When the Columbia-based theater company Silhouette Stages does a Cabaret Night several times a year at Slayton House, audiences know that the singing, dancing, stand-up comedy and magic acts establish a direct and casual connection with them.
Even the master of ceremonies does not stand on ceremony in a cabaret setting.
Life will be even more of a cabaret at Silhouette Stages' upcoming Cabaret Night on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 8 p.m., according to the evening's master of ceremonies, Mo Dutterer.
"This time we're doing it in true cabaret style, with no pull-out seating" in the theater at Slayton House, he says. Instead of the usual fixed rows of seats, all audience members will be seated at cabaret-style tables.
Another change is that Silhouette Stages has secured a one-day liquor license for the evening. Besides applauding the performers, some audience members doubtless will cheer the opportunity to drink beer or wine in a nightclub environment.
"We just wanted to try it and see how it goes," adds Dutterer, who is president of Silhouette Stages.
Yet another difference is that most previous Cabaret Night programs have been variety shows encompassing music, comedy and magic, but the upcoming show will be exclusively devoted to song and dance.
Ensemble musical numbers include the "Cell Block Tango" from the Broadway musical "Chicago," and a few songs from the Broadway musical "Avenue Q." Incidentally, Silhouette Stages is doing a fully staged production of "Avenue Q" from March 2 to 11 at Slayton House. That makes this Saturday's performance something of a preview opportunity.
In addition to such densely populated production numbers, the evening will have many duet and solo numbers. Dutterer himself takes to the stage for a duet with Maggie Dransfield of "That's Why the Lady is a Tramp," a standard that has generated new interest thanks to the recent duet recording by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. Dutterer hastens to point out that he and his duet partner will not attempt to look or sound like those two performers.
Accompanied either by recorded music or by pianist Michael Tan, a total of 30 local performers will take to the stage for this cabaret. Dutterer says they include Elizabeth Kanner, Jeff Miller, Ric Ryder, Michelle Guyton, Leo Bianco and Alex Berry.
Several of the performers are either former or current students of this busy music teacher. Dutterer is retired from the Howard County Public School system, but still teaches privately.
So much Howard County musical talent will be performing on stage and also moving through the theater space that Dutterer can count on having a lively cabaret crowd.
"The camaraderie is really quite good," he says, adding that the performers' family members and friends can be relied upon to show their support. "I don't want to say it's rowdy, but there's a really good response."
Silhouette Stages' next Cabaret Night is Saturday, Feb. 4, at 8 p.m. at Slayton House, 10400 Cross Fox Lane, Columbia. Tickets are $10, which includes food and drink at intermission. Waiters will be available to serve beer, wine and snacks at an additional cost. Call 410-730-3987 or go to http://www.wildelake.org.