By Dee Jae Cox
The history of Cabaret is said to have begun in 1881 with the opening of Le Chat Noir in Paris. The French word “Cabaret”, initially referred to any business that served liquor. It was an informal saloon where poets, artists and composers could share ideas and compositions. Performers got to test new material and audiences enjoyed a fun evening for the price of a few drinks. By the early 1900’s Cabarets were taking root across Europe and New York saw America’s first Parisian-style cabaret open in 1915. Unlike Vaudeville, which was more family oriented, cabaret was a show made by and for adult audiences. As with all art and culture, cabaret shows changed, grew and evolved over the following decades. But one thing that has remained the same since the inception of Cabaret, is the entertainment and good times that always makes for a memorable night out.
In 1997 Palm Canyon Theatre (PCT,) began with the hit production, “The Desert Song,” and they haven’t stopped bringing creative and top-notch entertainment to the desert since the doors opened. And now PCT is kicking off a new Cabaret Fundraising Series, showcasing a variety of one-night-only performances with some of the desert’s most talented and in-demand performance artists. Performers donate their time and talents, and each unique show supports the 26-year-old nonprofit theatre, its education programs and the culture it cultivates in the Coachella Valley.
Wednesday February 15th, at 7:00 pm -The Cabaret series begins with one of Palm Springs most popular artist, Francesca Amari, performing her tribute to the iconic, Linda Ronstadt, in a one woman show titled, “Different Drum.”
Linda Ronstadt, is one of the biggest names in pop/rock music history, earning 12 Grammys and selling more than 100 million albums. She is credited with creating and shaping the music of the 1970s and 1980s, and celebrated for her ability to adapt to a diverse range of musical styles, including country, rock, jazz and Spanish-language classics.
Francesca Amari, is an award-winning, versatile & popular Palm Springs-based entertainer who’s performed at top-rated cabaret clubs from NYC to Hollywood, CA., as well as appearing in theatrical roles across many desert stages.
When asked, how she came to create “Different Drum,” Amari, responded by saying that her friend, and fellow performer Rickie McCabe was a huge supporter of hers and wanted to try his hand at creating/producing shows. She stated, “He knew that I sing lots of Linda tunes and that she’s one of my favorite singers. So, he suggested we work together to create this show. We worked during the pandemic on Zoom and then got it ready for debut in October, 2021 at Frankie’s Backroom Bistro. We both did lots of research and gathered info from her autobiography, “Linda Ronstadt: Simple Dreams, a Musical Memoir,” which was fascinating and helped to lay the groundwork for the show.”
Amari, indicated that, “Like my other shows, I never impersonate an artist, but my approach to my cabaret shows is a celebration of someone’s music and life, and to share information and stories; my shows are always pretty educational.”
Francesca Amari, also performs weekly on Wednesdays at the Palm Springs Cultural Center with her fun trio, The Mod Squad Variety Show.
Wednesday, February 22nd, features From Broadway with Love… Backwards.
A night of Broadway Love songs…with a twist. This cast of talented performers will sing some of their favorite Broadway love songs that were originally written and sung by performers of the opposite gender. Featured performers include Jaci Davis, Ben Reece, Se Layne, Sheldon Safir, Georgia Smith, Nicholas Sloan and Jamie Leigh Walker.
Wednesday March 1st will showcase the talent of character actor, Ron Coronado, and his one-man show Confessions of a Character Actor. Through song, stories, and visuals, Coronado will share secrets of the stage during a night that promises to enlighten your soul, touch your heart, and make you laugh.
Ron Coronado, has performed throughout the country on stage, television and in film. He is known to completely embody his characters transforming himself to the point where he is completely unrecognizable, even to those who know him well. As an actor who loves the process of character development and research, he is excited to share stories of his journey that started in Michigan at age 12 and led to performances in Los Angeles, New York, and now Palm Springs.
Coronado stated, “I’ve always considered myself a storyteller, and I’m excited to share what it takes after casting to develop the character and everything else that leads up to opening night,”
Wednesday March 22nd, – The Most Beautiful Music You Have Ever Heard – A Night of Light Opera
Wednesday April 19th, – Big ‘n’ Easy featuring Michael Pacas
Cabaret shows begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 15th and will run on Wednesday evenings through April 19th, at the Palm Canyon Theatre. All tickets are $30. Group discounts are available. For tickets, sponsorship opportunities, or other information, call the PCT Box Office at (760) 323-5123 or order online: PalmCanyonTheatre.org.
Dee Jae Cox, is a playwright, director and producer.
Cofounder and Artistic Director of The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Project. www.losangeleswomenstheatreproject.org
And Co-Creator of the Palm Springs Theatre Go-To-Guide,