Providence Players of Fairfax delights with ‘Cabaret Takes a Holiday’

Providence Players is delighting you this holiday season with a creative cabaret of meaningful tunes and songs to get you into the holiday spirit, Cabaret Takes a Holiday. It’s directed by Deborah Davidson, who is no stranger to performing in various cabarets. This is Providence Players’ first-ever cabaret and it does not disappoint! The cabaret is presented in an intimate setting at The Italian Café in Falls Church, with a very accommodating staff I might add. The cabaret has a cast of seven very talented singers: Courtney Camden, Susan Dye, Jenny Levy, Dean Richard, David Whitehead, George Willis, and Kerri Wilson. The cabaret is divided into two acts, except for the matinee show, which is presented in one act.

David Whitehead singing ‘Tennessee Christmas’ by Amy Grant and Gary Chapman, in ‘Cabaret Takes a Holiday.’ Photo by Chip Gertzog.

The cabaret has a mixture of humor, nostalgia, and some teary-eyed ballads, with smooth transitions that have you on the edge of your seat wanting more. The music director and pianist is Barbara Schelstrate, who is super talented and does not miss a beat. There are 21 songs in total, along with some audience surprises. What I loved about this choice of songs was the personal connection that each singer had with them. In turn, they moved the audience members as well.

Susan Dye singing ‘Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer by Randy Brooks, in ‘Cabaret Takes a Holiday.’ Photo by Chip Gertzog.

A notable performance for this writer was “Autumn Leaves,” sung by Dean Reichard. The arrangement was by Eva Cassidy, a local favorite who passed away at the tender age of 33, and Barbara Schelstrate. Another gem was “Escape,” performed by George Willis, descant by Susan Dye, with percussion by Dean Reichard and Jenny Levy. A true delight was Kerri Wilson, who sang “Don’t Tell Mama” from the musical Cabaret. Wilson then introduced her mother and best friend, Director Deborah Davidson, and they dueted on “For Good” from the musical Wicked. I truly felt their bond, and I admit, I got teary-eyed thinking of my own daughter and my mother.  Jenny Levy sang a hilarious version of “Never Fall in Love with an Elf” from Elf, the Musical. Susan Dye brought the pipes and humor to “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” a song that brought a smile to everyone’s faces. David Whitehead reminisced with a beautiful version of “Tennessee Christmas,” and Courtney Camden performed a solid and fun version of “Santa Baby.”

If you want to hear all the songs they performed, with some audience surprises at the end, well, you need to get your tickets. Hurry, shows are selling out.

Running Time: 90 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission.

Cabaret Takes a Holiday, plays through December 11, 2022, presented by Providence Players of Fairfax and The Young Hearts performing at The Italian Café, 7161 Lee Highway, Falls Church, Virginia. Tickets (adult, $21; senior 62+, $18; and student with valid ID, $18) can be purchased online.

Upcoming Performance Dates and Times
Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. December 3, 9 & 10
Sunday at 7:00 p.m., December 4 & 11

COVID Safety: Masks are optional.

Cabaret Takes a Holiday
Director: Deborah Davidson
Music Director: Barbara Schelstrate
Co-Producers: Jayne L. Victor and Michael Donahue
Sound and Lighting Design: Brian O’Connor

(Top to bottom, from left) Kerri Wilson, Barbara Schelstrate (music director), Jennifer Levy, Deborah Davidson (director), Courtney Camden, Susan Dye, Dean Reichard, George Willis and David Whitehead. Photo by Chip Gertzog.