There is so much excitement in the air when a Broadway artist performs a cabaret in an intimate space. This was definitely the case during Shoshana Bean’s cabaret at the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. She was greeted by an enthusiastic audience who were thrilled to see her in such an outstanding space. What I love about the cabarets at the Michener Art Museum is the intimacy of the venue. Throughout the evening Bean interacted with members of the audience, which gave the cabaret a more personal vibe. Watching Bean perform in this beautiful venue gave way to a magical evening of entertainment.
Before I write about how incredibly talented Shoshana Bean is I want to talk about the exquisiteness of Michener Art Museum. As members of the audience walk in the front door they are greeted by a friendly staff who direct them to have a cocktail outside in the sculpture garden or peruse the art galleries. The last event I attended at the museum I walked around the impressive art galleries, and there is so much to see. However, this particular evening I strolled around outside taking in the sculpture garden, which is stunning. I just happened to be there on a beautiful summer evening and had a chance to observe all the various sculptures. The sculpture garden is complete with a lovely natural stone geyser-esque fountain, which perfectly accentuates the garden. Taking in the sculpture garden while enjoying a beverage from the patio bar is a wonderful way to relax before the concert.
The setting for Shoshana Bean’s Cabaret was nothing short of magical. The venue in which Bean performed looked stunning on this summer evening. The room is surrounded by glass windows that partly overlook the sculpture garden. As the night progressed audience members could see the sun setting and fireflies beginning to glow as dusk set in. As Bean noticed the fireflies glowing outside in the garden she excitedly announced what a magical evening it was and how the scene brought back wonderful memories of her youth. If you have never been to a cabaret at the Michener Art Museum I would highly recommend it because it truly is a enchanted evening.
Shoshana Bean’s Cabaret was energetic, dazzling and entertaining. Personally, I have had the opportunity to see her on stages in New York City, but I have never seen her perform solo in an intimate setting prior to this evening. All I can say is I am sorry it has taken me this long to see her in a concert setting because she is exceptional. Not only does she have a powerful voice, but every song she sang was full of emotion and full of energy. One of the aspects of the cabaret I loved was the way she interacted with the audience. She speaks to the audience as if they are old friends, and she was met with a very enthusiastic and appreciative audience at the Michener Art Museum. There was even a portion of the show when Bean takes requests from the audience for songs they would like to hear her perform. This is one of the more unique thing I have seen done in a cabaret setting, and I love the way she handled it. Bean was full of enthusiasm to hear all the song requests the audience members desired to see her perform.
Bean is a force onstage. She is lively, vibrant and humorous. She wants to make sure everyone in the audience feels welcome and is having a good time. Bean was accompanied by the talented James Sampliner on piano, and the two of them had such great banter onstage that was simply a joy to witness. One of the highlights of the evening was hearing Bean explain how Barbra Streisand is one of her vocal inspirations and hearing her sing many of Streisand’s songs in a medley. People could see how meaningful these songs were to her, and she was full of emotion and vocally powerful in these songs. Also, her rendition of Jason Robert Brown’s “Stars and the Moon” was phenomenal. The entire show was incredible and it was a lot of fun. At the end of the cabaret Bean performed “The Flagmaker, 1775" from Songs for a New World. This performance was haunting and full of heightened emotion and simply brilliant. One more song that needs mentioning is Bean performing Benj Pasek and Justin Paul's “This is Me.” She described this song as an anthem and it definitely is that. Bean gave a fierce performance of this number. One last thing I need to say about Bean is that if you have never seen her live and have the chance to do so, do not hesitate; it was one the best evenings I have spent at a concert.
I am so grateful to the Michener Art Museum and the PNC Arts Alive for the Broadway Cabaret Series. It is such a great way to bring Broadway to communities outside of New York. There is one more cabaret and that is Amber Iman on August 9, 2018. For more information on the museum and upcoming performances please visit the website at www.michenerartmuseum.org.
Shoshana Bean can be seen next at the Apollo Theatre with her 18 piece big band. For more information about this concert visit the Apollo’s website at www.apollotheater.org. For more information on Shoshana Bean visit her website at www.shoshanabean.com.
Kelli Curtin is founding editor and writer for theatresensation.com. She has maintained a love of the performing arts since a very early age and she is excited to share her passion about theatre and the Arts with her readers. Kelli can be found on Twitter, Facebook and on Instagram.