Sat 12/29 @ 7 & 9:30PM
In its second installment, following up a successful sold-out debut, co-producers and directors Alexandre Marr and Merissa Coleman return to downtown Akron with the Cabaret Project|HUNGERLUST on Sat 12/29 at Akron’s BLU Jazz+.
“The name came about from a late-night brainstorming session,” explains Marr. “It started with an idea to shift directions. Last year’s project revolved around a genre of music in musical theater and theatrical repertoire. This year we wanted to dive deeper and get more thematic, exploring repertoire revolving around the impulses, wild desires, instincts and natural tendencies of human beings without limiting the music to genre. The name was partly inspired by “Hunger,” Florence and the Machine’s latest anthem from High As Hope, which is used as a musical motif throughout the performance.”
Featuring over 20 Northeast Ohio vocalists backed with a full band, HUNGERLUST encapsulates a range of musical aesthetics. Theatrical and modern repertoire will be performed, including selections from the musical Hamilton, Beyonce, Florence and the Machine, Lady Gaga and Kimbra. There’ll also be classic selections from Nina Simone, Stephen Sondheim and more. The Cabaret Project is thrilled to be continuing its mission of bringing a live cabaret scene to downtown Akron with the support of BLU.
“Cabaret is performance mode that allows audiences to relax yet indulge,” describes Alexandre. “Unlike a theatrical performance, cabaret, especially at BLU Jazz, is a celebration of music and great opportunity for socialization The club has a full-service bar and restaurant upstairs allowing attendees to make an evening out of the experience. Cabaret is up close and real, especially in this space.”
Planning for HUNGERLUST began in the summer, with auditions quickly to follow. There were over 50 vocalists that auditioned in one day.
“Casting was intensely difficult for both Merissa and I,” states Alexandre. “Given the multi-disciplinary nature of the show, we developed an audition procedure that incorporate solo vocals, harmonies, choreography and body percussion. Singers were assessed based on how they were able to navigate each of those abilities. BLU Jazz+ is an intimate space and our set time is limited, so selecting repertoire and vocalists to perform it was a time-consuming and daunting process given the wealth of talent that showed up to auditions.”
Whether you’re a music lover, or just want to get out for a fun night with family or friends, this is the show to see.
“Planning a performance like this requires a significant time investment for both Merissa and I separately and together,” continues Alexandre. “We work best creating in the same space, so finding windows of opportunity to physically be together is the most difficult part considering each of our schedules. However, starting rehearsals was a breath of fresh air. At that point, most of the work has been done and it comes down to teaching and creating with the vocalists.”
With two sold-out performances last December for their BLU Jazz+ debut, tickets for this year’s performance are selling fast. This year’s shows are 7 and 9:3pm. Get your tickets here for $18, or at the door for $20. Be sure to arrive early to get seated and settled in.
“We have something really special with this project,” exudes Alexandre. “Both shows completely sold out last year, and we are anticipating the same this year. It’s the combination of the venue and the energy of the singers in the space that makes this so exciting. Also, I should note that many of the performers in the project know each other as friends and as fellow artists in the area. The show has never felt like work and is meant to serve as an opportunity to simply be with other musicians in our lives in bringing performance art to the community.”
[Written by Kendall Embrescia-Hridel]