Full-blown, hours-long musicals aren't for everyone. For those with short attention spans or a tendency to fall asleep in dark spaces, musical theater can be a daunting evening out. That's why the theater gods created cabaret, a less structured, more interactive way to bring musical numbers to the masses.
As part of its Cabaret Series, the Lake Dillon Theatre Company presents "Broadway Then" in the fall and "Broadway Now" in the spring. The fall show highlights favorites from the Golden Age of Broadway, and the spring performance introduces the audience to new hits from the stages of New York.
"It's a wonderful way for the audience to connect to what's going on on Broadway," said Selah Grace, one of the singers performing in this spring's production of "Broadway Now." "You get the whole spectrum of Broadway with 'Broadway Then' and 'Broadway Now.'"
"Broadway Now" plays for one weekend only, today through Sunday, at the Lake Dillon Theatre.
"All the best new shows open in New York each spring, which is
the theater award voting season," said Chris Alleman, Lake Dillon producing artistic director, in a news release. "This spring cabaret concert introduces our community to the innovative and exciting new works on Broadway each year."
The first act of this year's "Broadway Now" will feature tunes from musicals that are currently on Broadway, including "Phantom of the Opera," "The Book of Mormon" and "Annie," Grace said.
"The second half is all Abba music," Grace said. "It's kind of a blast back to the '80s. We have a band, so it's definitely going to be toe-tapping."
"I think the variety of the music is what makes it fun," said Kelly Renoux, another "Broadway Now" performer. "We get to hand select things, so it's things that show off the actors' talents best, and again, who doesn't love Abba."
The four-member cast - Grace, Renoux, Brittany Jeffery and Andrew Tebo, who holds down the fort as the single gentleman - sings in a cabaret style.
"We introduce each song and talk about where they come from," Grace said. "There's no structure to it."
Grace said it's fun for the performers to choose their own repertoire and explain the songs and their meanings to the audience in their own words.
"It helps the audience connect to it," she said. "You take it out of context and make it personal, and the audience really enjoys that."
Though the Lake Dillon Theatre Company's full-scale, long run productions drive its calendar each year, the Cabaret Series also has its niche in the schedule.
"These are for fun," Grace said. "I think that the plays are wonderful, but this is a chance for us to let our hair down for the patrons, singing music that we know and love. Chris always tries to pick something that's new for them and something that they know and love. It's more laid back than the full productions. You get to participate in this more because it's more of a concert setting."
"For me, it's my opportunity to kind of have fun on stage," Renoux said. "I have a full-time job and life outside of the theater, so it's a chance to get on stage and connect with the audience. The camaraderie and the group of people - it's a fun evening to kind of enjoy yourself and not have to think too hard, just sit back and enjoy some music."