Cocktail Hour: The Show by Ballets with a Twist

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Cocktail Hour: The Show, by New York City-based company Ballets with a Twist, will make its Wisconsin debut at The Grand Oshkosh on Saturday, March 30, at 7:30 P.M.

Created by artistic director and choreographer Marilyn Klaus, Cocktail Hour: The Show reinvents the glamour and excitement of classic entertainment with an innovative mix of charismatic choreography, intoxicating music and exquisite costume design.

This pop-infused performing arts experience combines the magnetism of Hollywood’s Golden Age with a sleek twenty-first-century sensibility, capturing the timeless American spirit in a series of witty, sparkling vignettes. The high-style performance is suitable for all ages.

Program highlights include:

·         “Brandy Alexander” —In the wake of a bold marching band reveille, The Great One arrives with loyal troops in tow, ready to conquer the dance floor.

·         “Manhattan” — After a big-city evening, a socialite steps out with her dearest companion. As they stroll past each lamppost on Park Avenue, a jazz trumpet echoes the mood of the changing skyline.

·         “Rum Runner” — A spicy night in Cuba, a promenade through Puerto Rico, a samba in Brazil… This lively Latin suite brings on the heat.

On Thursday, March 28, at 7:00 P.M., The Grand will host Cocktails for a Cause, an interactive benefit featuring a tasting tour of cocktails and mocktails from Saturday’s program. The event provides an opportunity to meet the dancing cocktails up close while sampling the drinks they represent, and to participate in a Q&A with the company’s directors. Proceeds will benefit Community ARTreach programing at The Grand Oshkosh. Cocktails for a Cause tickets are sold separately.

“Ballets with a Twist will bring New York City entertainment to our boutique theater,” said Joseph Ferlo, Director of The Grand Oshkosh. “And what an opportunity for our audience to see behind the scenes at the Cocktails for a Cause event.” 

Klaus, whose choreography has been seen internationally, formed Ballets with a Twist in association with Grammy-nominated composer Stephen Gaboury and costume designer Catherine Zehr. Her company — lauded by The Huffington Post for “blasting the boundaries between high art and entertainment” — has appeared in a wide range of venues throughout the country, from Cleveland’s Playhouse Square and New York City’s Beacon Theatre to Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the Tribeca Film Festival.

Gaboury’s compositions have been performed by celebrated musicians nationwide. As a pianist, he has collaborated and toured the world with pop/rock icon Cyndi Lauper for more than a decade; has accompanied such artists as Patti Labelle, Norah Jones and Sarah McLachlan; and has performed at internationally televised events such as the Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony and the New Year’s Eve Times Square Ball Drop. Gaboury’s music has been heard in concert, on television and in films (including Boyhood and American Beauty).

Zehr is the artistic force behind the company’s costume design. Her creations evoke the origins and essence of each dance with dazzling colors and ornamentation. Zehr honed her skills while working at major American fashion houses, then by designing and manufacturing attire for her own label. She studied art and design at Washington University and New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, where she and the company delivered the presentation “Designing Costumes for Ballets with a Twist” as part of The Museum at FIT’s Fashion Culture series. 

Part of the Alberta S. Kimball Foundation Series, this presentation is supported by the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from Wisconsin Arts Board and the Crane Group.

Tickets for Cocktail Hour: The Show start at $25. Discounts are available for seniors, students, youth (12 and under), and groups of 10 or more. For more information and to purchase, go to thegrandoshkosh.org, call 920-424-2350, or visit the box office at 100 High Avenue.Beer, wine, and mixed drinks will be available in The Grand Lounge throughout the evening, with seat-side beverage service on offer to Suite Seat patrons.

About The Grand Oshkosh

Built in 1883 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Grand Oshkosh is the oldest live performance theater in Wisconsin. Its current seating capacity of 550 recreates the warm, intimate atmosphere of a European-style theater while showcasing some of the best talent today. The Grand presents more than 100 public performances each season, featuring both nationally touring and regional artists.

For more information, visit thegrandoshkosh.org.

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Justin R. Mitchell

Justin is the founding editor of the Oshkosh Independent.

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