Although they have already performed in drag (convincingly) and played instruments onstage this season, the Chautauqua Theater Company Conservatory is taking one more opportunity to unleash their talent.
This may or may not include more actors in drag.
In their final show of the season, the conservatory members will put on the annual Bratton Late Night Cabaret at 10:30 p.m. tonight at Bratton Theater.
The performance, which will last a little more than an hour, is the last chance for the actors to show off their various artistic chops that may not have been showcased in any of the season’s previous shows.
“The show is full of surprises and is based off what these actors feel they want to perform, what they want to pursue,” said Marlee Faye Koenigsberg, CTC directing fellow. “We’ve sketched together this theme that honors the incredible patrons we have and honors the company’s season as whole.”
Within the theme of the show, there is an “enemy of the theater”-type character, an homage to the spirited Friends of Chautauqua Theater troupe, that will serve as a guide to the performance’s events.
The amalgamated performance will likely consist of musical numbers and dance acts — conservatory actor Matt Raich said he is hoping to dance the tarantella, for example. There will also be various send-offs, sketches and parodies. (It’s even rumored that characters from the season’s previous productions will make guest appearances.)
It’s Koenigsberg’s job to help make sure that the show runs smoothly.
“As a director, I’m overseeing all of the elements coming together; I’m overseeing what we need production-wide, and then I’m overseeing what content the actors are generating,” Koenigsberg said. “This is different than directing a show that has a script. … This is contingent and based off what the actors want.”
This is her second directing stint this season; earlier in the summer, Koenigsberg directed a production of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet for the CLSC Young Readers program in preparation for The Romeo & Juliet Project.
But this will be different. As this cabaret is more like an artistic collage, Koenigsberg has helped the cast of 14 find a throughline for the show.
“It is very different than any other directing experience, because it’s generated by those who are performing,” she said. “I’m here to make sure that the show tells a cohesive story, that all of the elements fall into place and that we have a balance of participation.”
Koenigsberg said that she and the cast have had many brainstorming sessions regarding what everyone wants to do, all while keeping in mind, “What does this sketch say?” To the cast and crew, this performance is just as serious as any other.
However, in addition to that seriousness, Koenigsberg and the cast hope that the audience gets a good laugh out of the production — especially as there will be a lot of surprises, she said.
“I think it’s a fun send-off,” Koenigsberg said. “And it can be a thank you; it can be an opportunity for the actors to unleash talents that we haven’t seen yet. It’s really an ensemble piece, so it’s a time for them all to get together and perform in this one, big final night of performing for the Chautauqua audience with that kind of ‘thank you’ send-off energy.”