San Francisco Cabaret Preview: ONE NIGHT ONLY CABARET (Club Fugazi in North Beach)

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by Tony Frankel on June 17, 2014

in Theater-San Francisco / Bay Area


Pretend for a moment that One Night Only Cabaret wasn’t a fundraiser for both Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation (REAF). Pretend that you were simply going to a cabaret which just happened to headline cast members of the national tour of Once (now playing at the Curran Theatre). And what if other headliners in the act were made up of two Broadway stars and a top jazz vocalist, all of whom are recording artists as well as being three of the biggest names in cabaret entertainment? Now that would certainly be worth the time and effort, right?

Cast-of-the-ONCE-Tour-CompanyWell, this really is the best of all possible worlds as David Burnham, Spencer Day, Sharon McNight, and company members from the cast of Once—a show which “opens its heart to audience members” per Stage and Cinema’s review—will converge at Club Fugazi on June 30 to give you all they’ve got while raising funds for AIDS service organizations in the Bay Area. No, they won’t be singing tunes from Once (royalties, contracts…you don’t wanna know), but this bevy of talented thespians will be performing song selections of their own choice, serving up a delightful concoction of tunes certain to put a tap in your toes and a grin in your heart. Additionally, the Once cast also serves as the show’s orchestra, so this looks to be a musical adventure unlike any of the previous One Night Only events. And as the title guarantees it is only for one night, so tickets will go fast.

DavidBurnham-WEBBBHe was last seen on Broadway playing Fiyero in Wicked, but I first saw David Burnham when he took over for Donny Osmond as Joseph in the national tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; dripping in charm, charisma, and sincerity, he proved himself a magnetic personality. But it was his turn in The Light in the Piazza that showed mega-watt star power—it’s mandatory that the entire audience fall in love with his character, the young Italian, Fabrizio, and Burnham’s magnetism and optimism were breathtaking. Here is David sounding better than ever in a teaser clip from his role reprisal as Fabrizio in The Light in the Piazza at South Coast Rep last February:

Spencer-Day-I was lucky enough to catch Spencer Day performing with the great Corky Hale at Herb Alpert’s Vibrato in Bel Air. Always on a search for the next vocalist to bring standards and jazz to this generation, Day immediately made me think of Harry Connick, Jr. but with darker tones and emotionally rich interpretations. From Joe’s Pub in NYC to the Hollywood Bowl, he consistently has a watchability factor of 10+. There are plenty of film clips with the swinging, strutting, sexy, and smooth singer showing off his stuff, but I present a vocal-only clip selected for its high-grade coolness factor: Here is Day’s cover of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walking” from his newly released fifth album. Filled with a selection of classic tunes from the 60s, in addition to five original songs, Daybreak debuted at #1 on the Jazz charts:

SharonMcNight2013Adept at Broadway showstoppers, country, torch songs, and dirty ditties, the personality-drenched, very funny Tony-nominee Sharon McNight always puts a smile on my face. Sure, she’s great when acting, but talk about someone who can command the cabaret stage. This larger-than-life entertainer actually began her career right here in San Francisco where she received her M.A. degree in directing from SF State. She has won six San Francisco Cabaret Gold awards, 3 Cable Car awards, a MAC award, a Bistro award, and received a Nightlife award from New York’s critics for her Best Musical Comedy show, “Ladies, Compose Yourselves!” She may have snatched all those trophies and been chosen as one of the 50 most influential people in cabaret for 2010, but Al Hirschfeld did a caricature of her, for crying out loud. The indefatigable McNight has been at the forefront of the fight against AIDS since the early ’80s. Here she is singing Sondheim’s “Broadway Baby” in an AIDS benefit at NYC’s Alliance Française:

The Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation has worked with over 40 touring casts to produce the One Night Only Cabaret series, and has distributed over $3 million to AIDS service agencies.

photos courtesy of the artists
photo of Once by Joan Marcus

One Night Only Cabaret
Club Fugazi, 678 Green St (at Columbus)
a.k.a. Beach Blanket Babylon Blvd.
Monday, June 30, 2014 at 7:30 pm
for tickets ($25 – $100), call 415-421-4222
(Box Office open 10am to 6pm)
a limited number of tickets available for the dessert party
with the cast following the show for an additional $25/person
for more info, visit

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