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March 25, 2014
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'Broadway Now' brings contemporary musical theater to Dillon

The Lake Dillon Theatre Company Cabaret Series continues its 20th anniversary season with its annual spring concert, “Broadway Now,” an evening celebrating contemporary musical theater. “Broadway Now” showcases the newest musicals and most successful revivals playing to Broadway audiences each season.

“Each spring, a slew of new musicals and musical revivals opens in New York,” said Chris Alleman, Lake Dillon Theatre Company producing artistic director. “(‘Broadway Now’) presents the music from these new shows, as well as music from some of the most popular shows that are still running in New York. It’s a chance for our community to experience the innovative and exciting entertainment on Broadway each year.”

New this year, “Broadway Now” will also celebrate the music of Stephen Sondheim, widely considered by critics and audiences to be among the most prolific contemporary musical theater composers of the 20th century.

“Stephen Sondheim reinvented musical theater for contemporary audiences,” Alleman said. “His musicals deconstruct the typical storytelling of the early shows. Sondheim experimented with new character types, nonlinear time frames and complex musical structures that reflected the exciting and usually very different themes of his shows. He’s an audience and critical favorite, for sure.”

Why cabaret?

“Cabaret as an art form is experiencing an American resurgence,” Alleman said. “We are excited to offer Summit County chances to be a part of what’s happening in places like New York and elsewhere.”

Originating in 19th century Paris, cabarets originally showcased poets and artists performing in tight spaces for audiences reveling in their one-of-a-kind comedy, burlesque and even sociopolitical satire. Today, cabaret is once again finding its footing among crowds seeking a more intimate performance experience.

Cabaret is different from a fully produced musical theater performance, or even a musical revue, because the performer herself or himself is part of the presentation.

Production manager Ben Whitmore, who is also featured in “Broadway Now,” puts it this way: “When a performer is in a musical production, he or she is playing a character. Even in a revue, they are portraying the persona of a character or even a character type. But in a cabaret performance, the performer selects the music based on the show’s theme or concept and often reimagines the song from his or her perspective. (Cabaret) is an intimate and exciting performance venue that often surprises the audiences or asks them to think about familiar music in new ways.”

The Lake Dillon’s Cabaret Series offers concerts throughout the year, celebrating the music of Broadway and beyond while introducing Summit County to local and New York-based artists in residence. “Broadway Now,” though, is a one-weekend-only event, with performances Thursday, March 27, through Sunday, March 30.

Performers include Benjamin Whitmore (“Scapin,” “Chicago”), Kelly Renoux (“Always Patsy Cline,” “I Love You Because”), Josh Blanchard (“Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Into the Woods”) and Ellen Kaye (“Chicago,” “Rocky Horror Show”). Newcomer Cameron Kinnear rounds out the company with music direction and accompaniment.

“‘Broadway Now’ is one of the things that makes the Lake Dillon Theatre Company special because it connects us with our audiences in an intimate way,” said Mari Geasair, the theater’s director of development. “It is a great chance for neighbors, family and friends to relax together and enjoy some great entertainment after a busy ski season.”

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The Summit Daily Updated Mar 25, 2014 06:42PM Published Mar 26, 2014 11:55AM Copyright 2014 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.