Icons in the Cabaret

By Becca Jennings

He was suave and swoon-worthy. They were unleashed and gritty.

He was a seductive showman. They were authentic and made music from the heart.

FST’s Winter Cabaret boasts two hit shows this season – albeit with very different stylings.

That’s Amoré!, FST’s tribute to the songbook of the legendary Dean Martin, has brought smooth harmony to the Court Cabaret. Across the street in the Goldstein Cabaret, the outlaws of country have moved in, armed with guitars, amplifiers, a fiddle, a banjo, and even an accordion.

While these two musical genres have seemingly nothing in common, there is one thing they do share: Audience approval.

“We knew we had something special in store when we conceived these two revues,” said Rebecca Hopkins, Lead Developer of That’s Amoré! and Developer of Outlaws and Angels. “When we hear the positive audience response, we know we captured that ‘something.’”

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Nygel Robinson, Mike Backes, and Nick Anastasia in That’s Amoré!. Photo by Matthew Holler.

Four crooners tip their hats to the one and only “King of Cool” in That’s Amoré!: The Dean Martin Songbook. Featuring hits like “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head,” “Everybody Loves Somebody,” and, of course, “That’s Amoré,” this lively, original musical revue shines a spotlight on the music and the man – both on stage and off.

“Dean Martin is considered one of the greatest performers of the 20th Century,” said Hopkins. “He conquered radio, movies, and television, becoming one of the highest paid entertainers of the 1960s. Yet, he did it all with a laid back flair. He had a wonderful sense of comedy that he balanced with an incredible natural talent for singing. He was both fallible and untouchable at the same time, and man did he have style!”

“I would certainly recommend seeing That’s Amoré!” said attendee Joyce Collis-English. Audience member Karen Geck agrees, saying, “It couldn’t be better!”

Even those who think they know everything there is to know about Dean Martin walk away with new revelations. “We learned so much about Dean,” said audience member Roscoe Stovall. “The cast clearly enjoyed performing and responded to the audience’s positive feedback.”

Decades after his rise to fame, That’s Amoré! is a testament to the timelessness of Dean Martin – both as a musician and icon. “With a personality like Dean’s, it’s hard to be forgotten,” said cast member Nygel D. Robinson.

Country music is flashing its rebellious side with hits by some of the outlaws of country music and the angels who loved them. A cast of six strums, plucks, and picks their stringed instruments, harmonizing about the good times, the hard times, and the ones that got away.

“These people, their stories – they’re downright iconic,” said “Angel” Rosie Webber (vocals, keyboard). “That authenticity is what brings people back to this music every time.”

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Rosie Webber and Joe Casey. Photo by Matthew Holler.

With hits by Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, and Dolly Parton, Outlaws and Angels is converting even non-country-loving audiences.

“I’m not even a fan of country music,” said audience member Karen Jennings. “But Outlaws and Angels was fantastic! We saw it twice.”

Attendee Sonya Goldwasser called it “The best ever,” begging, “Do it again, please!”

Critics agree – both That’s Amoré! and Outlaws and Angels are sure to please, calling That’s Amoré! a “Hit Tribute” (Total Theater), and Outlaws and Angels “Vibrant” (Sarasota Herald-Tribune) and “Musical Dynamite” (The Observer).

We invite you to experience for yourself what everyone’s been raving about this season in FST’s Cabaret.