Chris Isaacson and his Upright Cabaret are back for their second season of New York-style cabaret at the La Mirada Theatre For The Performing Arts, and if I Want To Hold Your Hand, the recent Beatles tribute is any indication, pop music aficionados are in for some great evenings of entertainment at future shows.

The La Mirada Theatre’s spacious lobby gets reconfigured into an intimate cabaret space for the Upright events. VIP ticket holders treated to an upstairs appetizer buffet, with a cash bar available to all.

Upright Cabaret has paid tribute this season to George Michael, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, and Gladys Knight and featured such stellar performers as Lesli Margherita and Frenchie Davis.

Upright’s Beatles’ salute starred Broadway’s James Snyder and Yvette Cason and the West End’s Tom Lowe performing seventeen of the Fab Four’s hundreds of hits, from their earliest (“Twist And Shout,” “I Want To Hold Your Hand”) to their very last (“The Long And Winding Road”), all of them recorded in the mere seven years John, Paul, George, and Ringo recorded together.

Following an infectious “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” performed by all three stars, the evening’s performers alternated sets and songs.

Imagine a cross between Robert Redford and Elvis Presley (in their younger days of course) and you come up with Snyder, star of the recent Pasadena World Premiere musical Dangerous beauty. Snyder soloed with “I Saw Her Standing There,” “Yesterday” (which he revealed to be originally entitled “Scrambled Eggs”), a mellow “Eleanor Rigby,” and a powerful “Let It Be, which the Broadway and L.A. star accompanied himself with on piano, and “Hide Your Love Away.”

The Manchester-born Lowe segued seamlessly from pop style to musical theater to a bit of Joe Cocker in an excitingly eclectic performance, opening with “A Hard Day’s Night.” Other terrific Lowe numbers included “Penny Lane” featuring an audience sing-along, a poignant “The Long And Winding Road,” a music-hall style “When I’m Sixty Four,” and “Twist And Shout,” the latter of which got many in the audience up on their feet and twisting.

Cason, who not only appeared in the original cast of the 1987 Dreamgirls Broadwary revival but was also featured in the movie adaptation, gave the audience a bit of English dance hall with “Honey Pie,” then wowed with George Harrison’s biggest Beatles hit “Something.” Act Two brought back Cason in a slinky blue gown (“Like all divas, we must change”) to perform “Strawberry Fields” and a moving “Blackbird,” written in response to racial tensions in the United Stages.

Together, the three stars closed the first act with a sing-along “All You Need Is Love” and got everyone joining in for the Act Two encore “With A Little Help From My Friends.”

Snyder, Lowe, and Cason were accompanied on piano by musical director Todd Schroeder and on guitar by Aron Forbes, both performing sensationally.

Upright Cabaret is Presented the first Sunday night of each of La Mirada Theatre’s mainstage productions. Next up on June 5 is Cowboys And Angels, the music of Patsy Cline, Garth Brooks and Loretta Lynn, followed on July 10 by California Dreamin’, the music of The Mamas & The Papas, Linda Ronstadt and Eagles.

–Steven Stanley
April 17, 2011


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