I love Valentine's Day. And this year, it was even more special. Amidst an already lively theater scene in the metropolitan area, a Valentine's Day Cabaret happened at the Club Vibe. This cabaret, the brain child of Nik Whitcomb and Sarah Gibson, featured local performers who have appeared in award-winning productions in a variety of Omaha theaters.

Set in a blackened room, round tables were covered in pink tablecloths and set with glass candleholders, red beads, and pink confetti strands. Pink, white and red balloons were scattered on the stage, and red foil hearts hung from the mirrored background. The performers were dressed in various shades of red, black, grey, and white. A pasta dinner was available and drinks were served.

Nik and Sarah, hosts and emcees for the evening, opened the evening with a duet "You're the Top" and accompanying banter, reminiscing about the first show they did together. Before the laughs died down, they introduced Echelle Childers, winner of multiple local theater awards for her roles as Caroline in "CAROLINE, OR CHANGE" at the Omaha Community Playhouse and tormented Diana in the SNAP Production's "NEXT TO NORMAL." Echelle toned down the levity with an emotional, throaty rendition of Adele's "Someone Like You."

From the emotional to the ridiculous, Emily Hill followed with the famous-around-here Hill humor and powerful vocals in Michael Mitnick's "Daryl is a Boy (And He Lives in My Closet)." Then, from the ridiculous to the sublime, David Sutera, dapper in suit with drink in hand, took us "Steppin' Out With My Baby."

Nik thanked the audience and joked that half of the Philippines was present in support of local favorite Roni Perez, who later in the show wowed the audience with her comic interpretation of "Changing My Major to Joan" from the 2015 Tony Award-winning musical FUN HOME. Roni is an exceptional talent and most likely won't remain undiscovered in Nebraska for long.

Lauren Krupski, a veteran performer with a clear, beautiful soprano voice, frequently appears in the Rose Theater children's productions. Lauren delivered a crowd pleasing funny, but moving "When He Sees Me" from Sara Bareilles' hit musical WAITRESS.

David Jesik swung the emotion pendulum back to mellow with his sweet vocals in "I Can't Make You Love Me." David has appeared in CAROLINE, OR CHANGE and was part of a Theater Arts Guild (TAG) Award winning best ensemble in HEATHERS, THE MUSICAL at the Blue Barn Theater.

Breaking the line up of singers, Nik and Sarah (who is reminiscent of Lisa Kudrow in her appearance and humor), brought an audience couple up on stage to play the Newlywed Game. After a few boisterous questions and responses, Sarah showed us "One Hundred Easy Ways" to lose a man from the 1953 musical WONDERFUL TOWN.

Creighton University graduate Colleen Kilcoyne, who received well-deserved nominations for her performance as Sally Bowles in Creighton's CABARET (how fitting!) poured out strong, sweet tones in "My Man" from the musical FUNNY GIRL.

Nik Whitcomb continued the romantic mood with his stellar performance of John Legend's "All of Me," reminding us that imperfections can be perfect, especially when sung with passion and power.

Tim Vallier, another award-winning Omaha performer, hit some through-the-roof notes in "Seeing You There," from ORDINARY DAYS, possibly inspired by his wife, Mallory, who will soon appear in the lead as Sherrie at the upcoming Omaha Community Playhouse's "ROCK OF AGES."

So, how do you close the musical portion of this night of romance and laughs? How about an interpretation of 'Beyonce' complete with baby bump dancing to her hit music? After a short intermission, the evening continued with improve led by stand up comedienne Stephanie Hillier.

What was so entertaining about this cabaret was seeing the mix of accomplished performers come together to put on a wonderful show at the hands and minds of two talented and funny people.

About Nik and Sarah:

Nik is an Omaha based actor, director, and teaching artist who has frequented many Omaha stages and appeared in productions in Chicago, and Off-Broadway in NYC. Nik won a TAG Award for his personification of a dryer and bus driver in CAROLINE, OR CHANGE. Nik spent last summer as an artist in residence at the Quincy Community Theatre and is currently the Education and Outreach Coordinator at the Omaha Community Playhouse.

Sarah is a Nebraska native, performer, and arts educator. Her credits include the role of Ms. Fleming in the Blue Barn Theater's smash hit HEATHERS, THE MUSICAL along with several key roles in Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts theaters, including Nettie Fowler in CAROUSEL, Signora Naccarelli in THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA, Norma Desmond in SUNSET BOULEVARD.

The next cabaret is already on the calendar for April 22, and I am already looking forward to it!

Photo credits:
Nik- Jonathan Conklin

Sarah-Laurie McVean

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From This Author Christine Swerczek