Thursday, April 25 – 11th Annual Orlando Cabaret Festival
through May 12
Mad Cow Theatre
54 W. Church St.
Cabaret once connoted dimly lit clubs and smoky back rooms, but today the musical art form has moved into the sunlight and onto center stage. The lineup at 2012’s Orlando Cabaret Festival was a little low-key, but for the 11th edition, Mad Cow has secured high-wattage stars befitting their shiny new Church Street theater. Broadway stars Emily Skinner (Billy Elliot, Sideshow) and Shoshana Bean (Wicked) split the headlining duties with returning crooner Tony DeSare, supported by locally connected guests including celebrity impersonator Michael Walters (Showtunes Made Me Gay) and former New Mouseketeer Lindsey Alley (Blood, Sweat & Mouseketears). Bargain-conscious cabaret connoisseurs shouldn’t skip the discounted weekday noontime performances, featuring Orlando favorites like Laura Hodos, Janine Klein and Melissa Minyard; for a few bucks, Mad Cow will throw in a sandwich, making it an ideal lunch-hour oasis for downtown office employees. Or keep it old school and order a liquid lunch from the liquor bar; either way, the smoking stays outside. – Seth Kubersky