After a month and a half presenting a new cabaret night at the Salt Lake Acting Company, Cast Party SLC will move to a new time and place at Club Manhattan. Nova Starr will be hostess and emcee for the show’s opening night in the new space.
“The Salt Lake Acting Company has been incredibly generous in letting us get started, offering expertise, encouragement and support,” said Kevin Christensen, musical director and Cast Party SLC collaborator. “My partner in cabaret, Salt Lake Acting Company alum Jacob Johnson, and I created and presented a late evening cabaret show this past April, as an alternative to Saturday night entertainment. Cast Party SLC will still be held every Saturday, but will start promptly at 7:00 p.m., featuring a 6:00 p.m. buffet at the historic Club Manhattan.”
After a successful month run at the Salt Lake Acting Company theatre in the Marmalade district, it became clear that the show needed to start earlier to attract a dinner and live entertainment audience, said Christensen. Salt Lake City audiences, he noted, prefer earlier entertainment, compared to late evening options found in New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. And Club Manhattan was the perfect venue.
“Performers like Diane Krall, Frank Sinatra and the USO tours have performed at Club Manhattan,” said Christensen. “The nightclub has a history of great entertainers visiting downtown Salt Lake City”
“Saturday’s Voyeur will soon be starting at the Salt Lake Acting Company and if Cast Party SLC was to blossom and grow, a new location was needed,” Christian added, referring to the theatre company’s annual, premier comedy/musical extravaganza that lampoons the current state of local and national cultural and political clashes.
Cast Party SLC will debut at Club Manhattan, featuring Sirens Of The Stage, a benefit for The Make A Wish Foundation presented by the local performer’s appreciation group, The Darlings Who Dine. Featured soloists will include Jennifer Tarasevich, Erica Richardson, Mindy Lilyquist and Jen Marco Handy. A $10 cover charge and additional charge for the buffet will be taken at the door.
“I’ve been practicing with these singers and we have Kandyce Marie Gabrielsen who sang the title song in Aida and Holly Jo Samuelson, who sang the part of Fantine in Les Miserables on Broadway,” said Christensen. “I think all of the nine singers who are performing are extremely talented entertainers.”
Cabaret is a cross between musical entertainment, jazz and comedy, where interaction with the audience is expected and welcomed. Originating in Paris in the 1880s, cabaret blossomed in many European cities. By 1910 it had made way over to United States and was a regular feature in entertainment cafes and dinner hotspots. Usually held in the evening in a café setting with food and libations, the talent usually performs among the tables and patrons, which gives the performance an intimate feel.
“Salt Lake doesn’t have a cabaret culture,” said Christensen, known around Salt Lake City as the Piano Man SLC. “Cabaret is its own beast. It’s neither theatre and not jazz, but it is both.”
Bob Fosse’s acclaimed Academy Award film Cabaret (based on the musical of the same name) featured what a 1932 Berlin cabaret might look like. The movie’s main action is interspersed with such cabaret acts as torch songs, satirical sketches, and transvestite acts.
“A drag show is kind of like cabaret. Maybe that is why the community is attracted to this form of entertainment,” Christensen added.
Along with the club’s history, Christensen selected Club Manhattan for Cast party SLC’s new home because the recently-remodeled interior includes a new sound system and new lighting. Also, its new plush, crushed velvet tables and chairs complement the club’s1940s style, which is reminiscent of a Manhattan night club design.
“It is the most elegant club in Salt Lake City and I am thrilled to have a show of this magnitude in the club, because this club is perfect for it,” said owner Scott Maccagno, who envisioned the remodel to complement upscale, live performances on a stage with instruments. He added that the club had been deliberately designed to look like a New York night club.
Club Manhattan offers a full bar with coat check and valet parking, a dance floor and VIP lounge. Evening attire is suggested for attendees. Le Croissant will cater a full buffet for Cast Party SLC Saturdays, beginning at 6:00 p.m.
The cabaret will begin promptly at 7:00 p.m. and end at 9:00 p.m., with salsa lessons and a Latin dance starting after the show.
Club Manhattan is located at 5 E 400 S in downtown Salt Lake City. For more information call (801) 364-7651 or visit castpartyslc.com. To schedule auditions, email [email protected] or call Kevin Christensen at (801) 328-3627.