Cabaret for a good cause

by Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant

When you think back to Christopher Isherwood’s “Cabaret,” you might think that Germany’s cabarets were all about the songs, sex and wild times. But the cabaret was more than a just a place to eat, drink and be merry. It was a place of resistance. It was more than just fun times. It was a movement.

There’s a new cabaret in town, and you can resist and be entertained at the same time.  On Thursday, June 1st, you can attend “Existence, Persistence, Resistance, ” an evening showcasing women that is also a special benefit for Planned Parenthood. A roster of local talent will be performing songs written by award-winning female artists, as well as several new works by local writers. Hear local talents such as Cassidy Adkins, Elizabeth Boyke, Hilary Caldwell, Cynthia Dougherty, Catherine Gallagher, Natalie Hatcher, Caroline Nicolian, Gena Sims, Monica Stephenson, Katie Trupiano and Sandy Zwier belting out some tunes for an important cause.

Caldwell, who organized the event, chose the Off the Wall Productions at the Carnegie Stage for specific reasons. She said, “Off the Wall Productions is one of the theaters in this city consistently taking risks with their seasons. [Executive Artistic Director Virginia Wall Gruenert] picks shows that are extremely topical, heart-wrenching, soul-searching, visceral and funny. All the shows, ultimately, explore what it means to be human. Their mission is so clear, and the dedication they have to the promotion and welfare of female theater artists is admirable. They understand, at the heart of what they do, the importance of inclusiveness in the community, and I responded so immediately and instinctively to that.”

Catherine Gallagher (“A Pirates Tale”) said, “When Hilary [Cadwell] invited me to join this cabaret, I knew I immediately I had to get involved. It is an extraordinary experience to share the stage with such powerful, driven women, but to do so for such a relevant and universal cause made my decision a no-brainer. I think in the current political climate, we are all looking for a way to help. You may feel overwhelmed or like you can’t make a difference, but you don’t have to protest on a large scale. Start small. Lend your talents, lend your time.”

Gallagher added, “Imagine what we can do if every woman in this country took those steps. I am proud to support Planned Parenthood, and I am honored to perform on June 1st for such an impactful organization.”

Caroline Nicolian (“Toxic Avenger: The Musical”) is also thrilled to be participating in the cabaret.

Nicolian said, “Planned Parenthood has helped me out when I didn’t have any health insurance. It is an absolute necessity to keep them thriving in the community.” She added, “I am so happy to support them in any way possible.”

All of the proceeds will go to Planned Parenthood.

You can join the resistance, by going to “Existence, Persistence, Resistance” on Thursday June 1 at 7:00 pm at the Carnegie Stage, 25 West Main Street, Carnegie PA 15106. For more information, click here

– MB

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