There’s just something about this time of year. The cheerfulness, the food, the gatherings, the kindness spilling out from everyone around you. Is there anything better?
And look, amidst all this holiday delight, you receive an invitation. You have been cordially invited to a lavish holiday party in the home of Courtenay Collins! It sounds interesting enough, but your schedule is packed. There’s the Christmas tree lighting here. And the visit with the in-laws there. And not to mention the cookie and gingerbread baking. Do you even have the time to commit to yet another event?
1) The Stories
Sometimes cabaret can get a bad reputation. People may view these types of performances as “glorified concerts,” or essentially a series of songs where a performer indulges in their favorite numbers. But Courtenay shatters those preconceived notions and showcases an impressive set list, all accompanied by fascinating stories about past holidays or song meanings (just how shallow is “Santa Baby” anyway?). And while audiences will get to hear a taste of the quite lovely, but typical, holiday tunes, there are a few of the more unknown gems, including a moving performance of Joni Mitchell’s “River.”
2) The Set
The Hertz Stage has been completely transformed into an elegant entertaining space. “It’s an exact replica of my actual living room,” exclaims Courtenay in the first minutes of the show. With several chairs and tables strewn across the front of the house, audience members receive the rare opportunity to get up close and personal in a setting more attuned to a jazz club than a theatre. And what would a celebration be without refreshing beverages? A major focal point of the stage, a grand bar, is available for patron drink purchases before and during intermission.
3) Audience Participation
Wait. Hold on a second. We know what you’re thinking, “I hate audience participation.” And sure, a moment where the audience suddenly becomes the center of the show can be a little intimidating. But trust us; with a few unique instruments, crafts and a sing-along, it might even become your favorite part of the show.
4) The Band
Throughout the entire performance, Courtenay Collins is backed by an impressive trio of instrumentalists: Amanda Wansa Morgan (Conductor/Keyboard), Scott Glazer (Bass) and Quinton “Q” Robinson (Drums). Their position in front a rustic background with falling snow generates an ambiance that is unparalleled anywhere in the Southeast, let alone the city of Atlanta. The chemistry between the artists spawns the ultimate soundtrack to the swanky affair.
5) The Mystery Guests
Ding dong! Who’s at the door? Well, it’s a surprise. At two different occasions in the show, Courtenay will open up her home to a special mystery guest. We’re keeping each visitor a secret, but what we can tell you is that they are all local (or sometimes national) celebrities and they will all be singing. An extra treat on top on an already deliciously entertaining production.
Revelations, laughs and festive holiday fun are all right here at the Alliance in “Courtenay’s Cabaret: Home for the Holidays.” Question is, will you accept the invite?
by A'riel Tinter, Brand Journalist