Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cabaret Conference Kicks Off at O'Neil Aug. 1

Performances Feature Marilyn Maye, Steve Blanchard, Amanda McBroom, Jeremiah James, Veanne Cox, Gretchen Cryer, Loni Ackerman, Christine Andreas

The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s 2012 Cabaret & Performance Conference runs Aug. 1- 11.

It re-examines, redefines, and revitalizes the cabaret art form for the 21st Century. Over an intense two-week period, the Conference provides hands-on guidance and instruction to a select group chosen by application and invitation, as well as the development of special “Cabaret Theater” projects with the top names in theater today.  This year’s conference will be highlighted by a special mainstage event on Friday, Aug. 3 with “AC-CENT-TCHU-ATE THE POSITIVE”, a  Johnny Mercer Celebration, created with the support of the Johnny Mercer Foundation, featuring performances from all the Conference artists.

This year’s featured guest artists include solo acts by the timeless and resurgent Marilyn Maye, whose performance venues have ranged from the renowned Rose Hall at The Lincoln Center to more than 70 appearances on the Johnny Carson Show; Loni Ackerman, one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's great leading ladies, having starred on Broadway in the original productions of Evita, CATS, and Sunset Boulevard; and Christine Andreas, fresh off her year-long tour starring as Jacqueline in the Tony & Olivier Award-winning Production of La Cage aux Folles starring Kelsey Grammer and Douglas Hodge.

Other special guests include the O’Neill’s own Penny Fuller, a Tony and Drama Desk Award-nominated actress, who also returns for her eighth season as Artistic Associate; Jeremiah James, recently cast as the mysterious El Gallo in the Off-Broadway production of The Fantasticks; playwright, lyricist, and actress Gretchen Cryer in a sequel to 2011’s Off Broadway hit I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road; Amanda McBroom, performer and lyricist whose international appearances include Carnegie Hall, FORD Amphitheatre in L.A, The Kennedy Center, Angel Recital Hall in Sydney, and Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall in Taiwan; and Steve Blanchard, who starred as the Beast in Beauty and the Beast for a ten-year run on Broadway; and stage and screen actress and Tony Award nominee together with Veanne Cox, whose stage credits include Company, SMILE, and Caroline, or Change, in 40 Naked Women, A Monkey, and Me - In concert.

Joining Artistic Director Michael Bush and Fuller in guiding the Conference are Artistic Associates Barry Kleinbort and Donna Trinkoff. Kleinbort is a composer, director and lyricist who has received the prestigious Edward Kleban Foundation Award and ten Manhattan Association of Cabaret (MAC) Awards, among many others; Trinkoff is Artistic Director of Amas Musical Theatre and a producer of the Off-Broadway hit Silence! The Musical.

2012 Cabaret & Performance Conference Lineup
(Schedule and artists subject to change)

Wednesday, August 1
8:00 pm – Cabaret Opening Night Ceremonies
Michael Bush, Artistic Director, hosts a very special opening night complete with sneak previews of special guest artists.
General Admission: FREE

Thursday, August 2

8:00 pm – Marilyn Maye - Special Guest Artist Performance!

“She can belt, and sing ballads with the kind of warmth that makes your heart smile. She has a theatrical flair that captivates and enthralls.”

-Rex Reed, New York Observer

General Admission: $35; $30 (members)

Friday, August 3
8:00 pm – “AC-CENT-TCHU-ATE THE POSITIVE” - A Johnny Mercer Celebration
An evening celebrating the legendary Johnny Mercer, featuring Penny Fuller, Marilyn Maye, Amanda McBroom, and more. Made possible with support from the Johnny Mercer Foundation. Admission: $40; $35 (members)

Saturday, August 4
8:00 pm – Still Getting My Act Together - In concert
Written by Gretchen Cryer & Nancy Ford
The sequel to the Off Broadway hit, I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road, starring the fantastic Gretchen Cryer and Sheri Sanders.
General Admission: $40; $35 (members)

Sunday, August 5
6:00 pm – 2012 O’Neill Follies
An endlessly entertaining, two-act evening featuring new cabaret sets from the best and brightest, including Leanne Borghesi, Jeremiah James, Susan Winter, and the O’Neill’s own Penny Fuller. General Admission: $35; $30 (members)

Tuesday, August 7
8:00 pm – Loni Ackerman in Next to Ab-normal
In this new cabaret show, Next to Ab-Normal, Broadway regular Loni Ackerman recalls personal stories of her unusual New York upbringing and revisits songs she sang in New York hits like “Starting Here, Starting Now.”
General Admission: $35; $30 (members)

Wednesday, August 8

8:00 pm – Christine Andreas - In Concert

Featuring 2012 Cabaret Junior Fellows

Enjoy sights and sounds from the O’Neill’s young cabaret stars, together with the talented Christine Andreas.

General Admission: $40; $35 (members)

Thursday, August 9
8:00 pm – 2012 Cabaret Fellows
Join the talented class of 2012 Cabaret Fellows for an evening of exciting new cabaret and other special projects.
General Admission: $35; $30 (members)

Friday, August 10
8:00 pm – 40 Naked Women, A Monkey, and Me - In Concert
Written by Jonathan Brielle
Come see the phenomenal Veanne Cox in this stirring musical extravaganza, written by Jonathan Brielle, featuring a guest eight-piece orchestra.
General Admission: $35; $30 (members)

Saturday, August 11
Join our Cabaret Conference Fellows and Guest Artists for a final gala evening that caps off a wonderful week, featuring a little bit of everything and a little bit of everyone! Post-show reception to follow.
General Admission: $45; $40 (members)
Table seating for two: $60; $50 (members)
Table seating for four: $220; $180 (members)

Table seating, including a bottle of wine, is available for each show. Cabaret tables for two are $50; $40 for members. Cabaret tables for four are $180; $140 for members. Most evenings close with a public “Open Mic” at Blue Gene’s Pub, featuring performances by Conference fellows, special guest artists, and O’Neill artistic and production staff.

All performances take place in the Dina Merrill Theater. Please call the O’Neill Box Office at 860-443-1238 or visit for reservations.

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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