Actors Kay Wagner and Don Schwartz play out a scene during a rehearsal for this year's performance of Caberet 2012. The shows will take place at the Depot Art Center. Cabaret will be performed at 7 p.m. Thursday, 6 and 8:30 p.m. Friday, and 6 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $30, of which $20 is a tax-deductible donation, and are available at the Depot Art Center and All That Jazz.

Photo by John F. Russell

Actors Kay Wagner and Don Schwartz play out a scene during a rehearsal for this year's performance of Caberet 2012. The shows will take place at the Depot Art Center. Cabaret will be performed at 7 p.m. Thursday, 6 and 8:30 p.m. Friday, and 6 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $30, of which $20 is a tax-deductible donation, and are available at the Depot Art Center and All That Jazz.

Steamboat's Cabaret returns to its roots

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If you go

What: Cabaret 2012: The Redneck Hunger Games

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 6 and 8:30 p.m. Friday, and 6 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Depot Art Center, 1001 13th St.

Cost: Tickets are $30 and available at the Depot Art Center, All That Jazz and at the door.

— There’s no doubt about it; Cabaret feels very comfortable back at the Depot Art Center, where the annual Steamboat Springs Arts Council fundraiser hasn’t taken place in several years.

Case in point: It’s less than ten minutes into rehearsal Tuesday, and there’s already partial nudity on stage.

In the dark of the Depot, Cabaret technical director and Arts Council board President Kelly Anzalone offered commentary on the show’s first skit.

“It’s like a PG-13 movie,” he joked. “You show a little skin at the beginning, and they’ll want to watch the whole thing.”

There might not be much more partial nudity, but there are 22 total skits ranging from songs to sketch bits to monologues.

The cast and crew of about 50 local people had a hand in writing, producing or acting in the sketches, which are aimed at a Steamboat audience with a sense of humor.

“It’s a really fun show,” said third-year director Michael David. “This probably is the year with the strongest songs yet.”

The show is called the “Redneck Hunger Games,” and it opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Depot Art Center. There will be 6 and 8:30 p.m. performances Friday and Saturday nights.

Tickets are $30 and are available at the Depot, All That Jazz and at the door.

Anzalone said Cabaret is the Arts Council’s second largest fundraiser for the nonprofit, which aims to cultivate the local art community through programs and events.

Cabaret is billed this year as an anniversary performance, celebrating the 40-year reign of the Steamboat Springs Arts Council. Last year was the 30th annual Cabaret and the year before was the 28th.

While the exact year of the first Cabaret still is a mystery, local Kay Wagner participated in her first one in the late 1980s. She said that the show wasn’t originally Steamboat humor but that its evolution has been highly entertaining to her.

“The whole thing is to get people to laugh at themselves,” she said. “And there’s some incredible talent in this town.”

The show has taken place at locations including The Steamboat Grand and Strings Music Pavilion during the past 10 years, but Wagner, who once directed the show, said she’s glad to be back performing in the intimate Depot space.

“It’s not the most convenient site we’ve done, but it feels like home because it’s where we started,” she said.

The show is hosted by Kris Hammond, who makes a return during the show as The Mailman, and features Andy Pratt as the musical director and leader of the three-piece house band.

The sketches take on local issues from fracking and Ann Coulter to more broad commentary on “senior moments” and the racy hit book “Shades of Grey.”

Between skits, cast members fight it out to win the Hunger Games.

There might be a few references to some more memorable entries in The Record during the past year, and the Cabaret team never would overlook monumental news events like cowboys riding their horses through local businesses.

Yamp Valley Boys guitarist and cast member Steve Jones said this will be a Cabaret to remember.

“They’ll love it,” Jones said. “It’s going to be a good one, again.”

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com

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