Photo Coverage: Upright LA 9/24 with Stephen Oremus
Upright Cabaret's always sold-out audience was greeted a special treat on Monday, September 24th when producers Chris Isaacson and Shane Scheel along with music director Trapper Felides welcomed Stephen Oremus and friends to Eat on Sunset. Fresh off conducting Rufus Wainright's Judy Garland concert at the Hollywood Bowl the night before, Stephen stopped by the encore performance of Upright's Hollywood Nights as a guest music director. The traditional gang was also joined by music directors Brian Perri (Wicked) and Andrew Graham (Avenue Q) and members of the casts of both shows.
The evening kicked off with a performance of "Louder than Words" from Tick, Tick…Boom by Trey Ellett, Wilson Cruz, and Jeanine Meyers; immediately followed by Julie Reiber reprising "Fools Fall in Love" which she sang under Stephen's baton in All Shook Up. Avenue Q's Kelly Sawyer and Christian Anderson came over from the Ahmanson on their day off to camp up a performance of Xanadu's "Suddenly" before Carla Renata (currently playing Gary Coleman) ripped up "He's No Good" which she sang in Broadway's The Life. Angela Ai (Q's Christmas Eve) also graced us with an original backed up by members of the Q band (drummer and guitar player). Then it got a little Wicked with performances by Kristoffer Cusick, Upright virgin Adam Lambert, and Jenna Leigh Green. Eden Espinosa was also on hand for the first time since an impromptu performance of "The Wizard and I" at the Christmas 2005 show, with a stirring rendition of "Over the Rainbow," holding true to the inevitable "Wizard of Oz" theme.
Fresh off his sold out Upright "One Night Stand" three days before, David Burnham hit the stage with John Boswell, and Matt Zarley came out of his musical theater retirement to wow us with a ballad from his recording days. John Cariani, Tony nominated for the Fiddler on the Roof revival, sang "Gwendolyn," from fellow Fiddler David Rossmer's and Dan Lipton's upcoming musical, and ubiquitous film and TV presence Nathan Lee Graham crooned a self-described medley of "autumnal delights." Bree Bruns, 2-time Star Search Winner Jake Simpson, and Garland's grand-niece Audra Mae, brought some L.A. style to the predominantly musical theater evening, joined on piano by Reprise's Jerry Sternbach, and Air Supply's Michael Sherwood (son of Bobby Sherwood, Garland's famed band leader).
On hand in the audience to watch the evening as it drew to a close: Avenue Q co-creator Jeff Marx, Will and Grace's Tim Bagley, and Roslyn Kind, along with cast members from NBC's sophomore hit "Heroes." Kathy Deitch, out to L.A. for a vacation, spoke of her role in "The OC" - the original cast of Wicked - before rocking out on "Alone," from her recent concert of Heart's music. The evening then drew to a close with Nikki Renee Daniels who, after her recent departure from the Les Miserables revival, and straight from the Pasadena Playhouse's current production of Ray, brought the house down with a mind blowing rendition of "Home" from The Wiz.
La Boheme, after three months of construction, will emerge from its face-lift with a star-studded return of the Upright Cabaret on Friday, October 12th. Also watch out as the Upright boys go desert-style when they kick off the new Palm Springs leg of the show on Friday, November 2nd at their new digs, by the pool at the famed Viceroy Hotel. Details and recent sound clips available at www.myspace.com/uprightcabaret.
Angela Ai with band
Nikki Renee Daniels
Nikki Renee Daniels