Venice Summer Cabaret Festival expands in second year
Venice Theatre is nearly doubling the number of acts featured in its second annual Summer Cabaret Festival, beginning July 18.
The event, which began last summer, gives local performers a chance to showcase their talents in different ways in the intimate setting of a cabaret theater.
This year’s festival will feature 21 different acts, up from last year’s 13, with a few returning to Pinky’s Cabaret, the name used for the Pinkerton Theatre during the festival.
Among the returning acts are singers Kim Kollar and Bobbi Eschenbach with musical director Michelle Kasanofsky, Eric Watters, Melissa Cripps and the provocative theatre troupe Random Acts. Some artists, including Alana Opie and Kristofer Geddie are back with new partners and themes.
But most of the shows that producer Allan Kollar has booked are new this year. Black Diamond Burlesque introduces its stripteases to the Venice audience; actor and web video producer Joey Panek explores the world of “Big Fish, Little Pond,” young musician and actor Eli Schildkraut highlights contemporary Broadway musical theater with some of his friends.
“This festival goes back to the basics with a variety of music and comedy in a nightclub setting,” Kollar said. “We found that our audiences loved the format and the performers did, too.” Kollar said he had to turn down some acts because of a lack of space.
Most shows will be presented twice, though in its inaugural year, the theater added performances for the most popular productions. The theater also has added some Tuesday and Wednesday performances as well as several late-night shows to accommodate more acts.
The festival begins at 8 p.m. Friday with Geddie sharing the stage with his “Ragtime” co-star Delores McKenzie in a show they call “Coloring Broadway.”
Tickets are $15 per show. For more information: 488-1115; venicestage.com
Here is a brief look at the rest of the productions.
8 p.m. July 18; 2 p.m. Aug. 3
Delores McKenzie and Kristofer Geddie, co-stars in Venice Theatre’s “Ragtime,” reunite for a revue of songs made famous by African Americans on Broadway.
“Smoke & Mirrors”
8 p.m. July 19-20
Kaitlyn Terpstra, a college acting student at SUNY Purchase in New York, and Mikal Mancini, a music major at University of Central Florida, present an evening of jazz piano and vocals.
“Did He Write That?”
2 p.m. July 20; 8 p.m. July 31
Popular Venice performer Eric Watters sings the music of Harry Warren, composer of “42nd Street,” “Jeepers Creepers,” “I Only Have Eyes for You” and more.
“Big Fish, Little Pond”
8 p.m. July 22, Aug. 1.
Actor, singer and web producer Joey Panek creates an album of pop and Broadway tunes in the course of his show, with special guests Christine Alexander and Scotty Felsenfeld.
“Crazy Ever After”
8 p.m. July 24, Aug. 2
Local actors Nancy Denton, Alana Opie and Gavin Esham look at all aspects of love in humorous and poignant ways.
“I Want It All”
8 p.m. July 25, Aug. 8
Kim Kollar, Bobbi Eschenbach and Michelle Kasanofsky are reunited with a new show focusing on songs about romantic desires and friendship.
Black Diamond Burlesque
8 and 10 p.m. July 26, Aug. 15
The popular Sarasota burlesque troupe brings its act to Venice Theatre with a rotating cast of performers in a cabaret-style revue.
“The Music of Your Life”
2 p.m. July 27
Stephen Ditchfield, leader of the Ditchfield Singers, presents an afternoon of songs by Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Michael Bublé and more.
“The Last 15 Years”
8 p.m. July 27, July 30
Young performers take over with music director Eli Schildkraut leading a program of songs by contemporary Broadway composers with his friends Jordan Boyer, Marissa Brotz, Emma Diner, Zach Herman and Solo Matelau.
Classic Country Cabaret
8 p.m. July 29
Alana Opie, who played Patsy Cline at the Manatee Players, goes country with a show of songs by female pioneers of country music
"Dorian and the Furniture"
8 p.m. Aug. 3
Dorian Boyd returns with his musician/singer father, Preston Boyd, for another night of mellow rock.
Vaudeville to Vegas
8 p.m. Aug. 6
Allen Kretschmar, who has had many leading stage roles in area theaters, performers a program that celebrates the glory years of vaudeville and the golden years of Las Vegas.
“Beyond the Chorus”
8 p.m. Aug. 7; 2 p.m. Aug. 17
Performers Robin Fernandez and Mark Sanders share stories and songs from their careers moving from the chorus to the spotlight.
"Where Have you Been?"
8 p.m. Aug. 9, 21
Actor and director Dennis Clark, who starred in "The Full Monty" and directed “The Drowsy Chaperone” and “Singin’ in the Rain” at Venice Theatre, shares stories and songs from his career performing everywhere but in New York.
“Bach to the Future”
2 p.m. Aug. 10, 8 p.m. Aug. 14
Musical director Bobby Brader presents a program of Baroque music and more.
8 p.m. Aug. 10, 19
Tim Fitzgerald and Scott Vitale, who co-starred in “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” at the Players Theatre, team up again for an original musical revue.
“An Evening of Inspiration”
8 p.m. Aug. 12
Venice Theatre alumna Alyssa Hunek returns home to share songs that inspired her through her bachelor’s degree in music performance and master’s in music therapy.
“Naughty and Nice”
8 p.m. Aug. 13, 17
Singer Melissa Cripps and pianist/singer Michelle Kasanofsky team up for some sweet and sassy music.
Random Acts “Mostly Naughty Musical”
8 p.m. Aug. 16, 8 p.m. Aug. 22 (rated PG-13), 11 p.m. Aug. 22 (rated R)
A cast of returning favorites and some newcomers present an odd, edgy and potentially offensive assortment of songs and sketches, under the direction of Kelly Wynn Woodland and music direction by Peter Madpak.
“Wouldn’t It Be Nice?”
8 p.m. Aug. 20, 24
Caitlyn Longstreet and Jason Ellis, two Venice Theatre regulars, present a program of comedy and music.
8 p.m. Aug. 23, 2 p.m. Aug. 24
Lyn Purmort, Kathryn Parks and Hannah Jae join voices to celebrate songs made popular by the most sensational singers of all time.