Los Angeles Cabaret Review: BLACK & WHITE IN PARIS: A CABARET MUSICAL (Stage 12 at Sunset Las Palmas Studios)

by Tony Frankel on June 12, 2017

in Music,Theater-Los Angeles

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OOH-LA-LA

Where am I? Is this a dream? Just when you thought cabaret in Los Angeles was on life support comes this bar of gold at the Hollywood Fringe. Do not miss this extravaganza of refreshingly distinctive singers and dancers, the likes of which will not be around again soon. Inspired by the black-and-white photography of Christopher Broughton (who was in attendance opening night), writer/director Kelby Thwaits (a wicked performer and instrumentalist himself) offers up a live smokin’ band (musical director Eric Zimmermann) which accompanies astoundingly original singers, many of whom pick up an instrument themselves (Alanna Vicente, a slinky chanteuse singing silkily in a gorgeous gown, suddenly picked up a trombone and blew us away). Just as surprising: Charles Bunce’s sound design is flawless; how refreshing to have balanced sound with the singers being most important—you’ll hear every lovely lyric.

Black & White in Paris contains mostly standards with a few choice modern songs. Throughout, you’re treated to almost 90 minutes of non-stop talent, with not ONE act going astray. Get ready for a serious case of gooseflesh when Danny Michaels sings “Cry Me a River” while Christopher Curry and Anton Garsola dance out a story of troubled love. And when the distinguished Taylor Wesselman croons an unadorned “Time After Time,” it’s as romantic as a moonlit cruise along the Seine.

Tiffany La Barbera Palmer is one of the coolest, most soulful and expressive singers around. Looking swell in Angela Manke’s sophisticated, playful costumes, the three female dancers are Katy Marcella, Tessa Fungo and Bernadette Colette Peters. There are tables in front, and the company has choice, inexpensive cheese plates, desserts, and beverages for sale. Tickets are only $10, yet this cabaret is better than any musical I’ve seen in town.

(Note: The theater, Stage 12, is inside the Sunset/Las Palmas Studios. Simply enter the studio through the Steward Street entrance, south of Santa Monica Blvd, and Studio 12 is right there; the extraordinarily friendly guard will have your name on his list.)

photos courtesy of the artists

Black & White in Paris: A Cabaret Musical
E-Fusion Studios in association with Mount Saint Mary’s University, L.A.
part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival
Stage 12 @ Sunset Las Palmas Studios
24 Eleanor Avenue (just west of Seward)
ends on June 24, 2017
for tickets, visit Hollywood Fringe

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