The first Cabaret cast, in 2019.

Towngate Welcomes you to Come to the Cabaret!

After a full season of dramatic and funny board-treading, Towngate is offering a different experience from their plays and musicals. A Towngate Cabaret is a one-night-only experience you won’t want to miss. I sat down with the Cabaret’s host Desiree Adorable, or, as you may know her, Micah Underwood, to talk about what the heck happens when you get 22 performers together, doing all manner of songs.

“It’s the most fun thing I do all year because it’s so much at the heart of our mission. It’s bringing in our performers, our actors, that community of creative people, and giving them an outlet. Then, it brings our audience to experience this eclectic mix of ‘What even is musical theater’?” Micah explained. The Cabaret, it seems, is not what one would expect when the thought of a musical theater revue crosses the mind. While heartfelt Phantom of the Opera ballads can’t be ruled out, you can expect things you’ve never heard before. Micah, herself, only knew two songs on this year’s program, and she’s a certified theater fan. That, she says, is part of the appeal. “We’ll have these really well-known staple musical theater pieces, and then these out of the woodwork things you’ve never heard of before.”

Micah, as Desiree Adorable.

This year, especially, promises some utterly unexpected songs, as the theme is “My Favorite Song From That Show No One Knows.” This year’s performers were all asked to dig deep in their catalog and pick the most under-appreciated show, or the most underrated song from a popular show, that they know. They did not disappoint. There are songs from a supernatural-lizard show, a song from the musical adaptation of Big Fish, and a funky little number called “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park”. It’s a great opportunity for audiences to look at the breadth of the musical theater catalog.

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Audiences clearly have a great time at the Towngate Cabaret, as they’ve been turning out consistently since the show began in 2019. Performers, too, seem to adore the show. Over the years, there have been over 50 people singing it out in the Cabaret, many coming back time and again. This year, four performers from the first Cabaret return to the stage. Micah sees many reasons the show has been a success. “Musical theater is a huge time commitment, and it’s expensive for theaters to produce. The cabaret offers performers a chance to share their songs and have an evening onstage without a humongous time commitment.” A chance to appear in a show with only one rehearsal is a rarity and, thus, a pretty relaxing treat for those involved. 

  • The cast of this year's Cabaret. 

Besides giving the performers and audience a chance to explore the talent of this community, there is a much more practical reason for the Cabaret: it raises money for The Friends of Towngate. The Cabaret is one of two fundraisers put on by The Friends of Towngate each year, with the money being used to support the theater. Micah says The Friends “helps bridge the gap between the annual budget, ticket sales, and donations and sponsorship.” It takes a lot to make a theater run, and The Friends of Towngate and the projects they support are a key part of that. “The kinds of projects these funds support, some of them are very basic, like a new toilet or faucet, but they’ve also renovated the dressing rooms or replaced lighting equipment. They’ve given to support guest director expenses and costumes and sets.”

If you would like to have a night of great entertainment that helps make the theater run, T Towngate Cabaret will take place on June 1. The show starts at 7:00 p.m., with a social hour beforehand, from 6-7:00 p.m. Tickets are $30 and you can get them here, by calling 304-242-7700, or at the door night-of.

 

• Makayla Carney, a Wheeling native, is the 2023-2024 AmeriCorps member for Wheeling Heritage, where she will get to write all about the history and culture of her hometown. She has a B.F.A. in Film and Television from DePaul University in Chicago. She adores all kinds of art, a lavender latte, and the occasional performance on the Towngate Theatre stage.