By Eric Milkereit, The Desperate Househusband
November 13, 2017
You know what I love? A good fundraiser event. You know what I love even more? When the fundraiser is for the Cabaret. I know. I know. I’m fixated on the Cabaret. But it really and truly is that good.
I believe this is the fourth year we’ve attended the Cabaret’s annual fundraiser gala extravaganza extraordinaire. It’s an excuse to put on a suit, tie a Windsor knot and shine the dress shoes. We just don’t get dressed up all that often. But more than the sartorial fanciness, the event is incredible each year. It’s a very special one-night-only kind of thing. A pretty big name or in 2017…names. Tony nominees or winners in every event we’ve attended. But you can basically expect nothing less by the talent the Cabaret brings to Indianapolis.
Historically, there’s always been a silent auction and we are big fans of silent auctions. I like to bid. To wander around the table. To bid up someone then slip away. To try and surreptitiously sneak in a bid in the final second to win a special item. We almost always win an item or two at the Cabaret’s auction. But this year they decided to go a different route. Instead of having a silent auction, there would be a live auction of pretty significant items. Tickets to Hamilton in Chicago. Tickets to Dear Evan Hanson on Broadway. Tickets to the Tony’s. That item in particular was set up as the BIG kahuna. But then right at the end the auctioneer, Zan Aufderheide, pulled a quick one to say that there were actually TWO sets of two tickets so the top two bidders ending up getting to go. Boom! Big bucks for the Cabaret.
Then there was an item that started at $100. If you were the last bidder in at $100, you got the item which included two tickets to see Audra McDonald with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra among a number of other very nice items. That went on for quite a while with people sneaking in at the last minute but what a creative way to get smaller donations. But you were in for another $100 every time you bid. Very clever and effective to be sure.
The capital campaign was awesome. Zan basically started at $5,000 and asked for bids. Then $2,500, then $1,000, then $500 and then $250. If you raised your bid card, you were in for that amount for your donation. Brilliant. I will freely admit I got swept up in the moment….I love to bid at auctions. Thus the Cabaret benefits.
This year the Cabaret gave a spotlight performance to an absolutely delightful college student who has long been a fan, usher and educational performer at the Cabaret. Her name is Morgan Anita Wood and this girl is going place. She sang two songs that kicked off the performances in a special way. We love that the Cabaret allows for young, local talent to showcase themselves in front of an audience, in front of professional performers. It’s a great learning opportunity for them but the audience eats it up with a spoon.
This year’s main event was Emily Skinner and Alice Ripley. They’ve had a long association with one another that dates back to when they performed as conjoined twins in Side Show. A Broadway show that has a wonderful score but was tough to market. How do you sell conjoined twins as side show circus acts? Not easily, it turns out. Effectively the show ended up being a bit of flop but has developed a big cult following. Through all of that, it made Emily and Alice stars. So they tour together with a show called “Unattached”. They sing together. They sing separately. They sing a couple of songs from Side Show. Their moments together are powerful. Their separate moments showcase their individual talents. Each of them really got to shine. Alice would make an amazing “Sally” in Follies while Emily would indeed be perfect for “Phyllis”. They have great banter, good jokes and a very effortless rapport with one another that can only come from being comfortable on the stage together. It’s a very natural chemistry and the audience could tell as the response after each song was pretty thunderous. But none more thunderous than when Alice sang “As If We Never Said Goodbye” from Sunset Boulevard. I was a basket case. I nearly jumped out of my seat. Juan almost had to quiet me because I was about to shout out during the performance in a display of demonstrative excitement.
Folks, you’ve got one more chance this year. The Christmas show with Jane Lynch is in a few weeks. There are tickets left. It’s also the last time the Cabaret will be at Indiana Landmarks. The site is gorgeous and it’s been a terrific temporary home but next year marks the beginning of the Cabaret’s independent life and home at the Metzger Building. Don’t fret. I’ll still be hounding people to attend shows next year but this is your last chance in 2017.
Do it for me. Lest Santa leave you a lump of coal in your stocking. Or whatever being you believe in that brings presents this time of year. The Cabaret is inclusive. And so am I.
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