Performer • Director • Writer
Daniel Isengart was born in Munich, Germany and raised in France. Since his NYC stage debut in 1994 (in Tina Landau’s Stonewall – Night Variations), he has become a specialist in the intimate performance style of the cabaret genre. Especially noted for his interpretations of the songs of Brecht and Weill (which he sings in his own translations) he has been instrumental in reviving an interest in the vintage German and French cabaret repertoire in New York City. Over the years, he has performed in countless cabaret venues and supper clubs including Joe’s Pub, Café Sabarsky, the BAMCafé, Galapagos Art Space and the notorious Bar d’O, as well as at special events including return engagements at Deutsches Haus, the Museum Mile Festival and the Paley Center for Media (where he performed songs of Marlene Dietrich’s repertoire at the premiere of Marlene – Her Own Song, in the presence of Dietrich’s daughter and biographer, Maria Riva.) Regional appearances include commissioned cabaret-style concerts at SF MoMA, the Cleveland Museum of Modern Art, and the Philadelphia Museum.
In 2007, Isengart created a pop-up variety show called Foreign Affairs that ran successfully in multiple venues, culminating with a-year-long residency at the Night Hotel in Times Square in 2010. In 2008, the Museum of Modern Art commissioned him to create a variety show for a special event for its seminal exhibit on the German Expressionist painter Ludwig Kirchner. Isengart called it The Boulevard of Berlin Dreams.
Isengart has coached and directed many singers in the cabaret world, most notably international chanteuse Yanna Avis. He has also guest-lectured on the history of cabaret and Kleinkunst at Duke University in North Carolina.
In 2011, Isengart began a fruitful collaboration with maestro Edwin Outwater, under whose baton he performed songs by Kurt Weill (with soprano Measha Brueggergosman), and HK Gruber’s seminal Frankenstein!! song cycle. Most recently, Outwater invited Isengart to conceive, direct and act as the narrator in a staged concert of the Johann Strauss operetta Die Fledermaus, performed with a full cast of soloists, chorus and the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony Orchestra.
Isengart is currently working with Broadway legend Tommy Tune and Swedish theater sensation Tobias Larsson on a modern, musical theatre adaptation of the silent movie Pandora's Box, based on Frank Wedekind’s Lulu plays.
He lives in New York City with his partner, conceptual artist Filip Noterdaeme, who authored The Autobiography of Daniel J. Isengart, a modern take on Gertrude Stein's memoir à clef, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas.
Isengart has written analytical pieces about the intersection of food and culture for Slate and The Huffington Post and is a contributing writer for Jarry Magazine.