Legendary Chita Rivera not the only highlight of new Cabaret season

The 2023 winter-spring season of The Cabaret includes artists representing two Tony awards, 11 Tony nominations, eight Grammy awards and 24 Grammy nominations.

The list includes Broadway legend Chita Rivera. A theatrical icon and one of Broadway’s greatest triple-threat talents, Chita Rivera is one of the most nominated performers in Tony Award history having earned 10 nominations, won twice, and received the 2018 Special Tony Award for “Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre.”

The newly announced lineup includes more Broadway stars galore, a jazz lineup, a sing-along event, an evening of Sondheim music in an indie/folk style, the arbiters of prohibition funk and speakeasy soul, and student showcases featuring top talent from Ball State University.

Tickets go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 13. Visit THECABARET.ORG/SHOWS to purchase.

The winter-spring season schedule currently features:

Fred Hersch & esperanza spalding. Sunday, Jan. 8. The previously announced 7 p.m. show has sold out; tickets remain for an additional 4 p.m. show.

Pianist/composer Fred Hersch and vocalist/bassist/songwriter esperanza spalding can both be counted among the most acclaimed and inventive artists in modern jazz. In an exquisitely intimate evening, 15-time Grammy nominee Hersch (called by The New Yorker “a living legend”) and multiple Grammy award winner esperanza spalding (whom NPR cites as “the 21st Century’s first jazz genius”) take the stage for an evening of songs from the Great American Songbook, music from Brazil, and jazz compositions – including several penned by Hersch.

The evening also celebrates the release of their new album, Alive at the Village Vanguard (due out Jan. 6).

Ball State Bachelor of Fine Arts Musical Theatre Class of 2023. We Know Things Now – Seniors on Sondheim. 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20. Under the guidance of Broadway performer Megan McGinnis along with Ball State faculty members Michael Rafter, Johnna Tavianini, and Bill Jenkins, this performance is a culmination of a cabaret course taught to the graduating class of 2023. The show will focus on the music of Stephen Sondheim.

Parlor Social. (Rescheduled from November 2022) 8 p.m. both Friday and Saturday, Feb. 10-11. Originally hailing from Montreal and currently residing in Los Angeles, the award-winning husband-and-wife team Ric’key Pageot (Madonna’s longtime pianist) and Dessy Di Lauro (vocals) have mixed the genres of swing, hip-hop, R&B, neo-soul, and jazz into a unique genre they call speakeasy-soul. 

Parlor Social’s notable performance credits include the Blue Note Jazz festival, Montreal International Jazz Festival, the 40th Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl, CMJ Music Marathon Festival in NYC, and The BRIC JazzFest in Brooklyn, NY.

ELERI WARD: The Tender Tour. 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18. New York City-based actor, singer, and musician Eleri Ward gives Sondheim the indie treatment. Ward’s acoustic covers of Sondheim’s songs have amassed a viral cult following and received approval from the late Sondheim himself before his passing. Broadway alum Josh Groban is also a fan, inviting Ward to be the opening act on his recent national tour. In 2021, she recorded and produced her full-length indie-folk Sondheim album, “A Perfect Little Death,” in her closet. After gaining a viral TikTok following, it was released by Ghostlight Records and has been hailed as “a harmonious marriage of musical theater and indie folk music, with hauntingly beautiful arrangements” by Forbes and “an incandescent new record, something genuinely new” from American Theater Magazine.

CLAYBOURNE ELDER. 8 p.m. both Friday and Saturday, March 3-4. In this candid show, one of Broadway’s brightest stars, shares his favorite songs – from Sondheim to French pop – along with reflections on romance, adventure, and growing up gay and Mormon in rural Utah. He’ll also share theatre reminiscences from working with Stephen Sondheim to being on Broadway eight times a week in his underwear. Elder is a Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel nominee currently playing John Adams on HBO’s The Gilded Age.

JESSICA VOSK: In My Golden Age. 8 p.m. both Friday and Saturday, March 10-11. Broadway sensation Jessica Vosk, who won hearts with her performances in Wicked, Fiddler on the Roof, and more – then flat-out stole them in her sold-out 2021 Carnegie Hall debut – returns to The Cabaret by popular demand. Inspired by her Carnegie Hall show, but reimagined for The Cabaret, Vosk pays homage to the iconic voices who have inspired her (such as Linda Ronstadt, Judy Garland, Taylor Swift, and Elton John) and to composers Stephen Sondheim, Stephen Schwartz and Jason Robert Brown.

BALL STATE BFA MUSICAL THEATRE CLASS OF 2024: Junior Showcase. 8 p.m. Friday, April 14. The Cabaret spotlights the next generation of cabaret stars. See their fresh take on songs from contemporary musical theatre, the Great American Songbook, and more. The Junior Showcase features exciting new talent from Ball State University’s theatre and dance program, whose alumni have gone on to star in Broadway shows and touring casts all over the world.

AMBER GRAY. 8 p.m. both Friday and Saturday, April 28-29. Amber Gray recently starred as the scene-stealing Persephone in the Tony Award-winning best musical Hadestown, for which she received a Tony nomination for “best featured actress in a musical” as well as a Grammy Award for “Best Musical Theatre Album.” She is also known for her work in the Tony-nominated Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet Of 1812 opposite Josh Groban, for which she won the Theatre World Award, and for Sam Gold’s Macbeth.

In Our Own Sweet Way: Honoring the Artistic Legacy of Wes Montgomery. Featuring Rob Dixon, Manon Voice, Bashiri Asad and Lasana Kazembe. 8 p.m. Saturday, May 13. Known and celebrated internationally for his creativity and groundbreaking technical innovations, guitarist Wes Montgomery – an Indianapolis native and resident – was a transformative musical pioneer who shaped the modern jazz sound. The evening features a dynamic fusion of spoken word poetry, vocalese, and live jazz. Rob Dixon & the Indiana Jazz Collective are joined by spoken word artists Manon Voice, Bashiri Asad and Lasana Kazembe (The Cabaret Artist in Residence) to celebrate the music and living memory of one of the true pioneers and innovators of modern jazz music.

JEREMY JORDAN (Rescheduled from 2022). The original two shows – 8 p.m. Friday, May 19, and 8 p.m. Saturday, May 20, sold out last year. Two more shows have been added – 8 p.m. Thursday, May 18, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 21. Tony nominee Jeremy Jordan will offer a new cabaret show performing songs that defined his rise to the Broadway stage and the big screen, including turns in the film adaptation of Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years, the CW series Supergirl, Disney’s Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure, and NBC’s SMASH. Most recently seen Off-Broadway in the hit revival of Little Shop of Horrors, Jordan’s other Broadway and theater credits include Waitress, American Son, Rock of Ages, Newsies, Bonnie and Clyde, and West Side Story.

CHITA RIVERA: The Rhythm of My Life. 8 p.m. bothFriday and Saturday, June 2-3. June is Tony Awards month and what better way to celebrate than with Broadway legend Chita Rivera. She will recreate signature moments from her illustrious career including numbers from West Side Story, Sweet Charity, Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Bye, Bye, Birdie, The Rink, and The Visit. Additionally, she pays a special tribute to her dear friends John Kander and Fred Ebb, the timeless music of Leonard Bernstein, Charles Strouse, Jerry Herman, and Stephen Sondheim. Chita will be accompanied by her long-time trio.

THE BIG BROADWAY SING-ALONG – TONYS EDITION. 8 p.m. Friday, June 9. Celebrate Tony Awards weekend with a big Broadway sing-along. Join The Cabaret for an evening of music, pageantry, and the magic of Broadway show tunes, with local favorites Scott Semester and Sean Baker the Music Maker. Originated by John Mays at Chef Joseph’s, Scott and Sean bring this audience-favorite series at The Cabaret. The evening of audience participation will include songs, laughs, and surprises – featuring guest appearances by some of Indy’s best voices, including The Cabaret’s Shannon Forsell, Nancy Moore Herndon, Jonathan Studdard and Alexandria Warfield Dycus. This event will also include Tonys trivia – with prizes – hosted by Indy’s own man-about-theatre, Lou Harry. Scott Semester is a cabaret singer, choral vocalist, and musical theatre artist whose performances over the last 30 years have spanned from central Mexico to the American Midwest to the Canadian side of the greater Niagara Falls area. Sean Baker the Music Maker has appeared all over Indianapolis as a pianist and vocalist, working with most of the city’s finest singers and musicians over the years. Known for his brand of cleverly arranged music, he has performed in several groups – including Four Sexes, the Leisure Kings, and Elevator UP! He has performed with the Carmel Symphony Orchestra accompanying Jennie Devoe and Ann Hampton Callaway. 

ARTWORK ABOVE: The Cabaret is housed at the Indy Arts Council, 924 N. Pennsylvania St.