West End musical theatre veteran and professional singer Tracy Kashi is a warm, friendly and versatile vocalist and musician, with an Iranian, Israeli background. Based in North London, she has worked as an actress and singer and appeared many times at the Royal Festival Hall. She made her West End debut in Rent at The Prince of Wales and has worked with stars such as Petula Clark, Idina Menzel, Bobby McFerrin. She can be found singing Jazz at Ronnie Scotts or Kurt Weil at The Royal Festival Hall, and is the featured voice in the musical score for ITV’s Maigret with Rowan Atkinson.
Her new show My Cancer Gap Year is an uplifting musical about her very recent experience with breast cancer—from shock diagnosis to tentative recovery—and combines comedy song and candid advice. This is Your London Legacy.
“What do we humans do when stuff is hard to talk about? Very often we turn to humor to diffuse and deflect and communicate.”[10:26]
Tracy doesn’t identify as a “cancer survivor” or undertaking a “cancer journey”. She feels as though she has had an experience with a disease and is still here. Hence the name of her show—Cancer Gap Year—which succinctly sums up how she feels about her experience, without diminishing the struggles that have come with her diagnosis and treatment. The show ties together song and comedy to convey Tracy’s experience—a mashup that she openly admits was difficult deliver, as she had never done any sort of stand up comedy before. She didn’t want to offend anyone by making light of sensitive material, but in the end she feels she was able to be authentic about the ridiculous parts of her “gap year” while treating the disease others may have experienced with respect.
Tracy admits there was a bit of imposter syndrome at play, something she has had to overcome over the course of her career as a performer. However, her 20 minute version of the show was a bit of a trial run, and one Tracy was quite happy with.
“Perfect is the enemy of the good.”[32:58]
During Tracy’s diagnosis and treatment she took notes on everything from first finding her lump after a grimy ride on the Northern Line, to talking about bureaucratic insensitivities and her response to treatment—Tracy and her husband latched onto the ridiculous and laughed about it. It was healing for them. The show is Tracy’s way of doing something useful with her experience; raising awareness, raising money, showing respect and gratitude for everyone that helped her, and helping others cope and heal with the power of laughter and performance.
If you are interested in seeing Tracy perform My Cancer Gap Year you can sign up at TracyKashi.com to get gig info, watch videos, and find out more about her work. Tracy can also be booked for coaching. She has two upcoming shows; one on July 25th and another (the big one) on October 31st on the main stage at JW3.