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BWW Preview: Sarasota Opera House, in association with Carolan Trbovich's Cabaret by the Bay, Presents Laura Benanti on Friday, September 21 at 7:30 PM

BWW Preview: Sarasota Opera House, in association with Carolan Trbovich's Cabaret by the Bay, Presents Laura Benanti on Friday, September 21 at 7:30 PM

Carolan Trbovich wouldn't mind if you summed up her life in a single word: Wicked. Oh sure, some would think it might mean that she was being labeled as crafty or iniquitous. But that's not the case. For her, the word "wicked" means "life saver." Literally. Because of the popular Stephen Schwartz show, Ms. Trbovich is continuing to make her mark in the arts, doing what she does best.

But it was not always this way.

Although she had always been a mover and shaker in the performing arts world, Ms. Trbovich was ready for a change. With acting school, culinary school and real estate school under her belt, she tried ventures in those industries but the entertainment industry bug harkened her back. She had been in the entertainment industry all of her life, but was looking for something different, something challenging and inspiring. Nothing grabbed her interest; nothing seemed intriguing enough to lift her out of her funk. Her mother had died; her beloved dog had to be put to sleep; and her job wasn't moving in a direction that paralleled her career goals passions. As she says, "My life at that point was a country song gone wrong." She lost the passion for life that she had once celebrated.

And then came Wicked, and to quote Ms. Trbovich, her life was changed "for good."

In some ways, after seeing Wicked, the show and its message became that inspiration and reminded her why she chose to be in the entertainment field. It hit on all levels-creatively, emotionally and spiritually. She found what had been missing in her life. She ventured across the country, taking friends and colleagues to see Wicked and to share the experience. She started getting to know the Wicked cast and crew and asked what they did after the show. Several of them told her that they sing in after hour cabarets, and the proverbial light bulb turned on over her head. She ultimately ventured to New York City to experience the cabaret scene, and what she saw thrilled her: These brilliantly accomplished artists playing themselves, being real, in an intimate setting. No costumes, no characterization, no bull. Just the performer and the audience. She knew she had to bring this back to her home town of Nashville. She made friends with several managers of New York's top cabarets who helped her get started and continue to mentor her today.

That's when Absinthe, A Broadway Cabaret, LLC, was born, the first true Broadway cabaret in Tennessee. And wouldn't you know her first show starred Eden Espinosa, one of Broadway Wicked's most beloved Elphabas. Getting to know Ms. Espinosa and other performers in the Broadway and cabaret industries was something different than the Hollywood crowd she used to hang with. She found stage actors more accessible and loved that fact that many hold master classes, inspiring the next generation of performers. As a pre-school teacher and director of an audio engineering school in Nashville, she adopted the master class idea and will often hold master classes for students of all ages with the performers she brings in for her cabarets.

So now she is bringing that magic to Florida. Carolan noticed, the number one online source for entertainment coverage, was not represented in Sarasota. She called the magazine and after reviewing some of her previous published works, was welcomed aboard as the lead contributing editor for Sarasota. Shortly afterwards she was sponsored to join the American Theatre Critics Association and accepted into the Unite States Press Agency.

While currently writing her first musical, Ms. Trbovich is hopeful to build a relationship with the Sarasota Opera House for possible future shows and looks to other venues who wish to bring the caliber of entertainment her event, Cabaret by the Bay, will bring to Florida's Gulf Coast.

A current resident of Sarasota, Ms. Trbovich, and the new Cabaret by the Bay, are presenting the one and only Laura Benanti for a one night only concert at the Sarasota Opera House. The fun starts at 7:30 PM on Friday, September 21st. It promises to be an intimate and exciting evening led by the Tony Award Winning Ms. Benanti. Expect a night of eclectic songs-musical theatre classics ("Vanilla Ice Cream," "I Could Have Danced All Night," and "The Sound of Music") and more pop-folk oriented tunes (think Joni Mitchell). And expect a lot of humor and good cheer. Will Ms. Benanti give us a glimpse of her upcoming Broadway show (she starts as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady in October) and her most famous impression (as Melania Trump, a staple of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert)?

With a talent like Ms. Benanti, anything is possible.

Laura Benanti's concert is presented by Sarasota Opera House Presents, in association with Carolan Trbovich, "Cabaret by the Bay." Ms. Benanti will perform her cabaret at 7:30 PM, Friday, September 21st. At the Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota. $26-$65. (941) 328-1300;

Contact information for Carolan Trbovich is

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From This Author Peter Nason