Standout trumpeter Sean Jones and his quintet will play two performances at The Cabaret at Theater Square on Saturday, featuring selections from Jones’ latest CD, Shades of Love.
Photo courtesy of Sean Jones
Randy Kirk has created a unique and dynamic series of late-night entertainment at The Cabaret at Theater Square, the surprisingly adaptable and cozy theater space nestled behind The Backstage Bar. After the main show lets out, it’s something of a variety house, hosting improv, jazz, stand-up, murder mysteries and solo shows. A little of everything, really. There’s not much like it anywhere in town, and it remains the Cultural District’s best-kept secret.
If you’ve never been out to the Cabaret before, now’s a fine time to try it out. And I’ll add, as a general note—I dropped by last weekend and was reminded that the attached Backstage Bar boasts a fun, experimental cocktail list and some fine mixologists. Buy a drink. (After last Sunday, we all still need a few.)
FRIDAY: HIT THE FLOOR FOR SALSA NIGHT
If you’re like me, you can’t really dance. I mean, you can bob and sway. You can put your hands in the air and wave them in such a manner as to indicate that, in fact, you just don’t care. You can lip-sync and nod your head approvingly to today’s top hits. But if required to actually display rhythm, flexibility and—worst of all—the ability to know what the hell your partner is doing, you’re (like me) offering to go get another round of drinks.
Fear not. Because at The Cabaret at Theater Square, they don’t just throw some Latin rhythms on the turntable and leave you to your own devices. No, Salsa Night begins at 10 p.m. with a half-hour primer for all the clueless white boys out there and then unleashes the Salsa fury in earnest at 10:30.
Different DJ’s appear for every session to give a unique flavor to each outing. The evening is 21+, because really, any dancing this hot is for grown-ups. Like most of the Cabaret Theater’s events, it’s only $5, but if you’ve been to a Cultural District event earlier in the evening, your ticket stub will get you in free. This would require, however, a very quick wardrobe change out of your theater clothes, which is all part of the evening’s charm, really. (Salsa Fridays start at 10 p.m. $5; free for Cultural District patrons. Tickets at the door. Info: 412-456-6666, pgharts.org)
SATURDAY: ROMANTIC JAZZ FOR VALENTINE’S DAY, PROVIDED BY SEAN JONES
The novice jazz fans of the world (read: just about everybody) can all agree that we do certainly enjoy jazz, but we are not proficient enough in its varieties and stars to really know what to look for when we’re in the mood. Fortunately, I have an easy tip for you: If its in this building, it’s good.
This applies equally to any special events and concerts as part of the JazzLive series and the frequent guests that are up front in the Backstage Bar. Saturday night, however, offers a very special pair of shows by trumpet standout Sean Jones and his quintet. The 10 p.m. performance will feature selections from Jones’ latest CD, Shades of Love; the 11:30 p.m. set is being called “For Lovers Only—A Celebration of the Love Song.”
Now, I’m sure you already have Valentine’s Day plans in place for Monday, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t make a weekend out of the holiday—and your sweetheart will certainly be charmed by a date like this. Get your tickets while they last. (Sean Jones Quintet, Saturday, 10 and 11:30 p.m. $25.75-$30.75. Info and tickets: 412-456-6666, pgharts.org)
SUNDAY: ROUND UP YOUR OLDER RELATIVES FOR NUNSENSE
The Late-Night series takes Sunday off, and that leaves room for the mainstage offering at the Cabaret, provided by the CLO. The musicals performed here are usually the crowd-pleasing variety suited for entertaining relatives who don’t go downtown much and aren’t exactly best suited for dry drama or Shakespeare. Quick test: Does a family member know who Ibsen was? No? Bring them to the CLO musicals at the Cabaret.
This isn’t to slight those performances in any way, of course. Pretty much everything presented at this venue is reviewed well and positively beloved by the audience. And occasionally, you need your theater outings to feel more "Glee" and less The Seagull.
Running now is Nunsense, a former off-Broadway hit that features a desperate convent talent show thrown together to raise money for a batch of burials following a terrible cooking accident. The audience gets involved, the nuns get flamboyant, the drinks get served and everyone will have a good time. Have a mom/grandma/aunt/uncle/grandpa who needs a good laugh? This is the show for them. (Nunsense, Sunday, 2 p.m. Runs through April 17. $34.74-$44.75. Info and tickets: 412-456-6666, pgharts.org)