just an orgy of musical styles. So, you’re welcome for that. Frenchie’s rendition of “We Found Love” kills me every time. I think it will make any lady swoon!
FD: An orgy of musical styles. I love the way you worded that. Yes we are musically bi-racial, if you will. We aren’t just one thing, and that’s what I love about doing this show. It allows us to do all of the stuff that we love and all of the genres that have inspired us in one way or another. I think the lesbians will THOROUGHLY enjoy our “Lollipop” medley. We are counting on it.
AE: Frenchie, you have been performing pretty much non-stop since your Idol experience. What is next for you? Does the theatre hold a special place in your heart?
FD: I feel very fortunate to have managed to keep working this entire time, and I owe a debt of gratitude to the theatre world for that. Theatre will ALWAYS hold a special place in my heart. Musical theatre was one of my first loves, it is how I fell in love with singing, it’s what I studied in college and even though we are doing so many different genres in “The French And Kat Show,” we serve Musical Theatre Realness in every single number.
What’s next for me? Who knows? Obviously, more “French And Kat Show.” I am finishing my college degree and graduating in May, applying for my Master’s in London. I made my feature film debut this year in the film, Dumbbells, with Carl Reiner and Tom Arnold and my non-reality television debut on Wanda Sykes Presents: Herlarious. I had no idea that comedy would end up playing such a role in my career, but it is actually opening lots of doors and I feel that working with Kathryn this past year has helped me tap into my funny bone.
AE: Kathryn, what other fabulous projects are you working on? What can we see you in or performing next?
KL: Before the end of 2014, I will debut my one-woman musical comedy show! It combines my all-time favorite piano pieces (classical, jazz, funk, pop) with some very personal stories–both hilarious and kinda heart-breaking. I can’t wait to share it with the world! And I know Frenchie will be in the front row, cheering me on.
FD: Of course I will!
“The French and Kat Show” plays the Metropolitan Room in NYC February 8-10. You can buy tickets right here.