For singer and stage actress Angela Sapolis, being back in St. Louis brings a new turn in her career: A chance to be herself.
“This is my first cabaret experience and it’s a very personal one, something you really feel like sharing,” said Angela, who grew up in Collinsville. “I think I can really sink my teeth into it. I’ve been working on it for the past six months.”
She will perform Jan. 28 at the Emerald Room in St. Louis, doing a one-woman show called “I Couldn’t Have Said It Better.”
Angela, 38, calls it a “quotable cabaret,” with 15 songs interwoven with quotes — the wit and wisdom of the world’s great thinkers, writers and musicians. Songs include “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” and “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries.”
“My husband is also a writer, so he wrote all the connective tissue (between the songs) we call patter,” she said a laugh. “He wrote it like I talk.”
She’s always played somebody else. She can be the real Angela. There’s a lot there. And now she gets to show all aspects of her voice.
Audrey Deeren on Angela’s cabaret show
Veteran voice coach Audrey Deeren, of Troy, said that with this experience Angela gets the chance “to be herself (on stage). She’s always played somebody else. She can be the real Angela. There’s a lot there. And now she gets to show all aspects of her voice.”
Since graduating from Collinsville High School in 1995 and Milliken University in 1999, with a classically trained voice and a degree in musical theater, Angela has been fortunate in her career: She has worked, with much of her stage experience at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., where, among other productions, she was Dory in “Finding Nemo: The Musical” and Ariel in “Voyage of the Little Mermaid.” She also performed in Florida regional theaters, across the country, and on the Goldenrod Showboat in St. Louis, on stage in Branson, Mo., and in Tokyo.
“Pretty much right out of college, I was on the run,” she said. She came home last week with her son Elliot, almost 2, to visit her parents, John and Loretta Sapolis, of Collinsville.
Her husband, Alan Buurn, is the director of entertainment and costuming for Tokyo Disneyland and was previously creative director of entertainment at Disneyland. They met when they were both working at Disney World and married in 2014. They live in Irvine, Calif., but spent 2 1/2 years in Tokyo. They came home eight months ago. With Alan likely headed to Shanghai for work for a few months, Angela decided to head east to see the family. And try out the cabaret experience she had been putting together.
“Basically, in Japan, I wasn’t working full-time. Elliot was born there. I was a stay-at-home mom except for the one show,” she said. She played Edwin Drood/Alice in “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” with the Tokyo International Players.
Late last summer, she appeared in the St. Louis Stages production of “The Fully Monty” and made some connections there. She also did an open-mike night geared toward performing artists in St. Louis. That’s where she met Jim Dolan, who was booking cabaret singers for weekly appearances at the Emerald Room. He asked for her resume.
In St. Louis, Angela reached out to New York-based veteran singer and actor Andrea Marcovicci to be her creative consultant, with musical arrangements by Shelly Markham and Lisa Campbell Albert as her musical director. Husband Alan arrives Saturday to direct the show.
Angela visited voice coach Audrey recently.
“I’m still learning about my voice,” she said of reconnecting when she can.
Angela is a mezzo-soprana who can belt out a song.
“I warm up with exercises five days a week. I was trained classically at Milliken, more operatic than musical theater, so I’ve had to learn to jump from genre to genre. No matter what, I have to keep my voice up.”
Audrey, who spent 22 years as an adjunct faculty member at Webster University, called her “a pretty compelling performer. She has a pop-sounding voice. She can get real brassy. A beautiful voice and a kind, perceptive and good person.”
Angela says she’s a bit nervous about how things will go next week, but ready for this next step in her career. Cabaret may become a staple.
“There's a quote (from writer Jack Cheng) I love that totally explains how I feel: “If it excites you and scares the crap out of you at the same time, it probably means you should do it.”
At a glance
- What: One-woman cabaret performance, “I Couldn’t Have Said It Better,” by Angela Sapolis
- When: 8 p.m. Jan. 28
- Where: The Emerald Room, 4510 Manchester Ave., St. Louis
- Tickets: $25
- Reservations: Box office, 314-932-7003, or online at www.buzzonstage.com
- Information: 314-932-7003