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The Eastern Echo Wednesday, May 22, 2024 | Print Archive
The Eastern Echo

Black Cat Cabaret Cast Photos final.png

Neighborhood Theatre Group showcases local performers in Black Cat Cabaret

After two years of cancelation due to the pandemic, Neighborhood Theatre Group hosts Black Cat Cabaret on Oct. 21 and 22.

The Neighborhood Theatre Group plans to host the Black Cat Cabaret event, a sexy Halloween night filled with performances and prizes, on Oct. 21 and 22.

This event features live performances, a costume contest, the group’s "Haunted" House band, and raffles with unique prizes.

Initially introduced in 2016, the Black Cat Cabaret is a night of music meant to kindle the Halloween spirit in mature audiences. This year’s performance will be the first in three years, which has given the organizers extra incentive to create an immersive and mystical experience.

The Neighborhood Theatre Group assembled a cast of seven entertainers, performing both original music and covers of songs. Director and producer Kristin Anne Danko engaged with performers Angela VanKempen, Dinah Tutein, Greg Pizzino, Jessica Terlep, Kylista Geiger, Mimi Blackford, and Mo Hoeffel, for the past two months to curate a semi-interactive performance for the audience.

"It came out of wanting to have more Halloween-inspired shows and events that are for adults," Danko, who is also the co-founder and artistic director of Neighborhood Theatre Group, said.

The main theme of the night can be described as coven-esque with a sensual touch, meant to be sexy, spooky, and silly. The audience can expect some interaction with the performers, who have broken the fourth wall and rejected the separation between artist and audience. 

Hosted at Riverside Arts Center, the event will take place in their art gallery, where Neighborhood Theatre Group has been given the creative freedom to transform the space. The stage will dominate most of the space, including an Instagram wall and an open cash bar for participants to take advantage of.

Danko emphasizes that her favorite part of the night is the costume contest. While not a requirement, many attendees will often dress up for the spooky occasion, and the organizers would like to reward them. There isn’t a single winner; the organizers have divided the contest into multiple abstractly created categories.

"Sometimes people’s costumes are too good to be put into a category," Danko added, who communicated that they will often make up categories depending on the night's audience. Typical categories include the best make-up and the sexiest costume. The prizes continue as part of the performance, where the most incredible and absurd looks will be displayed.

The event’s raffle highlights a haul of unique items that participants have a chance to win including gift cards, jewelry from local artists, and plants. Ypsilanti crystal shop World of Rocks has also donated some prizes. Gotham Girls Crafting has created a custom candle of a black cat for the event. Finally, a set of horror books and stories all written by local authors will be available to win too.

"We like to say the Black Cat Cabaret is a big Halloween bash and we’re just hosting the party," Danko said.

Tickets for students are $10; which can be specified when registering online and showing a student ID upon entry. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. Proof of vaccination, either physical or digital, is also required to enter.