As you wander through the internet, looking for your favorite theaters to announce their 2020-21 playbills, you generally get notices that theaters are closed until further notice. But do not fret--the current health crisis has created new methods of offering performances for your pleasure, and YouTube is the place to be.
Lakeshore Players and Molly Weibel, for example, have created Quarantine Cabaret, a series of videos featuring some of their performers
offering short interludes of song and substance. Maggie Koebele appears in the first episode, singing the standard After You’ve Gone, and Forget About the Boy, the latter from the stage version of Thoroughly Modern Millie. The performance is satisfying, but one suggestion to the performer: Take a look at other performers who’ve done After You’ve Gone with some pizazz, specifically Leland Palmer in the movie All That Jazz. The tune needs a lot more energy than it gets here.
Pizazz is certainly a part of Scott Ragan’s performance! Clearly, he’s found his inner Billy Porter when he sings the melancholy Only in New York, also from Thoroughly Modern Millie, complete with a series of costumes he removes as the song progresses. Swinging his hips and flailing his arms, his rendition of Pippin’s Simple Joys is pure energy. I’d love to see what he could do with the title song from Dreamgirls.
Other episodes offer something different: Irena Flury offers a fabulous rendition of The Little Mermaid’s Part of this World in German; Ben Rubinstein and Antonia Kramer Perez present the little-known Gershwin tune, Will You Remember Me? Anne Elizabeth Brown swings through a delicious interpretation of Ain’t We Got Fun, followed by a Jacques Brel styled delivery of Kander and Ebb’s Colored Lights from The Rink.
In a change from songfests, Wendy Short-Hays offers an episode of The Grandy Show. In this satire on Julia Child and Martha Stewart, she shares her mother’s secret recipe for cinnamon toast. Everything from washing her hands to mispronouncing ingredients and opening jars is enacted in slapstick style, although the material demands that Short-Hays take it further over-the-top. I sincerely hope she creates more sequences of The Grandy Show, because there’s opportunity for a terrific series here!
Lakeshore Players’ Quarantine Cabaret is a very clever means of offering performance art in a unique venue. New episodes appear on various locations, such as YouTube on Fridays. They ask for donations to keep the project going. Quarantine Cabaret is a gem!