The City Cabaret offers laid-back entertainment 

click to enlarge Left to right, City Cabaret members Corie Melaugh, Courtney Crouse, Charlie Monnot, and Chris Black.  mh
  • Left to right, City Cabaret members Corie Melaugh, Courtney Crouse, Charlie Monnot, and Chris Black. mh

Cristela Carrizales wants to eliminate artistic boundaries. Too often, the roles they are selected for and the audiences they’re cast to entertain restrict artists.

It’s from this frustration that The City Cabaret in Oklahoma City is born. “Because I’m a singer, I’ve always wanted to have a cabaret,” she said. “I’ve produced a couple in previous years, and they’ve always been well-attended. They’re a wonderful way for artists to connect with an audience and make personal decisions about the songs they sing.”

Cabarets call to mind a variety of things, ranging from performances and recitations to the racier stripteases and burlesques. However, what Carrizales wants to do is unique. It’s not a dinner theater, though there is a cash bar. City Cabaret, foremost, is an intimate musical experience that gives the artists control.

“When you’re an actor or musical theater person, you have to wait around for the role,” she said. “This way, the performers get to have control over the songs they connect with.”

City Cabaret will be held in the Oklahoma Shakespeare on the Paseo gallery space. The room is small, Carrizales said, but will comfortably hold 50-60 people. The setup is entirely created for and adaptable to the night’s crowd with seating arranged specifically for the event.

Opening weekend performers have been chosen, though most future show openings will be filled through open auditions, Carrizales said. Once selected, artists can select and perform their own material.

The group’s premier performance, which takes place April 17, tapped Renee Anderson, Charlie Monnot, Scott Hynes and Oklahoma City University voice professor Courtney Crouse.

The artists will have roughly three works each for what Carrizales expects to be a two-hour program. Ranging from Broadway hits to songbook favorites and a little bit of jazz, the acts have a big-show feel, but Carrizales said it’s all presented out of context.

“Eventually we’ll start doing scenes,” she said. “We’ll have jazz nights or scene nights or duet nights. We won’t always do Broadway.”

The goal is to attract the best talent that people know about but also give the young crowd a chance to grow. Carrizales also wants to give people a good time.

“It’ll be different than what people are used to here,” she said. “If you’re a person who loves musicals and Broadway songs, then you can relax and just experience the artists.”

Print headline: Cabaret clutch, The City Cabaret offers intimate, varied showcases that feature musical experiences that artists and audiences can connect with.

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