Palm Springs News: March/April 2015

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The season is upon us, so there is a lot to cover, starting with the Jazz and Cabaret Supper Club Series. Presented by Bill Lanese Entertainment and Vicky’s of Santa Fe in Indian Wells, the series is off and running and continues with Joanne Tatham in New York Soundtrack 3/9 & 10, followed by Wesla Whitfield and Mike Greensill with Best of the Great American Songbook 3/30 & 31. The Monday dinner shows are at 8 pm and the Tuesday cocktail shows are at 4 pm.

In addition its regular weekly events scheduled at The Purple Room, like the Sunday hit, The Judy Show starring Michael Holmes, the calendar will include, among others, Jason Weber’s Piano Bar and Sing-Along Happy Hour Show several times a week, Matt Alber 3/7, and the return of Palm Springs Sings… Round Two 3/20. Last year’s winner, Dion Khan, did his show there last month and, judging by the turnout, will likely be returning as well.

Singer Phillip Moore is hosting the new Backstage Open Mic at Hunter’s every Thursday with David Ring at the keyboard. Tropical has The Derrik Lewis Trio and/or Duo in the Coral Seas Lounge on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and their Copa Room is offering Molly Ringwald 3/6 & 7, Caroline Rhea 3/20 & 21, Heather McDonald 3/27 & 28, and Faith Prince for one show 4/18. More TBA. All are presented by Reaction Productions based in Palm Springs.

The Copa Room also has Lipstick with drag personalities and singers every Thursday night hosted by Bella Da Ball.

Threesixty North has a Sunday dinner revue called Luck Be a Lady starring Francesca Amari and Darci Daniels, as well as Applause Wednesdays Cabaret Open Mic with myself hosting and Joel Baker on piano—performing to packed houses, I might add. I also host Cabaret on the Green Open Mic every Saturday at AJ’s on the Green with Wayne Abravanel on piano, which is packing them in as well. They’ve added Dining with The Divas on the last Tuesday of the month for two shows hosted by Sasha Scarlett and celebrity female impersonators and the opening night sold out.

Alibi Azul’s Bella Da Ball Cabaret Variety Revue continues Tuesdays, Tommy Dodson in the piano bar Wednesdays and Thursdays, Fleet Easton Presents is Fridays, there are one-nighters in the showroom, and Diva Denise Carter is in the upstairs lounge on Saturdays. Oscar’s Café has a new stage, lighting and sound, and is booking both local talents—like Charles Herrera, Jerome Elliott, Eve Holmes and Rebecca Clark—plus out of town acts such as Carnival Cabaret hosted by Gypsy from the long-running show at La Cage aux Folles in L.A. Under new management, Legends of Palm Springs offers a piano bar with Lori Donato, Studio One11 has cabaret singers on Fridays, and Wang’s of the Desert has Sunday Cabaret on the patio with local singers. Other entertainment venues are Woody’s and Melvyn’s at Ingleside Inn. A fire at Bernie’s Supper Club has them down, but not out. Watch for its return soon. There’s a rumor they may acquire the adjoining space for a much-needed expansion of the piano lounge and bar.

Annenberg Theater at Palm Springs Art Museum brings in Lucy & Desi: A Home Movie, featuring Lucie Arnaz 3/2, Spencer Day, who is sold out, 3/18, West Side Story to Wicked: Broadway with the Callaways—that’s Liz and Ann Hampton—3/21 (also sold out), Donna Theodore 4/8, you guessed it…sold out, and Sam Harris in The Best of Sam Harris, which will be sold out by the time you read this. Maybe they need to think about adding a second show, perhaps a day-after matinee at a lower ticket price for us poor folk?

McCallum Theatre has a full line-up. To name just a few: Steve Tyrell 3/5, Johnny Mathis 3/7 & 8, Broadway’s Nice Work If You Can Get It 3/13-15, The Ten Tenors 3/20-22, Linda Eder 3/25, Dame Edna 3/30 – 4/4, Melissa Manchester 4/9, and Michael Childers presents the annual One Night Only benefitting Jewish Family Services of the Desert. The cast includes Lucie Arnaz, Brent Barrett, Shoshana Bean, Lou Christie, Tony DeSare, Loretta Devine, Bridget Everett, Lesley Gore, Hunter Ryan Herdlicka, Freda Payne, Valarie Pettiford, Gary Shaw, Jane Siberry, Jake Simpson, Von Smith, Rufus Wainwright, Mary Wilson and Elaine Paige and tickets start at $75, a bargain considering the stellar talent.

Our local theater companies have some must-sees this season. Palm Canyon Theatre has The Secret Garden 3/20-29 and Man of La Mancha 4/17-26. Desert Ensemble Theatre Company has the much anticipated Jerome Elliott in Fred Barton’s 1984 cabaret show Miss Gulch Returns 4/17-19, 24-26. Desert Theatre Works at Arthur Newman Theatre presents Nunsense with Rosanne Hopkins 3/6-15, then Psycho Beach Party 4/10-19, and my Sundays in Summer cabaret series begins its sixth season there in April with line-up to be announced soon. CV Reparatory brings La Gringa to its stage 3/4-22. Other news is David Green from Musical Theatre University at Rancho Mirage High School is hosting the only local radio show dedicated to Coachella Valley arts and entertainment featuring show news and interviews with theater and cabaret artists. It airs Thursdays 6 to 7 PM on KPTR 1450 AM.

Find moreshows, audition notices and more in my Life Is a Cabaret Newsletter on Mondays at

Les Michaels

Les Michaels is a singer, host, and producer known from his Cabaret Open Mic Mondays at Vermont for seven years and Guest Stars Cabaret in the Ten20 at Belage Hotel for three years. He moved to Palm Springs seven years ago and hosts Applause Wednesdays Cabaret Open Mic at Club Threesixty North in Palm Springs and Cabaret on the Green at AJ’s on the Green in Cathedral City. His Sundays in Summer Cabaret Series in the Arthur Newman Theatre at the Joslyn Center in Palm Desert is in its sixth season.