The second Sunday of the month turned out once again to be an evening to remember when Aaron Jacobs’ Spotlight Cabaret presented its second annual Christmas cabaret—Celebrate Me Home Deux—at downtown L.A.’s Café Metropol.


Backed to jazzy perfection by Spotlight’s in-house trio (musical director David Oliva on saxophone, AJ Robb on piano, and Jeff Takiguchi on bass), a dozen of L.A.’s most gifted vocalists joined talents in a festive holiday celebration.

The songs of Mariah Carey made up a good chunk of the evening’s entertainment—“Where Are You Christmas” (Darci Monet), “All I Want For Christmas Is You” (Lauren Aboulafia), and “Miss You Most At Christmas” (Nikkema Taylor).

Also featured were performances of holiday hits by some of songwriting’s greatest names, including Sammy Cahn and Jule Stein’s “The Christmas Waltz” (Erin Bennett), Frank Loesser’s “Baby It’s Cold Outside” (spouses Jon Jon Briones and Megan Johnson Briones), and Jerry Herman’s “We Need A Little Christmas” (Kelly Michelle Smith).

December’s Greatest Hits also included “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” (Bobby Bennett), “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire” (Michael Kean), and “This Christmas” (Robin Abernathy).

Some of the evening’s selections may have been less known but were no less memorably performed: “My Simple Christmas Wish” (Gail Bianchi), “Somewhere In My Memory” (Smith), and “River” (Aboulafia).

50s/60s rock was represented by “Jingle Bell Rock” (Kean) and “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” (Taylor), while the 1940s lived again in a pair of three-part-harmony hits (“Santa Baby” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”) performed by Andrews Sisters tribute trio Swing Dames (Bennett, Johnson Briones, and Bianchi.

Host Jacob scored with two of the evening’s brightest highlights, a bilingual duet of “The Prayer” with Monet and Kenny Loggins’ “Celebrate Me Home,” backed by a number of Spotlight headliners.

Rounding out the song list were “Merry Christmas Baby” (Monet), “Grown Up Christmas List” (Abernathy), and “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” (Johnson Briones).

The evening’s dozen terrific Christmas entertainers represent but a handful of the hundred or so song stylists in Jacobs’ talent pool, one which includes many of the same triple-threats whose work is often reviewed on StageSceneLA.

Did someone say cabaret was only a New York thing? With Spotlight presenting two splendid hours of music each month, there’s more than enough reason to Celebrate … here in L.A.—and not just in December.

Monthly at Café Metropol, 923 East 3rd Street, Los Angeles.

–Steven Stanley
December 12, 2010
Photos: Marc Wheeler

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