These days, more and more theaters liven up the local scene with summer productions, but Venice Theatre takes a different tack from some: It presents a Summer Cabaret Festival, which offers audiences plenty of variety and gives area performers a chance to spread their wings and create their own cabaret-style shows.
The fourth annual fest kicks off Thursday, July 7, in Pinky’s Cabaret (as the theater’s black box Pinkerton Theatre is redubbed for these shows), with singer Syreeta Banks (whom VT regulars will remember from mainstage shows like Hair, Smokey Joe’s Cafe and Crowns) delivering her original show, Broadway Soul. Despite the title, she’ll include plenty of R&B, gospel, pop, rock and jazz tunes as well. Also onstage July 8.
There’s plenty more entertainment following Banks’ show. Crooner John Russo presents his Rat Pack Tribute, July 9 and 10; VT staffer Kristofer Geddie presents Back to Before (with songs from Styx, Ragtime and more), July 14 and 15; Robin Fernandez honors Barbra Streisand and Frank Sinatra with tunes from their movies, July 16 and 17; VT sound designer Dorian Boyd returns to the stage with Dorian and the Furniture, offering “mellow” rock ‘n’ roll July 17; frequent music director Michelle Kasanofsky teams with George and Mikal Mancini (along with drummer Joel Broome) on Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner, presenting jazz standards along with some rock and funk, July 21 and 22; Rachel Knowles offers Sinning Sirens, a burlesque experience featuring a troupe of Knowles’ fellow sinners, July 22 and 23; Lyn Purmort of Vocal Vixens sings Music from Around the World, July 23 and 24; Alyssa Hunek, a VT regular, presents Then and Now (Judy Garland to Adele), July 24; Matthew M. Ryder takes A Sentimental Journey through sounds of Irving Berlin, Eubie Blake and more, July 28 and 31; song-and-dance man Eric Watters presents Banned in Boston, the Best of Cole Porter, July 30 and 31; and Kristina Rehak presents Late Night Jam Sessions with Steve and the O’Deas, July 30.
Whew! And that’s just the month of July. There are plenty more shows scheduled for August; for the full line-up and ticket info, head to venicestage.com or call (941) 488-1115.