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Class Acts

Talented singer-actors have a classy and prestigious Los Angeles performing venue, which has been steadily enhancing reputation since it first saw the light of night about 18 months ago. Young impresarios Shane Scheel and Chris Isaacson and music director Trapper Felides, a dynamic trio of energetic self-starters, have realized their dreams with the establishment of the fabulously successful Upright L.A. Cabaret. The biweekly show features cream-of-the-crop bicoastal and L.A.-based entertainers.

It originated as a monthly event a year and a half ago at Mark’s Restaurant in West Hollywood and has now relocated to the nearby La Boheme Restaurant on Santa Monica Boulevard, where it is presented every other Friday night, to SRO crowds. Audiences can savor top-drawer musical performers from Broadway and L.A, including prominent movie and TV actors. On June 8, at Upright’s Tribute to Judy Garland, the stellar lineup was astonishing—including but not limited to vivacious Tony nominee Valarie Pettiford (belting out a mean “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries”), Ovation and Garland winner Jennifer Leigh Warren, Chad Kimball (recently star of Lennon on Broadway), and Barbra Streisand’s sister Roslyn Kind, delivering a showstopping “The Man That Got Away.”

Oklahoma-born singer-songwriter-guitarist Audra Mae, another relative of a showbiz legend—Garland’s great grand-niece and the great-granddaughter of Garland’s bandleader Bobby Sherwood—capped the show with a smashing concert of her eclectic original songs. Her distinctive style encompasses a bit of Garland, a hint of Janis Joplin, and a host of other styles—from Randy Newman to Cindy Lauper. Revered music director-composer Gerald Sternbach of Reprise and many other local venues and productions was another welcome guest. For more information on this red-hot talent showcase, visit www.uprightcabaret.com or  www.myspace.com/uprightcabaret. La Boheme Restaurant: (323) 848-2360.

--Les Spindle

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