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Volume 16, Issue 41 - October 9 - October 15, 2008
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Passionate Broadway with Clare O’Shea

Reviewed by Dick Wilson

Cabaret is a demanding genre. It requires an intimate, relaxed mood of good will and camaraderie shared by the audience and sustained by the artist with good music and gentle repartee in a soft, nightclub-like ambience.

It takes a seasoned and skillful performer to pull off a cabaret gig in a non-drinking venue, such as the Prince Frederick Masonic Lodge. There, in Passionate Broadway, a musical homage to Broadway shows. Clare O’Shea’s establishes herself as the sole occupant of the small theatre cabaret niche in Calvert County, where the big-city star now makes her home.

The first song, “I Am What I Am,” establishes the theme of the evening. Then comes a range of others, intermixed with conversation and interaction with the audience. Following each song, O’Shea segues easily into a monologue about her life, family or experience (or all of the above).

O’Shea has experience in abundance. The daughter of former Baltimore Colt and Washington Redskin ‘Big Jim’ Castiglia has appeared in movies, on television and on the professional stage nationwide. She’s been there and done that, as reflected in her many awards.

Experience counts when things get tough. On the night this reviewer attended, O’Shea was dealing with what she called “some vocal chord issues.” (Possibly stemming from some allergic reaction.) Vocal chord issues notwithstanding, O’Shea soldiered through the entire performance, developing rapport and delivering her music with gusto. I especially liked her bravura renditions of “Edelweiss,” “I’ll Be Seeing You” and “On The Street Where You Live.” O’Shea gives the latter song, from My Fair Lady, a truly original twist. Verdict: An excellent night of cabaret thanks to O’Shea, Twin Beach Players and the Prince Frederick Masonic Lodge.

8pm Fri. Oct 10 and Sat. Oct. 11. $15: 443-624-1451.

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