If you are looking for a cool night out with friends or a fun date night with plenty of music, look no further than Art 4's Seaside Cabaret. This isn't your normal cabaret, by any means. It's not a sad tale of someone's coming out story, a tale of fighting alcoholism, or a story about how influential all these deep cuts of the Beatles are and don't you feel dumb for not knowing the words to these songs?

Instead, you will be singing along to "Under the Boardwalk", "Heat Wave", in which Lucy Beard and Hannah Efsits are amazing "Vandellas" to Laurisa LeSure's "Martha", and of course, what summer set of music would be complete without Grease's "Summer Nights"? There is a definite danger in taking a bunch of numbers from musicals and doing them as a cabaret. One of those being dance breaks. Sometimes fun, sometimes flashy, but in an intimate setting, the spectacle can get lost. Except for "We Go Together", you have to dance to that, it's perfect for this group, and you will want to join along during the number. Overall, the cast of "Seaside" do a good job, but a number of times choreography could have been ignored altogether to focus on the vocal talents of the featured artists.

BWW Review: SEASIDE CABARET at Art 4Your biggest takeaway from this show is going to be just how talented this group is vocally. My understanding is that the night I saw the show, one of the ladies (Laurisa LeSure) was just recovering from laryngitis, and that caused a few issues in hearing her, but with a week of rest you'll get her stunning full voice, which was amazing when she was right in front of me and gave me hope that she'll be filling that room with music when you see it!

One of my favorite moments was "Taylor, the Latte Boy" and its response from "Taylor". I had never heard the response song before and Nathan Kistler did a great job, not only in this number, but all of his numbers, especially "I'd Rather Be Sailing". However, "Taylor the Latte Boy" is a song I first heard on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and was sung by Kristin Chenoweth, so there are some pretty big Broadway shoes to fill. Hannah Efsits channeled Chenoweth with ease and blew the song away! As if that wasn't enough, Efsits then gets to sing "Summer in Ohio" from "The Last Five Years" and brings the house down with that number as well. One can see why Art 4 has used her in every show they have done to date.

This is not to say that the boys in "Seaside" are just hot dog venders for these dynamic BWW Review: SEASIDE CABARET at Art 4ladies, they also get to shine. Nathan, as stated before, takes charge in is solo numbers, but also has a very cute number with Jack Saunders where they perform the duet "BFF" from the new Spongebob musical. Joe Russo also does a great job with "Waving Through A Window", but unfortunately, you will not hear him hit that iconic high note for "Summer Nights". You will, however, hear Jack Saunders hit a fantastic high note in his number "The Moon and Me".

As an ensemble, this group harmonizes like pros, with the only drawback being that I often lost the leads when they are in a bunch. Some of the artists get a little sillier than they need to be in a song or two, taking away from the words they are singing, but overall you are going to be singing along, tapping your feet, and wanting to join them all onstage for this fun "Seaside Cabaret" concert.

"Seaside Cabaret" continues its run at "Art 4" through July 1. Tickets are available on the web at or for information by telephone at (515) 205-9498.

photo credit: Art 4

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From This Author Dave Kempher

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