Three exceptional actor/singers pay tribute to the musical team that has razzle dazzled audiences since the 1960s in the cabaret revue Life Is a Cabaret: The Songs of Kander and Ebb, opening April 20 at Quality Hill Playhouse. Kander and Ebb’s sleek, sexy and sophisticated style translated such gritty subjects as pre-Hitler Germany, decadent 1920s America and a prison cell in a South American police state into successful Broadway musicals (Cabaret, 1966; Chicago, 1975; Kiss of the Spiderwoman, 1993; respectively). Director and arranger J. Kent Barnhart has designed the show to give audiences an appreciation of the duo’s remarkable career by selecting material from across their five-decade partnership, including their first song written together (“My Coloring Book” in 1962); songs from their last projects together (Steel Pier, 1997; The Visit, 1999; Chicago (film), 2002); and many of their standards (“All That Jazz,” “Maybe This Time,” “Cabaret,” “New York, New York”). Vocalists Stephanie Laws, Aurelie Roque and Tim Scott will be joined by Barnhart at the piano, Julian Goff on drums and Brian Wilson on bass for the revue’s three dozen sizzling songs.
Life Is a Cabaret runs through May 20 at Quality Hill Playhouse, 303 W. 10th Street, Kansas City, Mo. Single tickets are $29, with discounts for students, seniors and groups. For tickets, call 816-421-1700. To purchase tickets online or for more information, visit www.QualityHillPlayhouse.com.
About Kander and Ebb
Composer John Kander, a Kansas City native, was introduced to lyricist Fred Ebb in 1962. After working together on a few projects to determine if they could partner well, they opened their first Broadway show in 1965 – Flora the Red Menace with Liza Minelli in her Broadway debut. The following year they achieved arguably their greatest Broadway success with Cabaret; the film version was released in 1972 to further acclaim. In 1975 they opened Chicago on Broadway, and the show had a respectable run of two years. The show’s Broadway revival in 1996 was an even greater success and is still running today. The film version won the Best Picture Academy Award in 2002. Other successes include the Broadway musicals Woman of the Year (1981) and Kiss of the Spiderwoman (1992); the films Funny Lady (1975) and New York, New York (1977); and collaborations with Liza Minelli and Chita Rivera. Premieres of the partnership’s work continued even after Ebb’s death in 2004 with Broadway productions of Curtains in 2006 and The Scottsboro Boys in 2010.
About the Performers
Stephanie Laws earned her Master’s and post graduate performance certificate at UMKC’s Conservatory of Music. In 2004, she traded her classical repertoire for jazz, performing with her own combo at Benton’s in the Westin until its closing in November 2011. Laws returns to the Playhouse following her appearance in My Romance: The Songs of Rodgers and Hart earlier this year. www.stephanielaws.com
Aurelie Roque is making her QHP debut with this production. Previous credits include Evil Dead: The Musical (Egads! Theatre Company), The Rocky and Bullwinkle Horror Picture Show (KC Fringe Festival), multiple productions with The Coterie, and three years as an entertainer at Bar Natasha. www.aurelieroque.com
Tim Scott just completed an off-Broadway run at New Victory Theatre in The Coterie’s Lucky Duck. A popular Kansas City actor, Scott has performed at nearly every major theatre in town. Following this production he immediately returns to the Playhouse as “Pete” in Pete ’n’ Keely, and he returns to The Coterie this December for Shrek the Musical. www.timmyscott.com
J. Kent Barnhart has served as Executive Director of Quality Hill Productions since he founded the nonprofit theatre in 1995. Throughout his career, he has worked as pianist, musical director, stage director and/or producer for over 100 musicals, plays and cabaret revues.