By Wicker Van Orsdel
Cabaret Night for the Des Moines Metro Opera (DMMO) June 10 was a stellar event! I must admit, I was a bit apprehensive about doing the DMMO Cabaret Night in a new venue, but my fears were unwarranted. The Des Moines Social Club at the Kirkwood was rockin’. This was the seventh season for the Cabaret. It has evolved into a kickoff event for DMMO’s Summer Opera Festival. We featured a diverse group of singers from DMMO’s apprentice artist program, which boasts the brightest and best talents from all over the country.
This show allows these performers to sing songs apart from the opera, and they went from the hauntingly beautiful to the raucously hilarious. The audience went wild for Christopher Nelson’s rendition of “The Sensitive Song” from the racy musical “Cops.” Laura Sauer made drunkenness an art form with her version of “The Tipsy Aria” and Sara Ann Mitchell’s “Glitter and be Gay” showed us how much a soprano uses those abdominal muscles! A-MAZ-ING! (Note to self, time to break out the ‘ab roller.’) We filled two shows with delighted audiences. The second seating’s audience was a bit more convivial (I suspect the longer cocktail hour), but both were effusive with compliments and praise for the show.
Following the second seating, we hosted an after party in the Kirkwood Lounge. Leo Skeffington, who is on the DMMO board, had his band set up in there. He plays a mean piano! The crowd was in a booty-shaking mood and everybody was hitting on all cylinders until closing time. You ROCK Leo! This was a great addition. (I just wish I had worn my sensible shoes; my feet felt like bad choices.)
I had the privilege to emcee this truly too-much-fun event. I loved having the opportunity to perform with these talented singers. I also give special thanks to Richard Cordova who accompanied me on my “I Am What I Am” number (no, it is not the Popeye song) and to Scott Parry, musical director; Kevin Jones and Leslie Garman, event chairs; and to the Des Moines Social Club and Kirkwood Lounge. Mission: accomplished.
DMMO is busily preparing for its much anticipated summer festival, June 24-July 17. The operas this season are “La Boheme” (think “Rent”) “Dialogue of the Carmelites” (think guillotine) and “Don Pasquale” (think Anthony Wiener without the Twitter account). And remember these two basic tenets of opera; The tenor always gets the girl, and the hero or heroine must sing til their last dying breath! (Don’t die with the music still in you!) Get thee to the opera and get some culture!
Check out the pics and see how much fun we had at Cabaret Night Live. Photos are courtesy of Daily Life Photography. Ciao for now…