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So often when Erin Driscoll sings, the point of opening her pert little mouth isn’t to sound good. In Hairspray, as the blonde social climber Amber Von Tussle, she didn’t so much sing as sneer—fabulously. But tonight at her cabaret, Driscoll wants you to actually, really, genuinely like her. And her voice, too. “Get Happy! The Songs of Harold Arlen” is what she’s named the show, which will feature American classics like “Over the Rainbow,” “Stormy Weather,” and “I’ve Got the World on a String.” The cabaret night is one of 15 in Signature Theatre’s series highlighting mostly local musical-theater artists. The Sizzlin’ Summer Cabarets continue July 26 with Driscoll’s Hairspray co-star Carolyn Cole. On July 27 the theater boasts a double-header, with shows from both Helen Hayes Award winner Geoff Packard and Carrie Manolakos, a former Elphaba from Wicked who is poised to become a viral torch singer. (Nearly a million people have listened to Manolakos cover Radiohead’s “Creep” on YouTube.) The series concludes July 28 with “Revenge of the Understudies,” in which a pianist must contend with a coterie of singers who not only didn’t get the lead role on stage, but have to share a cabaret microphone, too.
Driscoll performs tonight at 8 p.m. at Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. $24 plus fees. signature-theatre.org. (703) 820-9771.