When Emily MacArthur first moved to Calgary, she had a few friends from work and school, but no one who shared her passion for music – especially Broadway. That was until she joined a local choir with a focus on obscure harmonies and plenty of wine. One night, during an intensive all-weekend rehearsal session, she heard the first few chords of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat floating from upstairs. Following the strains of distant piano, she found Mike Jarzecki, pattering out those unmistakable melodies. It was fate – that night, Mike and Emily sang and played through the whole score of Joseph. They moved on to the Producers, and then to Evita – and they didn’t stop until a very polite but exhausted chorister asked them to kindly shut up so everyone could sleep.
When Emily moved back to the Okanagan, Mike started visiting regularly so they could continue their forays into musical theatre. Mike soon struck up a friendship with Emily’s brother, Alex MacArthur, a classical pianist in town. Alex and Mike first bonded over a shared love of piano; however, their friendship truly solidified when they realized just how many instruments they both played (and as they commiserated over how difficult it is to fit pianos, organs, guitars, accordions, and every other instrument you could think of into just one living room).
Soon, Alex, Emily, and Mike joined forces with Heather Harker, an opera singer and kindergarten teacher from Salmon Arm. Heather was putting on a musical recital fundraiser for her school, and they realized that was the perfect format for the four musicians to keep working together. They decided to go a step further, and put on a show that would throw back to the classic days of multi-act theatrical and musical entertainment – a cabaret!
The cast was finally rounded out with Danica Block, a jazz aficionado, Ashley Kendall, a heartfelt belter, and Katie Flaherty, a glass-shattering soprano. The final step was to find a way to tie it all together – emcees who could welcome the audience, make them laugh, and keep them guessing. They found the perfect duo in Rick and Coreen Smith, musically trained veterans of the stage (and an iconic Vernon couple to boot).
It’s hard to believe it all started with an unasked for, impromptu, midnight performance of Joseph, but “Cabaret” is now in its third year – and this year they’ll be singing Broadway, jazz, and toe-tapping classic hits to fight off the early winter blues!
The third annual Cabaret takes over the Schubert Centre, 3505 30th Ave., Nov. 9. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25, available at Ticket Seller: ticketseller.ca, 250-549-SHOW (7469). For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.