Since May of 2021, Bay Street Cabaret has churned out 10 amazing shows. Now the cabaret is celebrating with a Best Of show and a rebranding announcement. The Best of the Bay Street Cabaret will be Friday, October 7, at 7:30 p.m. at Club One’s Bay Street Theatre.
“We felt like it was a great time to look back and celebrate both what we have done and what our audiences have enjoyed and have a little fun with it while we’re doing it,” said Rick Garman, the founder of Bay Street Cabaret.
Garman said the show will be presented as a panel similar to a PaleyFest format with performers sharing stories from past shows and answering questions from the audience.
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“We’re going to share some memories, maybe spill a little backstage gossip about some funny stories that might have happened along the way, and then [the performers] are going to sing their songs.”
Bay Street Cabaret has a reputation for doing things a little differently, and this Best Of show is no exception. In the first act, 10 of the performers will perform a song they’ve sung in a previous show. “That might be a solo. It might be a duet or a small group number, but they’re keeping that a secret from every other performer.”
Things get delightfully unpredictable after that.
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“In the second act, each of our performers has a chance to either steal or challenge another performer… So they have a chance to steal a song that somebody else performed. It’ll still be a song that was done in one of our shows, but it’ll be a different person singing it and interpreting it in a different way. The person who it’s being stolen from doesn’t know that’s going to happen. Then there’s also the challenge where they might challenge somebody else to sing a duet with them.”
The shows that Garman and his eclectic and talented performers have put together over the last year and a half range from a Christmas show to time-traveling drag queens to a special Pride Month showcase to a murder mystery.
“We seem to have found this sort of secret sauce. I guess that what we’re doing is now resonating with people and the Best Of show is going to be celebrating that as we pivot and make some big changes coming up.”
New name, same great shows
You’d think they would be settled into their pace now, but Garman isn’t through shaking things up. The next big step for the cabaret is a rebrand.
“The bad news is that this will be the last Bay Street Cabaret show. The good news is we’re continuing on. After this show, we will be known as the Savannah Cabaret.”
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Garman said when he originally came up with the cabaret idea, he had wanted to call it Savannah Cabaret, but the name was already taken. “That company has gone defunct and the URL was available, so I scooped it up.”
The name change points to even bigger plans ahead. “We have shows planned out for the next year. We’re going to be doing another Christmas show with the main characters from last year. And then we’re doing another Valentine’s show. Our time-traveling drag queens are going to come back and go to the 1980s. We’re going to do another Pride show. It’s building toward our intention of next August debuting a world premiere of a new, original musical written by myself and Brandon Kauffman, who’s a musical director in town.”
But wait. There’s more. “We’re also planning on doing a weekly cabaret series. It will be free on Tuesday nights. That’s going to start, hopefully, in January.”
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The weekly productions will also have unique themes ranging from Broadway standards to tributes. “It will be three or four singers, singing three or four songs. We’re going to dress up the basement of Club One similar to how we dress up the theater upstairs [to match them themes].”
Garman said his intention with the weekly shows is to cultivate an audience for regularly-performed cabaret in Savannah and eventually open up his own theater and bar space.
“I think this is a big turning point for us. It’s sort of looking back at what we’ve done, but it’s not just a retrospective. We’re also doing cool things moving forward.”
IF YOU GO
What: The Best of the Bay Street Cabaret
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Club One’s Bay Street Theatre, 1 Jefferson St.
Cost: Tickets from $20-$30