Cabaret Carousel
At the Source

Remaining performances:

They say: Blues and Broadway, Latin Jazz, Bohemian Pop and Bossa Nova, our rotating carousel of three cabaret evenings features soulful songs from DC’s Fringe finest: Sally Martin, Richard Tappen, Detra Battle, Stanley Webber, Cecilia Esquivel, Tara McCredie, Pam Ward, Dani Cortaza.

Sheffy says: Monday night is traditionally the night theaters go dark. At the Source, though, one Fringe light was shining for Cabaret Carousel—and that light seemed to attract all the Fringe fanatic moths. For those expecting an old fashioned concert with no skits, dancing, or story, the music did not disappoint. Here, carousel refers to the constantly rotating program from Blues to Bossa Nova to Broadway music over the nine-performance run—really three shows under one marquee. I attended on Broadway night and was treated to 21 numbers performed by talented vocalists Sally Martin, Tara McCredie, and Richard Tappen and accompanied by pianist Alex Tang.

While listed in the Fringe program, this show was also a part of (or a promo for) the Source Theater’s In Series: a mix of music, word, and dance performances by D.C. artists. Yet, fittingly for Fringe, this cabaret had an edgier feel courtesy of Brecht/Weill, Kander/Ebb, and Sondheim. From their namesake Cabaret, they performed “Two Ladies” a playful song about two gals and one guy shacking up. Despite their other namesake, Carousel, Hammerstein’s cheerier tunes were left off the program.

Hearing Broadway songs out of context (and performed without dancing), you start to realize how ridiculous and nonsensical the lyrics can be. This is made even more obvious when McCredie sings a song about a serial killer, “Mack the Knife” (somehow co-opted by McDonalds in the ’80s for “Big Mac Tonight”) or one about her “Sex Appeal,” during which she wore the same sweet expression you might expect if she were knocking on your door to sing Christmas carols. (Though her operatic voice and clear vibrato were delightful.) After two seasons entertaining Fringe audiences, D.C. Cabaret was missed this year, but it’s nice that the In Series picks up the slack for those who like their cabaret less than CooCoo.

See it if: You can travel back in time to one of their nine performances…otherwise, wait for the InSeries opera Cosi fan Tutte Goes to Hollywood in mid-September.

Skip it if: You resent surprise $5 surcharges for purchasing your tickets at the door.