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An honest look at life, building a musical career, and opportunity knocking THEN and NOW..

By: Jun. 21, 2024
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Coachella Valley Repertory (CVRep) Summer Cabaret Series 2024 season has gathered some familiar faces to their high-caliber line-up. This true Cabaret act quality series continues to run from June 20th to July 25th.  The queen of New York Cabaret, Andrea Marcovicci, once told me, “Even though it is an evening of music; a good cabaret act isn’t just about stringing a bunch of songs together. Cabaret should be a master class of storytelling with music to add texture to your evening. The music should almost feel seamlessly secondary”.  

Broadway veteran Leslie Tinnaro filled the theatre with adoring fans and friends with her cabaret act entitled “Back To Before”. Tinnaro told the story about her life and career as a singer/actress. Growing up in Long Beach, California she always knew she wanted to be a star on Broadway, but to get her Equity card she had to figure out a way to obtain it locally. Summer Stock in Sacramento at the Music Circus was her indirect Broadway route to becoming a union actor.  Actually, one of the hilarious moments of this act came when she sang a fast-paced American Broadway musical medley of songs she was forced to endure during her career-building summers in Sacramento.

The moment Tinnaro steps onto the stage you immediately feel her great love and enthusiasm for the theatre. She’s a gift to the American stage because this talented lady doesn’t have the ability to lie. She is an actress who builds her characters on truth.  In this genre of entertainment, she is playing herself, so the truth stems from an even deeper depth; right from her soul.  You’ll be charmed by her dazzling smile and beautiful soprano vocals. Her film influences were French American actress Leslie Caron and the beautiful Audrey Hepburn.  On stage, Tinnaro does resemble Ms Hepburn.  Her bio-cabaret is a journey that is based in fact surrounding her dream of being a famous Broadway star and an even more respected wife and mother; both extremely daunting careers and not for the faint of heart.  Several times, as if taken from a screenplay, just as her career began to accelerate life stepped in, and pushed her down a different path.  Each new blindsided journey made her the incredibly resilient powerhouse soul that she is today.

Accompanying her on the piano is retired Palm Springs resident Eddie Clement. Together they kept the show moving quickly and he assisted with several comedy bits.

Many of her stage musical roles are from the typical wholesome ingénue and powerful leading lady catalog: Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady”, Lili in “Carnival”, Rose in “Gypsy”, Helen in “Fun Home”, Sally in “Cabaret”, and Pauline in “Ballroom”.  As her dream of becoming a Broadway gypsy became a reality she performed in the original cast of "Evita" when it made its premiere at the Shubert Theatre in Los Angeles – life stepped in and redirected her journey – later she rejoined the New York cast of “Evita” stepping back into the exact same role she left; and remained with the company until its closing.

Her Cabaret act includes many of the songs she sang in theatrical productions throughout the country. As a young hopeful building a career and having many opportunities to show off her glorious voice; it’s her compelling life story filled with immense joy and heartbreaking tragedy that makes this show so interesting.

As we were captivated by Ms Tinnaro and her personal life story, she introduced a friend she met at an open mic here in Palm Springs; The talented Jeffrey Lesser. A couple of years ago he performed a duet show with Tinnaro. Up until this point, her show was strictly a Cabaret Act; with a handheld microphone and a solo spotlight. Tinnaro and Lesser wore body mics and performed a song from the musical The Bridges Of Madison County, “Before and After You/One Second and a Million Miles”.  Then after Tinnaro & Lesser professed their love and friendship for one another they belted out a lively “There Once Was a Man” from The Pajama Game.  Both songs were beautifully sung, but completely unnecessary.  They neither helped nor added to her own personal journey.  The Cabaret Club Act basically stopped until Tinnaro was able to grab the handheld mic once again and continue on her own.  To be honest, a full evening with just Leslie Tinnaro is Chef's kiss, and many of her audience agreed we could have sat for another half hour of her storytelling and singing. Her sincerity and heart are apparent from the moment she opens her mouth to speak or sing; a true Palm Springs treasure.

This Cabaret Act is filled with traditional Great American Musical Songbook favorites. One night was not enough. With a few more songs, a tightened and fleshed-out patter, and a small combo band -- I can see Leslie Tinnaro: BACK TO BEFORE having a descent run throughout the East and West Coasts.

Whenever you see the name Leslie Tinnaro appearing anywhere; that is a sure sign she is attached to quality production. You will definitely be getting your money's worth.

Grand performances, great music, and personality plus make the COACHELLA VALLEY REPERTORY 2024 SUMMER CABARET SERIES among the very best ways to enjoy Downtown Cathedral City. CVRep has scheduled 17 memorable evenings of award-winning talent, vivacious personalities, music and song, levity, and stories that are just waiting to be shared. This year’s Summer Cabaret Series continues to run through July 25, and has been expanded to include two shows every week!

Showtime is at 7PM. Tickets are $50 and on sale now. They may be ordered online at, by calling (760) 296-2966, ext. 201, or at the CVRep box office located at 68510 East Palm Canyon Dr., Cathedral City. Special custom ticket packages are available. The box office is open Tuesdays-Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and one hour prior to performances. In order to better serve audiences, patrons requesting accessibility assistance are encouraged to contact the box office at least 24 hours prior to their ticketed performance. Artists, show titles and dates are subject to change.


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