By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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SEQUIM — Two women, two men and a lot of good music: Such are the ingredients for a flight of fancy, an escape from the fall drear — in other words, “A Cabaret.”
Olivia Shea, a thespian known for serious plays — “Red,” “God of Carnage” — saw the name of her next show in lights at Olympic Theatre Arts.
The word “cabaret” is on the wall of OTA's Gathering Hall, almost taunting her.
But while the cursive “Cabaret” adorned the room, “nobody had ever put on a cabaret there,” said Shea.
The director, producer, actor and singer gathered up songs by George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Stephen Sondheim, and invited three of her favorite people to join her in putting on a show.
One is Sarah Shea, the jazz songbird who happens to be the director's daughter. Another is Mark Lorentzen, a tenor known for his performance in Port Angeles Light Opera's “South Pacific” last year and for his set with the Lorentzens, his family's singing group, at the Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts this spring.
The trio, along with host Mike Reichner, will stage “A Cabaret” for just two weekends: tonight through Sunday and finally next Friday, Oct. 11, through Sunday, Oct. 13.
Ticketing is simple, too: $15 at the door, cash only. Curtain times are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays at Olympic Theatre Arts, 414 N. Sequim Ave. Doors will open 30 minutes beforehand so patrons can come early for a snack and a beverage from the no-host wine bar.
The production has solo performances, duets and ensemble singing, a little dancing and plenty of repartee.
Among Sarah Shea's favorites is “You're the Top,” a Cole Porter number. Another addition to the singer's considerable repertoire is Sondheim's “Send in the Clowns,” a song she learned for this show.
With its complexity of emotion, this is not an easy one. But Sarah found herself grateful, ultimately, for the challenge.
Many numbers are more lighthearted, though: “Embraceable You,” “Let's Call the Whole Thing Off,” “Begin the Beguine,” “Younger Than Springtime.”
“Little Girls” and “I Don't Need Anything but You” from the musical “Annie,” “Two Lost Souls” from “Damn Yankees,” and “I'm Still Here” from “Follies” are also on the itinerary, as are several songs from “Les Miserables.”
Sarah remembers seeing that show with her parents at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre when she was a girl. She recalls how it moved her.
One of the “Les Miz” songs is among Lorentzen's all-time favorites: “Bring Him Home,” Jean Valjean's prayer for the revolutionary Marius.
“A Cabaret,” though it has no narrative line, is in fact an assemblage of stories, said Sarah. The three singers change costumes, weave their voices together and enjoy one another; this isn't one of those shows where one person comes out and sings one song, to be followed by another person emerging to sing another song.
“Mark just has a beautiful voice,” Sarah added, “and a great sense of comic timing.”
As for her mother Olivia, “I love working with her,” said Sarah, who starred, with Lorentzen, in “South Pacific” under Olivia's direction in July 2012.
“It is so nice,” added Lorentzen, “to perform with people who have an equal love for the art. It brings it to another level.”
The dress for “A Cabaret” is formal or casual, Olivia said.
“After all of this gloom and rain we've been having, we just want to get together and have a good time.”