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The organizers of Cabaret are being very secretive about some of the content of the 23rd annual show.

"It's going to be an opening like no other," said co-producer and director Scott Parker.

Cabaret

6 p.m. pre-show party, show starts at 7 p.m. Thursday, 6 and 9 p.m. shows May 5 and 6

Steamboat Springs Mountain Theater in Ski Time Square

$40 for Thursday show with pre-party, $30 for May 5 and 6 shows

879-9008

"When you see what we are talking about, you'll see how much work went into it," co-writer Kip Strean said. "You'll be glad we didn't tell ya."

This year's show, titled "Cabaret Night Live," spoofs the Saturday Night Live era of Billy Murray, John Belushi and Eddie Murphy. Skits will include a Church Lady spoof by Nina Rogers, The Weekend Update with Michael David and special guests and a Cabaret version of Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy.

There will be a full cast number based on the Point Counter Point skit that will address current topics, Parker said. Cabaret always has been a parody of local events, and this year actors will reference the $3 million tennis center, the indefinite closing of Levelz and the high number of Mexican restaurants in town. There also will be a spoof combining "Brokeback Mountain" with the "Filthy Rich: Cattle Drive" reality show.

"The microcosm of Steamboat is the only place to get away with inside jokes," Strean said. "99.9 percent of the people will get the jokes. They are starved to see this kind of entertainment."

Video director Kelly Anzalone will be performing a new Smoothie the hairless fox song. "I made it a little longer, and there's gonna be some rhyming," Anzalone said." "Like I rhymed cat with bat."

Cabaret, which is a mud-season tradition, is a benefit for the Steamboat Springs Arts Council, and all the actors and actresses are volunteers. "This is the biggest winter I've ever seen, so I can see now why they even have this show," Strean said. "It's a release from cabin fever."

Cabaret will take place at a new venue, the Steamboat Springs Mountain Theater, which is now an Arts Council affiliate. "This is the best venue ever," Strean said. "It has the intimacy of the Depot Art Center, and there is no bad seat in the house."

Unlike the Priest Creek Ballroom in the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel, the crew does not have to move in a stage, set up lights or provide video on two big screens. "The theater is almost tailor-made for this," Strean said. "It's the kind of theater they had in the old days where you can speak without a PA system. It's gonna be a real asset."

The cabaret band this year will include Strean on guitar and vocals, Rick Phillipp on the drums, Willie Samuelson on the bass guitar and Andy Pratt on the keyboards.

The show's success throughout the years has caused some minor problems. Cabaret started out as a talent show with no emcee, no band and no video, Parker said. "The trouble I see happening is that the bar has been raised."

There will be a pre-show party with wine and hors d' oeuvres instead of table seating on Thursday to celebrate the opening night of the show. Tickets are available for the late show Friday and both shows Saturday. Call the Arts Council at 879-9008 for more information.

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