Who cannot recognize the genius of a songwriter who can translate real life into music? This weekend at the Chanticleer Theater, the music of Stephen Sondheim is the focus of the latest Cabaret. The purpose of the Cabaret is to continue with raising additional funds for the theater.
Combining interesting facts about Stephen Sondheim's life between 23 musical selections from various production makes for a unique entertaining evening. Participants in this Cabaret are Karrin Jones Dignoti, Chris Ebke, Jackie Kappes, Sara Mattix, D. Laureen Pickle, Sarah Query, Jon Turnbeaugh, Jonathan A. Wilhoft, and accompanist Meg Latta. Blending the biographical aspects with Sondheim's lyrics and music beautifully creates a musical collage into this program.
Naturally, everyone has a favorite in this variety show. The opening number from The Frogs was perfect for explaining this production to the audience while combining the comedy and musical abilities of each performer with the expectations upon the audience. Certain songs were snippets of the musicals The Frogs, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, and Company which told the story through acting as well as the song. These were unquestionably well-planned and perfectly matched the personalities and vocal ranges and demands along with excellent acting from the performers.
For me, "Sunday" from Sunday in the Park with George was glorious. The eight individual voices joined in harmonies that truly complemented the entire company. Meg Latta was outstanding as the accompanist perfectly setting the mood and tempo for each selection. Also, the sound system was well balanced while still not be overwhelming for all the singers.
With a community theater, what is special about these organizations is to witness a particular performer grow in their ability and learn how to showcase their talent. That is unquestionably the case for Chris Ebke who is a mature and confidently polished performer now. His talents have truly added to the value of the Chanticleer community.
The show continues through Sunday with a 2 p.m. performance at the Chanticleer Theater located at 830 Franklin Ave. in Council Bluffs. Tickets are $25 which includes appetizers and a glass of wine. For tickets, call (712) 323-9955 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This production is just a taste of future Sondheim performances at Chanticleer with Follies opening in the spring this year.
This show of Sondheim, Our Time: The Songs of Stephen Sondheim is relaxing, enjoyable, humorous, entertaining, and just a snapshot into a musical legend of Sondheim. This Chanticleer production is outstanding entertainment with delicious delicacies. What a wonderful treat for the entire family!