A Cabaret Season of Change, Contrast, and Charisma

By: Michael Nichols

FST’s Summer Cabaret Series brings existing Cabaret shows from across the country to the Gulf Coast, created by some of the top Cabaret performers from major cities like New York City and Chicago.

Since 2014, FST’s Summer Cabaret Series has showcased an exciting variety of musical styles and talent for Sarasota audiences – from the development of jazz in the 1920s to the surprisingly relevant musical stylings of Gilbert and Sullivan. This summer’s lineup features a season of change, contrast, and charisma spanning five decades of dynamic music.


Come Together: When the 60s Met the 70s is a high-energy musical tribute to some of the most transformative years in American history. From Vietnam and the Civil Rights movement to the invention of television and Woodstock, 1965-1975 was a period of great social and cultural change. Underscoring this shift was a musical revolution like no other. With hits by Cher, The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, and more, this rockin’ revue highlights one of the most exciting, controversial, and impactful decades our country has ever seen.

Lauded as “the 21st Century Barbra Streisand” by The New York Times, show creator Carole J. Bufford is quickly becoming one of the leading artists in NYC’s cabaret and jazz scene. “A friend suggested that I do a show about the ‘60s and ‘70s, and as I started to research the time period a whole, I was hooked!” shared Bufford. “It was surprising how strongly the music reflected the change and chaos happening across the country.”
Including hits like “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” “Come Together,” and “Killing Me Softly,” Come Together: When the 60s Met the 70s will have you singing along to the songs that defined a generation.


An old favorite returns with new flair as The Swingaroos make their third appearance at Florida Studio Theatre. This time around, the toe-tapping, dress-flapping swing band brings the sounds of 1930s and ‘40s forward into 2019 with an all-new show, The Swingaroos: Hollywood Serenade.

From the devastating impact of the Great Depression to the glamorous beginnings of Hollywood, the ‘30s and ‘40s were a time shaped by extreme contrast. The Depression saw luxury cars sold for pennies on the dollar, while Hollywood stars emerged, gleaming brighter than any star ever before. Liquor flowed free just seconds after Prohibition ended, and women used fashion to test the limits of society’s norms.

Influenced by Broadway and vaudeville flavors, Kimberly Hawkey of The Swingaroos developed this Cabaret highlighting the contrasts and character of the ‘30s and ‘40s specifically for FST audiences. “We’re blending a few major streams of vintage American culture into one: Hollywood and Big Band Swing,” shared Hawkey. “There happens to be a lot of crossover. I love that we get to combine this historical fanaticism with songs people will recognize and enjoy.”

Featuring songs like “At Last,” “The Joint is Really Jumpin’ Down at Carnegie Hall,” and “Hooray for Hollywood,” The Swingaroos: Hollywood Serenade pays tribute to such icons of stage and screen as Frank Sinatra, Cab Calloway, and Fred Astaire.


The final show in FST’s summer lineup celebrates one of the most successful acts in music history: Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Featuring four performers straight from NYC, Who Loves You: Musical Tribute to Frankie Valli and Beyond brings to life the hits you know and love from “Sherry,” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry” to “Walk Like a Man” and “December 1963 (Oh, What a Night).”

To FST veteran James LaRosa, (Unchained Melodies, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder), who returns this summer as part of the Who Loves You cast, Frankie Valli has always been an inspiration.

“His voice is totally unique,” said LaRosa. “As a singer, he created a sound that was not heard at the time, branching out of traditional doo-wop sound and bordering a little more on rock & roll.”

You’ll hear many of your favorite songs from the ‘60s in this tribute Cabaret, but for LaRosa, his personal favorite is “Dawn.”

“To me, it is one of the most beautiful songs that Frankie Valli ever performed,” said LaRosa. “‘Run-around Sue’ is often is one of the biggest crowd pleasers!” continued LaRosa. “Everyone wants to dance and sing along. If you are having fun, we are having fun!”

For more information on this year’s Summer Cabaret season, click here or call 941.366.9000.