The Arden Theatre Company began a new series this past weekend: The Arden Cabaret Series. If you have not heard of this series, it is a chance to see your favorite Philadelphia performers in an intimate setting. A cabaret is a way for the performer to connect with the audience in a way that is not always possible in a theatrical performance. The Arden’s Cabaret Series takes place at the Hamilton Arts Center in a venue that seats about 100 people. Personally, I love cabarets, and I felt that this series from the Arden is a wonderful way to have audience members connect with their favorite artists. Additionally, the beautiful thing about this type of live performance is that it is a collective experience, and it is a way in which the audience can see some of their favorite performers up-close and personal as they share stories and favorite songs with the audience.
The first performer in this series was Jeffrey Coon. Coon was a perfect choice to kick off this new series, as people who frequent Philadelphia theatre are quite familiar with him. The unique thing about seeing Coon perform in this type of setting is that the audience has a chance to see him raw and sincere, as he shares stories about himself. It was a chance for people who are familiar with Coon from seeing him onstage at the Arden in shows such as Sunday in the Park with George, Assassins and Parade to see him as himself as opposed to playing a role. As Coon explains in the notes in the program, “[a cabaret] asks me, as the artist, to put myself and the material that perfectly excites or engages me on the stage in a way that doesn’t allow me to hide behind or filter myself through someone else’s narrative.” Audience members who attended Coon‘s cabaret this past weekend had a chance to hear him sing a few of his favorite songs as he related to the audience stories about himself and the personal meaning behind the songs he chose. Along with Coon, Matthew Decker (Cabaret Series Director,) Amanda Morton (Music Director) and Justin Yoder (Cellist) all needed commended for this remarkable evening of entertainment.
Next up in the Arden’s Cabaret Series is Joliet Harris February 12 through February 14, 2016, and on April 22 through April 24, 2016 is Kristine Fraelich. For more information about the Cabaret Series visit the Arden’s website at www.ardentheatre.org or call the box office at 215-922-1122.
Kelli Curtin is editor and writer for theatresensation.com. In addition, she is a contributor for the online site broadwayworld.com. Kelli is excited to share her passion about theatre and the Arts with her readers. Kelli can be found on Twitter, Facebook and on Instagram.