In its 13th year, the Orlando Cabaret Festival brings together artists and acts from Central Florida and beyond for two weeks of crooning, swaying and swooning. More than 30 performances of jazz, pop, Broadway and comedy take place during the festival in downtown Orlando, at Mad Cow Theatre‘s two-theater complex on Church Street. The festival kicks off this Friday, April 24 and doesn’t wrap up until May 10, so it should be easy to fit into your calendar. In addition to a jam-packed schedule of evening and weekend performances, make note there are special 45-minute lunchtime performances for the busy downtown workers who need some entertainment to get through the day, and there’s also a special (popular) Mother’s Day Cabaret brunch event as well.
With so much variety that you’re bound to find something to enjoy — whether you’re more into jazz jams or jazz hands, there’s something for your taste.
Here are 5 must-see suggestions for this year’s Orlando Cabaret Festival.
1. The Broadway Boys
Friday, April 24 at 8:30pm | Saturday, April 25 at 8:30pm | Sunday, April 26 at 3:30pm
(Sunday, April 26 at 6pm – a special appearance at the inaugural Black & White Bash)
Some of Broadway’s finest male singers join together to add elements of pop/funk/gospel/jazz to traditional show tunes to redefine the musical theater genre. The Broadway Boys represent such shows as THE BOOK OF MORMON, WICKED, KINKY BOOTS, MOTOWN, RENT, JERSEY BOYS, MAMMA MIA, MARY POPPINS, HAIR, ALTAR BOYZ, ROCK OF AGES, HAIRSPRAY, ONCE and many more. They have toured the country, playing venues large and small, and have been seen on “Americas Got Talent” and “The TODAY Show.” The Broadway Boys’ album, “Lullaby of Broadway,” debuted at #6 on the iTunes singer/songwriter chart and their second album “Hark!” was released November 2014.
2. Will & Anthony Nunziata
Friday, May 1 at 8:30pm | Saturday, May 2 at 8:30pm
Singers, actors, funny men and arts education advocates Will & Anthony Nunziata sing fresh takes on timeless songs, from pop standards and Broadway to Italian music to Billy Joel, Motown and beyond. Will & Anthony have performed around the world, from Singapore to San Francisco, and have been featured recently on NPR, “The Entertainment Weekly Sirius Radio Show,” “The Rachael Ray Show,” NBC’s The Columbus Day Parade and ABC’s “Good Morning America.” You can count on some good laughs sprinkled in since Will & Anthony trained in improv comedy with the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York City (like, where Amy Poehler and Fred Armisen honed their craft). Their musical mission is to keep “America’s classical music” feeling fresh and new.
3. The Edge Effect
Friday, May 8 at 8:30pm | Saturday, May 9 at 8:30pm
This group was crowned winners of MTV’s “Top Pop Group” and Boyz II Men’s “Next Great A Cappella Group,” and America’s Got Talent finalists. Regardless of your feelings about reality television competitions, believe these guys are the real deal. The Edge Effect combines pop, R & B, jazz, rock and funk with their signature sound that blurs the genre lines and weaves a tapestry of beats, harmonies and vocal acrobatics in a totally unique show. Their vast repertoire knows no boundaries to style or genre, and the band’s stunning reinterpretations of musical favorites, as well as inventive, contemporary original songs make for an exciting entertainment experience.
4. It Was A Very Good Year
Grab a chair as you sip a cool drink in the hottest bar in downtown Club Moo and enjoy It Was A Very Good Year, a celebration of one year in the life of America focusing on the news, the lifestyles, the gossip, and most important of them all — the music. You have two years TO CHOOSE FROM, or don’t choose and enjoy both!
Friday, April 24 at 7pm | Monday, April 27 at Noon | Thursday, April 30 at 7pm | Sunday, May 3 at 2pm | Thursday, May 7 at Noon | Saturday, May 9 at 7pm
Join Mad Cow Theatre, Maestro Philip King and four talented singers for a psychedelic journey back to the sixties. It’s an evening of great songs and nostalgia, looking at the fads, foibles and events of 1968 set against a backdrop of the popular music of the day. Enjoy hits of The Beatles, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, The Rascals, and Jerry Lee Lewis along with the year’s best from Hollywood and Broadway. You’ll hear Promises, Promises, People Got to be Free, Love Child, Honey, Love is Blue, The Unicorn Song and many more. Anyone with a love of timeless music and a good party is sure to enjoy this unique cabaret… 1968: It Was a Very Good Year!
Sunday, April 26 at 2pm | Thursday, April 30 at Noon | Saturday, May 2 at 7pm | Monday, May 4 at Noon | Thursday, May 7 at 7pm
As the ’70s come to a close, John Travolta and Olivia Newton John rule the silver screen, funky fashion statements rule the streets and a slew of musical talents top the charts. Be there when the melodies of Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand are celebrated side-by-side with hits from ABBA and The Bee Gees. You’ll hear all your favorites from 1978 – Take a Chance on Me, Stayin’ Alive, The Gambler, Baby Come Back, You’re the One That I Want, and many more! Join us for this, the newest edition of Mad Cow Theatre’s most popular cabaret series, 1978: It Was a Very Good Year!
5. Mother’s Day Cabaret Brunch
If mom is more the jazz jams kind of lady, treat her to an afternoon of delicious food and spectacular music. The Mother’s Day Cabaret Brunch is in its third year and is very popular. Enjoy brunch at Ceviche at 12:30pm, then walk across the street for a jazz performance at Mad Cow at 2pm featuring Michelle Mailhot & Friends featuring Barry Smith on drums, Chris Rotmayer on piano and Chuck Archard on bass.
Artists and schedules are subject to change.
Ticket prices begin at an affordable $20 for evening shows and $12 for lunchtime events.
Tickets are on sale by phone at 407.297.8788 or online: Full schedule and tickets.