CTC says goodbye to 2021 and hello to its future with the annual Christmas Cocktail Cabaret | Arts and life


SOUTH KINGSTOWN, RI – Christmas at the Contemporary Theater Company brings a fundraiser and signature show – The Christmas Cocktail Cabaret – back this year live at Narragansett Towers.

It’s always a fun evening of skits, songs and laughing lines for the audience of the theater’s multi-talented ensemble. Produced practically last year (tinyurl.com/CTCCabaret2020), it will be broadcast live on December 23 to a full house, according to theater management.

“While I won’t give away exactly what’s in store for this show, I will say it’s packed with clowns, Christmas classics, new hits, and if all that show up are on the nice list: a visit from Saint Nick, ”said Peter Bucci, a longtime organizer of the event.

He and the virtuoso singer and pianist Eden Casteel and the actress Christine Cauchon, whose acting makes the many plays, improvisation numbers and other performances at the theater shine, are organizing this event.

It marks both the end of one performance year and the start of another, and the ticket prices help keep this community theater on a solid financial footing.

In 2019 – the last in-person gathering – songs with burlesque and traditional parties and improvised accompaniment echoed through the towers. People laughed, clapped loudly and some even sang or clapped.

Garlands of white Christmas lights, seen from Ocean Road below and twinkling in the window panel, looked like stars accentuating the old stone archway. Inside, stars of a different genre – those who perform on the contemporary theater stage – gave the best of their vacations to supporters, friends and guests.

“We are here to play and we will be here to stay,” said Christopher J. Simpson, founder of the theater, to the nearly 150 people in attendance.

At one point, Cauchon and Bucci released their ukuleles for a duet of “Mele Kalikimaka”. Robert Alex Anderson wrote the song in 1949 using the Hawaiian expression Mele Kalikimaka, which means “Merry Christmas” in Hawaiian.

Crooner Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters recorded it in 1950 for Decca, and later it found its place in many films and voices by other artists.

Young actors Josie Geremia and Hazel Geremia brought improvisation veteran Neal Leaheey, dressed in colorful pajamas and a hat to match the role of an oversized miner, under the twinkling lights of the tower. They read him a story at bedtime.

A little later, Wakefield Idol 2019 winner Kaitlyn Tarro takes the stage. Dressed in black clothes with a black hat, she sits down and listens, then she soon begins to pronounce in a deep, sonorous voice, “You are a villain, Mr. Grinch.”

You are a monster, Mr. Grinch,

Your heart is an empty hole

Your brain is full of spiders,

You’ve got garlic in your soul, Mr. Grinch,

I wouldn’t touch you with a thirty-nine-and-a-half-foot stick!

And so the evening unfolded song after song, sometimes embellished with parodies and risky “Santa Claus is Comin ‘to Town” style mockery. Julian Trilling, Ari Kassabian and Maggie Papa gave a burlesque twist to the overtly sexual nature of the edited lyrics in a song not for the prudish.

With each altered chorus having innuendos and double meanings, audiences of all ages laughed louder and louder. The saucy ending words, which won’t be repeated in a family journal, rolled a crescendo of applause around the room.

This year, said Bucci, we tend to start with a very high level theme and then weave performances as the CTC community demands. The best part of it all is openness!

“We’re writing the scripts partly because of the nature of it, but also because we’ve learned that the event’s signature cocktail will make it difficult to read in the second act,” he added.

Casteel said: “This is my sixth cabaret appearance. I love to play new and familiar holiday tunes with my friends from the music and theater world. It’s a great way to celebrate the season and the accomplishments of the CTC. It’s a labor of love for me.

Then, with a jab, she added, “Providence has Trinity Rep’s annual ‘Christmas Carol’ production, and South County has the CTC Christmas Cocktail Cabaret. We definitely have better drinks.

Cauchon, however, captured the broader spirit of the moment for a group whose indoor performances were significantly restricted.

Bringing together their collective talent, they brought their passion and energy to the theater’s outdoor patio where the only difference was the stars in the sky rather than the track lighting in a ceiling.

“We’ve been full every year since we took over, and for me that’s something I’m most proud of – that this community loves this event enough to sell it two and a half weeks earlier, even with COVID. current restrictions that we have in place to keep everyone safe, ”she said.

“I am really happy that the leaders of the company allow Eden, Peter and I to do literally whatever we want – within reason … of course – and implicitly trust us to be the carriers of Christmas Spirit for it. theater, ”she said.


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