On July 24th, 2009 Ford Theatres launches the Upright Cabaret ‚Äôs ‚ÄúWicked‚ÄĚ Summer Nights with Eden Espinosa‚Äôs ‚ÄúME‚ÄĚ. Chris Bratten, musical director and Renaissance man organizes the show from the seat as the pianist. Singer and songwriter, Audra Mae niece of Judy Garland is ready to set the tone as the opening act. Eden Espinosa the longest running ‚ÄėElphaba‚Äô in ‚ÄúWicked‚ÄĚ history, performance reveals songs from her heart. Grammy Award-Winner and Decca recording artist, Paula Cole later steps in on the piano. A personal touch of the performing artists gives all a sense of actually being at the show.
As my guest and I enter the gates to the Ford Theatres we head up the stairs, picnic basket in hand, just in time for the bells clamoring to the crowd to take their seats. As we round the corner we see the outdoor amphitheater, which encompasses a casual setting of theatre seating up to an open stage with an exquisite hilly California terrain backdrop. While awaiting the performance my guest and I prepare our meats, cheeses, fruits and wine as most of the audience converses with their neighbor. Noticing the limited seating space I would refrain from bringing food the next time around and simply partaking in wine during the show. As we finish arranging the platters, the lights dim.
Audra Mae takes the stage expecting a family or musical similarity to her aunt, Judy Garland I am taken back as there is no resemblance. Audra Mae with her California style blond do and eclectic music, leaves disappointment at first. As her energetic performance continues, one sees her eloquent choice of words as she switches genres her voice becomes lightly pleasant. Concluding the opening act, Eden Espinosa accepts the mic.
Eden Espinosa‚Äôs "ME" almost sold out the show as few seats were remaining. Her show included various genres as well. After the first song, the guitarist has technical difficulties and she ends up entertaining us with comedic improv. As she sings, "Defying Gravity" the audience is enamored by her voice as she casts us away to a lovely dream world. As she introduces Paula Cole to the stage the audience claps in excitement.
Paula Cole‚Äôs piece is right on par. As she sings "Me", the audience sees her unveil the very soul of her inner being. Her performance is short, but sweet. Longing for more of her songs, she exits the stage.
The main act Eden Espinosa finishes off the night with a talented multi-faceted show.
The Upright Cabaret redefines cabaret for the new generation as producers Chris Issaacson and Shane Scheel link live acts of the latest Broadway and Hollywood. Upright Cabaret started off in West Hollywood and has recently spread to Palm Springs, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Avalon and New York City.
If you are interested in attending one of
Upright Cabaret‚Äôs shows, click here.
The pictures are courtesy of Google images.