by Alexander Hehr

The Winter Cabaret season kicks off its 23rd season with Mack the Knife: The Bobby Darin Songbook, a wondrous ride through the fame, love, and music of one of the greatest performers of the 20th century. Featuring such hits as “Splish Splash,” “Dream Lover,” and “Beyond the Sea,” Mack the Knife will enthrall audiences with classic songs spanning decades and musical genres.

Our cabaret stars two die-hard Darin fans singing and crooning over their obsession with the iconic artist. As the cast sings the night away, patrons learn more about the legend himself.

How well do you know the iconic Bobby Darin? Do you know who his first sweetheart was? Whatever happened between Darin and Sandra Dee? How did he get his name? All these questions and more will be answered in this toe-tapping cabaret.

Mike Backes and Dan Faber star as our dynamic duo for the first cabaret of the season. Some of you may remember Mike Backes as Gabe in Next to Normal from the 2011-2012 Winter Mainstage season. Mike is back and ready to show his appreciation of Darin in his first Florida Studio Theatre Cabaret. Mike reflects on the similarities between him and Darin, “The guy also was a born performer. Lessons weren’t really a factor, he just had this innate sense to get up in front of an audience and entertain, I’m similar in this way as well. I don’t have a lot of vocal training, I learned by listening to the people that I liked, that my Father and Grandfather introduced me to.”

Joining Mike is newcomer Dan Faber. Originally from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Tolucan Times called him, “Attractive, High Energy, and MEGA Talented.” Dan is fresh off national and international tours of In the Mood: A 1940s Musical Revue, where he was not only a performer, but also vocal coach for the production.

Our cabaret band accompanies these fantastic performers through instrumentals and song, adding back up vocals with rich harmonies. As always, the gifted Jim Prosser is on the keyboard. A fresh face to the FST Cabaret scene, Zoe Speas joins on the bass. Both Prosser and Speas are joined by drummer Andrew Deeb, creating the iconic big band sound.

Associate Artist Catherine Randazzo is delighted to be directing Mack the Knife for the FST Cabaret season: “I love this era of music and am fascinated by Bobby’s life story. He was a marvelous performer, writer, and creator of unique renditions of iconic music. The story of his life through his music makes a perfect FST Cabaret.”

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