The highs (and lows) of love

Nothing else matters when you’ve fallen in love.

You get goose bumps just thinking about that special someone.

However, when you’ve fallen out of love, but still in that relationship, those once familiar and comforting goose bumps turn into a queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach.

You know something is wrong, but aren’t sure (or yet brave enough) to know how to fix it.

Singledom — with its often-awkward blind dates and lonely nights, with nothing but the remote control to carry you through to the morning — isn’t much better.

Put simply, love in all its versions, is a very complicated thing.

And Gabi Epstein knows all about.

The 23-year-old professional singer admits she’s experienced the highs (and rock bottom lows) of relationships.

And she now has a show to prove it.

Epstein is the star of Studio 5040’s cabaret, Looking For Love in All the Wrong Places, on at the Toronto Centre for the Arts the day before Valentine’s Day — Fri. Feb. 13.

The performance includes ballads of relationship woes sung by Epstein, and fellow actor/singer, Patrick Brown.

In between songs, Epstein will dish about her own dating pitfalls, plus those cringe-worthy tales based on people she knows.

It’s no mistake the local cabaret company, headed by North Yorker Merle Garbe, is producing the show on the Friday before Valentine’s Day, especially a Friday some might call (un)lucky, thanks to the number 13.

At least Epstein doesn’t think so.

“The people who go to a show the night before Valentine’s Day maybe don’t have the biggest plans for that occasion,” says Epstein, who has been performing professionally for six years, adding the show definitely isn’t a lovey-dovey Valentine’s Day production.

Epstein, who follows comedian Sharon Matthews’ similar cabaret performance in Studio 5040’s fall production, says the show is a cathartic experience for her, as she doesn’t keep a journal.

Instead, the funny stories she sings about provide comic relief, and she adds it’s a way for her to move past those daunting dating disasters.

And it’s not all doom and gloom.

Epstein and Brown will sing some heartwarming, love songs, including “Unusual Way” from the 1980s musical Nine.

“We’re doing something different, even if you are sitting next to your loved one, (Looking) will be fun for anybody,” says Epstein, who studied voice at McGill.

While she thinks Valentine’s Day itself is too commercialized, saying she hates to see Valentine paraphernalia on display at stores as soon as Boxing Day is over, she isn’t anti-love by any means.

Epstein treats the day as more of a time to express her love for her friends and family, not just her romantic love interest of the moment.

The Epstein family even exchange thoughtful gifts.

“When I was at university I would get a big package from my mom every Valentine’s Day,” Epstein says, with a laugh.

The young performer loves cabaret for one reason: she gets to play herself.

In musicals and plays, Epstein says she is usually cast as a teenager given her young look, and petite frame.

With Looking, she can play herself, given it’s a bigger, more theatrical version.

“It’s my stage, my time … it’s so much fun and not something I get to do on a daily basis,” says Epstein.

And where does she hope all this singing takes her in the future?

“Broadway,” Epstein says emphatically. “That’s the dream.”