Singer Harold Sanditen debuts in S.F. with ‘Flyin’ High’ 

click to enlarge Singer Harold Sanditen brings his act to San Francisco’s Society Cabaret series. - COURTESY ZOE WHITE
  • Singer Harold Sanditen brings his act to San Francisco’s Society Cabaret series.
London-based cabaret singer Harold Sanditen, pleased to be making his San Francisco debut this week, is hoping his eclectic show “Flyin’ High” will touch listeners on all levels.

“It’s got funny and warm tales about what’s happened on the road,” he says, adding, “I think people will cry.”

And, despite the title, dope smoking isn’t part of the act _ not that he has a problem with that.

Oklahoma-born Sanditen is relatively new to his craft. The former theater producer (for 20 years and a U.K. resident for 27 years) went to cabaret boot camp in Tuscany a couple of times and got bit by the bug.

In 2008, he debuted his first act in New York, careful not to do it at home in the U.K., in case it flopped. It didn’t.

Since then, he’s become a staple on the thriving London cabaret scene as host of a popular open mic night, The Crazy Coqs, in Soho.

He’s created five different acts on various themes, from a jazzy exploration of the word blue, to a look at songs from the 1960s-70s that influenced him in his youth. Although some of the songs in “Flyin’ High,” a show about his love of travel and dozens of countries he’s visited, seem obvious _ “Come Fly With Me,” for example _ others are not.

His rendition of “Up on the Roof” refers to his joy in indulging in street food across the world.

“Rocky Raccoon” is a nod to his upbringing in Oklahoma, as is “Pass That Peace Pipe” from the movie “Good News.” While he regularly returns to Tulsa to visit his parents, he says it was a place “he couldn’t wait to leave, being Jewish and gay.” And he can’t “even remotely” compare where he grew up and his current home. (“Tulsa is so small; in London we walk 10K a day.”)

He attributes his success in cabaret to his lifelong love of theater and musicals, the fact that he finds it fun to tell stories, and the enjoyment he gets in re-interpreting a familiar tune. He has done Todd Rundgren’s pop rock hit “I Saw the Light” as a ballad, and his comic version of “Me and Mrs. Jones” adds a third character.

Perhaps “Flyin’ High” won’t be his last word on the theme of travel. Sanditen says there are many corners of the world he has yet to visit.


Harold Sanditen

Presented by Society Cabaret

Where: Hotel Rex, 562 Sutter St., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. April 18

Tickets: $25 to $45


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Leslie Katz

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