I just spent the last couple of Thursday nights at CVRep’s wonderful cabaret. If you haven’t yet gone there, then I must ask, “What are you waiting for?” I know you like theatre or you wouldn’t be checking out this column, so that can’t be it. If it is for budgetary reasons, I say skip a couple of meals and a latte, you will be culturally well-nourished.
The theatre is a perfect size with not a bad seat in the house. Wherever you sit, you are close enough to feel the intimacy between performer and audience that is so much a part of the cabaret scene. Recently, Teri Ralston and Alix Korey shared the stage. Both these ladies have appeared in numerous Broadway musicals. Among Ms. Ralston’s credits are the original Broadway productions of COMPANY and A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC. Stephen Schwartz was so taken with her voice that he wrote her a song to sing in THE BAKER’S WIFE. Unfortunately, the show had a legendary rough time previewing on the road and closed before ever reaching Broadway. Other productions include FOLLIES and THE FANTASTICKS.
Alix Korey’s Broadway credits include AIN’T BROADWAY GRAND, HELLO DOLLY, and CHICAGO. She has a great smile, an impish twinkle in her eye and a laugh that is totally contagious. These two talented women spent the evening with us singing songs from their shows, many written expressly for them and regaling us with stories about having worked with musical theatre legends like Stephen Sondheim, Stephen Schwartz and Cy Coleman, among many others. It felt more like being in their living room than in a theatre and the evening flew by.
The next week was the return of musical theatre maven Glenn Rosenblum who had more stories from the golden age of musicals. This time out, he featured shows from 1959, the year he was born. He had rare clips featuring Broadway stars like Gwen Verdon and Helen Gallagher, juicy gossip and lots of laughter. If you love musicals the way I do, I could not think of a better way to spend an evening.
Looking ahead, there are some great Thursday nights yet to come this summer.
On June 22, Broadway star and concert artist Christiane Noll will take the stage. A Tony Award and Drama Desk nominee, Ms. Noll appeared as Mother in the revival of RAGTIME and starred in the first National Tour of DEAR EVAN HANSEN. She also appeared on Broadway inJEKYLL & HYDE, ELF and CHAPLIN, to name a few. On TV she was Sister Margaretta in THE SOUIND OF MUSIC LIVE on NBC. Her vibrant personality and beautiful voice promises another evening of Broadway fun.
On a somewhat different beat, July brings us two exciting shows. For those of you who love dance, on July 13 the series will feature the thrilling classic flamenco of Miguel Bernal and company. His passion of the art form is clearly on display and has been described as ‘otherworldly.’
Then, on July 20, tenor Maximo Marcuso takes center stage with a diverse repertoire of operatic arias, classical crossovers, Broadway standards and contemporary favorites. His recent engagements have taken him all over the world. From Giza to Hollywood, his beautiful voice and masterful stage presence has garnered thousands of fans. This is a chance to see a world class artist in his ascendancy perform live and will be an experience that should not be missed.
July is rounded off with Broadway vet Christia Mantzke, singing some of her favorite songs from her 30 year career. From early Cole Porter to Andrew Lloyd Webber, the evening’s selections will keep you humming, while her stories from a life frequently on the road are sure to make you laugh.
August begins with the return of Glenn Rosenblum and an evening of showstoppers. Glenn has some special guests joining him. Returning for the third time this summer will be the always delightful Alix Korey. Alongside Alix will be Leslie Stevens and David Engel.
Ms. Stevens originated the role of Anne in LA CAGE AUX FOLLES and has appeared in a wide range of shows including INTO THE WOODS, VICTOR/VICTORIA and DAMN YANKEES.
Mr. Engel also appeared in the original production of LA CAGEAUX FOLLES as well as the Broadway production of SEUSSICAL: THE MUSICAL. Other productions include CRAZY FOR YOU, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN and THE ADDAMS FAMILY. It promises to be another fun evening with Glenn and friends.
Next up on August 10 is Lisa Vroman. She made her Broadway debut in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ASPECTS OF LOVE and starred on Broadway, in Los Angeles and San Francisco as Christine Daaé in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. Ms. Vroman also holds the distinction of being the first to play both Fantine and Cosette in LES MISÉRABLES. One critic wrote, “Vroman has a voice that’s more ballsy than an angel, but with such unimaginable suppleness, fluidity and range that time stops when she opens her mouth.” This promises to be a memorable evening.
On August 17, the series is presenting a very special evening starring Mark Evans. He has a very impressive list of Broadway and West End credits that include: MRS. DOUBTFIRE, WAITRESS, THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG, WICKED, THE BOOK OF MORMON, GHOST THE MUSICAL, OKLAHOMA!, THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, I MARRIED AN ANGEL, ME AND MY GIRL, MARY POPPINS, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, FINIAN’S RAINBOW and SPAMALOT. I told you it was impressive! He will be performing HIDE & SEEK, a play he wrote which is, in his own words, dedicated to anyone who seeks to bring their authentic self to the surface. This is a must for anyone who is a friend of or a member of the LGBTQ family.
The season wraps up on August 24 with a special evening of songs performed by several cast members from CVRep’s outstanding production of ONCE. But more of this in another article later next month.
So there it is….a summer of amazing entertainment right here in our own backyard. As a true theatre-lover myself, I have had a blast so far this summer and there is still so much more to come. I urge you to take advantage of this great entertainment and grab your seats while you can!
Go to CVREP.org to buy tickets or for further information.