After Dark Cabaret

After Dark Cabaret

Cast members of La Cage aux Folles
Arizona Broadway Theatre, Peoria, AZ, February 7, 2020
Reviewed by Lynn Timmons Edwards

Kurtis Overby

It was delightful to welcome the irreverent but oh-so-funny Kurtis Overby (pictured) back as the host of Arizona Broadway Theatre (ABT) After Dark Cabaret, which happens once during the run of each of their main stage shows. Pianist Josh Condon was in his element at the keyboard and began with a stunning jazz arrangement of “When You Wish Upon a Star” that flowed from melodic to intense improv and back again. After Overby did his duty touting the 2020 upcoming season, he began to introduce the performers, all of whom were strong singer/actors who chose numbers well suited to their talent. This was the best After Dark Cabaret I have seen at ABT.

Alexandra Carter, who played Anne in La Cage, chose “Love Will Come and Find Me Again.” Having just been introduced to the song by Laura Osnes, its originator, in last week’s review, I could appreciate Alexandra’s rendition and she made me believe that Bandstand is a show she could book as she matures. Eduardo Uribe seemed perfectly suited to the modern patter song “The Entertainer” from Naked Boys Singing, as did Seana Nicol with the high-belt challenge “Life of the Party” from Wild Party.  The one duet in the show came from Cody Petit and the very talented Michelle Lemon, who sang an intense “Bad Idea” from Waitress. They had a great time together and were well-rehearses and had the breathy chemistry to nail the number.

Kat Gold is a unique performer. She was cast as Jacqueline in the show, and she chose a bold interpretation of Sondheim’s “Losing My Mind” for the cabaret. She started it perfectly straight but then actually had a mental meltdown within the song without losing any vocal control. The cast’s most experienced cabaret performer, Seth Tucker, sauntered to the stage, drink in hand, to sing (against type) “Straight White Male.” He exudes talent with a combination of comic timing, vocal prowess, and just a dash of personal vulnerability when he confronts an audience. He and Overby shared some of their showbiz history, which added to the moment.

Condon had no trouble accompanying D.J. Hersh on “This is Not Over Yet” (Parade) despite Overby’s thanking the gods he didn’t have to play it. Hersh showed off his vocal dynamics and never missed a lyric.

Izzy Arrieta used his nerves and naïveté to his advantage with Dear Evan Hansen’s “For Forever.”  Sometimes the Equity actors cast in the leads opt not to do After Dark Cabaret. But the audience appreciated the generosity of Michael Ursua’s tribute to Jerry Herman with “Kiss Her Now” from Dear World. He was a terrific Albin/Zaza. With his relaxed Broadway baritone and as the star of the show, he was the perfect choice for the cabaret’s 11th hour.  Following Ursua would not have been easy if it weren’t for the hysterical and high energy “Los Pinguinos” sung by Chris Hendricks. Overby led the audience in “Happy Birthday” to Hendricks to close out the very entertaining hour. The Cage aux Folles runs at ABT through March 22.

Lynn Timmons Edwards

Lynn writes and performs themed cabaret shows based on the songs of the Great American Songbook throughout Arizona. She has had three short plays produced in the Theatre Artists Studio Festival of Summer Shorts and is working on a full length play, "Fairy," based on the life of Mary Russell Ferrell Colton, a founder of the Museum of Northern Arizona. In addition to writing and singing, Lynn plays bridge and tennis and enjoys traveling with her husband and artistic companion, Bob. Born in Ohio, Lynn is a graduate of Denison University (BA), Arizona State University (MPA) and has lived in Arizona since 1977.