Upstairs in Mary’s Attic, on a Saturday night, when a drag show is typically the evening’s main squeeze, a cabaret of musical theatre and stand-up comedy kept a packed audience wildly entertained. There was pounding applause and whoops of enthusiasm, and it wasn’t surprising, considering the cheeky raw talent onstage. What really stood out was hilarious LGBTQ-themed comedy and powerful performances. Emilie Modaff, the show’s musical director, frequent piano player, and breakout singing talent, opened the show with a song called “God,” from Hollow.
An Existential Cabaret suggests something already in existence, or, in a philosophical sense, something presented in an existential fashion. Yet in this case, it was actually a 2-night preview of shows for the upcoming season at Brown Paper Box Co. Songs from well-known shows such as Wicked, Sunday in the Park with George and SpongeBob Squarepants were presented, in addition to "musical stylings inspired by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Pulitzer Prize finalist EVERYBODY’s characters including Love, Death, Stuff, Friendship, Family, Understanding, and even 'God.'”
Singer and actor Hannah Starr performed “Freeze” (one-part song, the other candid commentary) from BOOMBOX. Also noteworthy was witty lesbian comedy from stand-up comic Rachel Reiman, and the singing duo of host Kristi Szczepanek and Anna Schultz performing the song “Kinship” from I Will Never Leave You. Singer Ben Kaye was equally entertaining and stand-up Greg Mills provided funny food for thought about being the odd man out (single white heterosexual male) in the crowd. The cabaret was a fun diversion--a solid preview of impressive things to come.
About the Author
Marla Seidell is a writer, actress, and comedian based in Chicago, IL. As a freelance journalist, she has covered independent film, music, visual art, theater, dining, fashion, entertainment, and lifestyle for a wide range of outlets, including the New York Post, Timeout Chicago, Citysearch.com, Newcity, ALARM, The Daily Herald, ReelChicago.com, and The A.V. Club. Marla has studied at ComedySportz, The Annoyance Theater and The Artistic Home. She has performed in over 30 short and feature films and was nominated for Best Actress at the 2015 Laugh or Die Comedy Film Festival. Favorite stage roles include God (Our Christian Nation, Cornservatory) and various eccentric roles in This, That, and The Other Thing (On The Spot Theatre Co.) Marla graduated Honors, Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Hofstra University, and was a Fulbright in the Netherlands, where she completed a Master's degree in European Studies. An aspiring filmmaker and screenwriter, she is now on the verge of producing/writing her first short film.
See her current work on Marla Seidell Facebook.