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Maude Maggart: A New Generation of Cabaret

Cabaret singer Maude Maggart has a show biz pedigree -- her grandparents performed together in a swing band in the 1930s and '40s, her parents met in the original cast of the Broadway musical Applause and her little sister is pop star Fiona Apple.

Her shows and albums have been earning rave reviews. New York Times cabaret critic Stephen Holden says Maggart, 30, seems to embody a past musical era. "She has a kind of gramophone quality in her voice, sometimes, that makes you think of an old recording," he says.

Maggart, who grew up in a New York City household filled with music from the Grateful Dead to Laura Nyro, says she came to cabaret by chance. As a teenager, her father took her to see Andrea Marcovicci perform in a club in Los Angeles.

Marcovicci became a mentor to Maggart, as has singer and musical historian Michael Feinstein. He met Maggart years ago, when she and her sister used to attend musical gatherings at lyricist Marshall Barer's house.

Maggart says she wants each of her cabaret shows to take the audience on a journey, and she develops them thematically. One show looked at songs from 1933, at the height of the Depression; another, love songs from the swing band era, in tribute to her grandparents. Her last show -- and most recent album -- explored the songs of Irving Berlin.

Audiences can discover Maude Maggart and her music at New York's Algonquin Hotel until Feb. 25. She then goes on to perform in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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Jeff Lunden is a freelance arts reporter and producer whose stories have been heard on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition, as well as on other public radio programs.