Cambrian: Arts & Events

Songs, stories are focus of Cambria's 'Cabaret'

Dena Drotar and Sandy Shimoda appear in "Cabaret," playing Saturday and Sunday at the Cambria Center for the Arts Theater.
Dena Drotar and Sandy Shimoda appear in "Cabaret," playing Saturday and Sunday at the Cambria Center for the Arts Theater.

Fans of the Broadway musical and movie “Cabaret” often forget that the term isn’t limited to those shows. In their relatively brief history as entertainment, cabarets wear many faces and need not take place in raucous smoke-filled cafes. 

Such is the case with this weekend’s “Cabaret” in Cambria.

“There are so many definitions of cabaret, depending on what country you’re from,” Sandy Shimoda said. She and co-star Dena Drotar will perform their take with song and dance this weekend at the Cambria Center for the Arts Theatre.

Unlike the musical, and a cabaret that Shimoda just attended in Berlin, politics — satirical or veiled — is not part of the act.  

“We’re making personal statements, not political statements,” Drotar said.

 When planning the event, Shimoda said, “It was our goal to take the audience on a little journey.” 

They’ll make the trip from Southern California for their inaugural performance as a twosome. Shimoda said they hope that audience members will see their own lives reflected through the selected songs and stories.

Those stories are bound to get some laughs, given the duo’s comedic background. Drotar does stand-up with Pretty Funny Women and has done improvisation with Gary Austin, founder of improvisational comedy group The Groundlings, while Shimoda is a graduate of Hollywood’s The Second City improv training center. 

The challenge of improvisation keeps the actresses on their toes.

“You never know where it’s going to go,” Shimoda said. “It’s like life.”

Shimoda, who has toured with such Broadway shows as “The King and I” and “The Lion King,” can currently be seen in television commercials for Safeway and Walmart.  

Drotar established fame with her Marilyn Monroe impressions, and videos of her one-woman act performed in many countries reveal she nailed the blonde bombshell.

“I was really lucky to be able to do Marilyn because she’s so loved all over the world,” Drotar said.

Although Shimoda’s and Drotar’s success looks simple, it’s taken plenty of elbow grease mixed with grease paint to develop their talents in all aspects of the performing arts. 

In their show, the duo will sing numbers from such musical hits as “Wicked,” “Chess” and “Cabaret,” along with a medley of Cole Porter songs, accompanied by area musicians Bill Officer on piano, Michael Verlangieri on bass and Sean Collins on drums.

World travelers whose separate careers have led to performances in major cities in the United States and Europe, Drotar and Shimoda are eager to perform in Cambria.

“I love the fact that it’s a small town,” Shimoda said, “a tight-knit town that has a great appreciation for the arts.”

If you go

‘Cabaret’

7:30 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday 

Cambria Center for the Arts Theatre, 1350 Main St., Cambria

$25

927-5951 or http://cambriacenterforthearts.org/theatre

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