Sound Check

Ever hear of a musician who doesn't mind people in the audience shouting things at her and interrupting songs? Well, Elizabeth De Bolt encourages it. Audience participation is what her one-woman show is all about. Think Joan Baez meets Name That Tune, and you start to get the picture.

De Bolt is a true performer, a ball of energy who says her main goal is to make people smile. Her shows, which usually take place at informal places like coffeehouses or bookstores, rely heavily on interaction with the audience.

Armed with a song book of more than 500 tunes, most of which she's memorized, De Bolt rattles off song after song in what she calls "The Music Game." She tells listeners that as soon as someone thinks he or she knows the name of a song De Bolt's playing, he or she should scream it out. Correct answers are worth half a point. Guessing the artist who originally recorded the song is worth another half-point. Score four points and you win prizes such as tickets for Blockbuster Golf and Games and passes for day cruises and bowling. As odd as this practice sounds, De Bolt says she likes to give away the prizes -- which are donated by business contacts -- because, basically, nobody gets anything free these days.

Aggressive and not afraid to fail, she has a personality that fits her performance style perfectly. "My parents told me when I was five, at my school's variety show, I literally kicked another kid off stage and began to sing 'Good Ship Lollipop,'" De Bolt recalls. "I just go for it and try not to worry about if people think I'm a little out there."

Sing-alongs and requests are also a big part of the show. It's not uncommon for De Bolt to invite a group of people from the audience to join in a song on stage. Her sets primarily consist of cover tunes that people of all generations can recognize. "People get happy when they're involved and feel like they're part of the show," she says. "You can't help but get involved."

De Bolt is one of those people who are always upbeat. She transforms even the slower love songs she covers, like Madonna's "Power of Goodbye," into lively numbers. She'll do exactly that Friday at Starbucks in Weston and Saturday at The Roasted Bean in Plantation.

 
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