One has to be fortunate and talented in order to keep topping previous successes. How Cabaret Theatre West keeps doing it is very evident in their current production, “Hooray For the USA!” now on stage at the Indian Wells Theater, in Palm Desert, CA.
The show, directed and choreographed by multi-talented Trini Garza, along with co-director/choreographer Doug Graham, pays loving tribute in song and dance to America that is set against a series of brilliant, evocative visuals, designed by Leanna Bonamici. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the audience, inspired by the visuals and the songs, called their travel agents the next day to begin planning for trips to the cities and states featured in the production.
Producers Jane Friedlander Tracey (an ex-Broadway producer) and Dr. Audrey Reed, both dedicated theatre professionals, have successfully partnered Cabaret Theatre West into its third season. The desert-based company was a hit organization right from its first production entitled “Decades”, which was performed at the Hyatt Grand Champions hotel in February of 2010. The musical journey of Cabaret Theatre West has been on the ascendancy ever since.
In a show of this type where the ensemble is the star and there are thirty-nine songs and numbers in the program, it’s always tough to single out performers, however, several songs and numbers deserve mentioning. “Moonlight in Vermont” by Natalie Gilbert, “Old Cape Cod” with Sarah Hagar, “New York, New York” from ‘On the Town’ with Ryan Marsden, Cliff Plummer, and Raul Valenzuela, “New York, New York” sung by Jeff Stewart, a haunting rendition “Autumn in New York” sung by Kaley Smith, and “Carolina in the Morning” performed by 12 year-old Ethan Water, and 9 year-old Taylor Schlict, are just some of the toe-tapping tunes from Act I.
In Act II, the songs and numbers like “Chicago (That Toddlin’ Town) by Cliff Plummer, and “Chicago Is” (a great Sinatra number) by Jeff Stewart, and “Meet Me In St, Louis, Louie” performed by Raul Valenzuela and company, and “Georgia on My Mind” sung by Ryan Marsden, and a clever rendition of “Margaritaville” by the entire company, plus a rousing arrangement of “Oklahoma” by the company of performers, along with an evocative four-part harmony rendition of “California Dreamin’” by Theresa Jewett, Sarah Hagar, Ryan Marsden, and Raul Valenzuela is first-rate. The entire company needs to be recognized as much for their professionalism as for their entertaining presentations.
The vocal arrangements by Doug Graham, some of which, feature four-part harmony by the company, are one of the many highlights of the entire evening. Graham also choreographs the dance routines, which are performed with energy and pizzazz. There is no doubt about it. Cabaret Theatre West is in its full musical stride.
Next up for the group is a show entitled “Broadway Tonight”. The title tells it all. It’s the best and brightest of Broadway music, and it opens on Friday, April 6th, in the Indian Wells Theater and performs, April 7, 12,13, 27 and 28, at 7 pm. Call 760-568-0024 for reservations and ticket information.