Unusual entertainment options this weekend

Friday, April 20, 2012
Southeast Theatre and Dance majors Dominique Thomas, left, and Maria Bartolla will perform “A Night With Sammy and Liza” at Buckners Brewing Co. tonight. (Submitted photo)

The upcoming weekend will be full of the entertainment variety most have come to expect in the Cape Girardeau area -- art galleries, bands, restaurants and theaters. But two options, a cabaret at Buckner's and burlesque show at Pitter's, will bring an unusual flavor to this weekend.

Buckner's cabaret

Cabaret is defined as a versatile, eclectic and evolving performance genre. It began in French wine cellars in the 1800s as small groups of artists and locals would get together for creative impromptu performances among their peers.

Today, cabaret is still about intimacy and interaction. It breaks down the theatrical fourth wall, and explores significant diversity in music and performance styles. The content of any cabaret and the cabaret genre itself is always an act of reinvention, whether it be remaking the performer's signature style or reimagining a clichéd old showtune for new effect.

"A Night With Sammy and Liza," featuring Southeast Missouri State University theatre and dance majors Dominique Thomas and Maria Bartolotta, will attempt to take the audience back in time to the heyday of stage legends Sammy Davis Jr. and Liza Minnelli.

"We don't want people to be intimidated by the mystery of a cabaret. You can come out to this show and see things you've seen before, like comedy, live music and skits. But in this setting, you'll see them all together," said Thomas, who studied Davis for this performance. "We're actually going to be performing famous tunes like ‘New York, New York' and ‘Birth of the Blues.' I think it will be fantastic."

The show gets started at 9 p.m. tonight at Buckner's. Admission is $5, and $3 for Southeast students.

Pitter's burlesque

Cape Girardeau venue Pitter's, already known as unafraid to be different, is bringing burlesque to Broadway (the Cape Girardeau version) Saturday night.

The burlesque performance originated in 19th-century vaudeville and has emerged as a popular blend of satire, performance art and adult entertainment.

In burlesque, performers often create elaborate sets with lush, colorful costumes, music and dramatic lighting. The genre traditionally encompasses a variety of acts, from dancing girls and comedy, to mimes and unusual displays of flexibility, all while putting forth a satirical mood with a saucy edge.

A Michigan-based touring troupe, the Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, will aim to give the Pitter's crowd a show with the burlesque experience. They describe themselves as a "genre spanning theatrical rock opera outfit, a sexy and bawdy musical comedy, a mix of ‘Rocky Horror' and ‘Saturday Night Live.'" Super Happy Funtime is also a well-traveled and experienced group, staging an average of 175 productions a year.

But what about those who say it's just another form of stripping?

"We've heard that so many times since we started promoting the show, and I'm sure the troupe hears that same thing all the time. But it comes from a place of misunderstanding," said Pitter's co-owner JJ Seabaugh. "This is an art form, and empowering to the performers. We just want people to give it a chance, then make your judgments."

The show starts at 9 p.m. Saturday at Pitter's; tickets will be available at the door for $10.



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