WEST WARWICK — It’s been four months since The Arctic Playhouse last welcomed theatergoers into its location on West Warwick’s Main Street for its popular Cabaret Club. But while the theater, itself, remains empty, a new virtual cabaret series is set to bring high quality musical performances to audiences right in their homes.
“All of us are going crazy missing theater,” Ida Zecco, who will host the monthly events, said last week. “We want people to realize that we are alive and well, and living in West Warwick. We need to stay together as a community.”
The virtual cabaret series will kick off this week, with an evening of duets by Valerie Sneade-Roy and Jim Rice streaming Tuesday from the playhouse’s Main Street theater.
The cabaret series has become quite popular since it was introduced last year, Zecco said. On the last Tuesday of each month, crowds would flock to 1249 Main St. to watch lively performances by a variety of artists.
“If you didn’t make a reservation, there was no way you could get in,” Zecco said of the Cabaret Club. “We were packed every month.”
Like before, the cabaret nights will be held on the last Tuesday of every month until they can safely be moved back on site. Joined by Emmy Award winner Mike Renzi, Angela Bacari next month will perform a program of jazz, blues and musical theater; in August, it’ll be Broadway’s Nicolas King's turn to take the stage.
“These are really unbelievable musicians, top performers, coming in to do their wonderful acts to support this theater,” Zecco said.
One silver lining to bringing the events to the web is that the playhouse will be able to reach a wider audience, Zecco added. It’s also a good opportunity, she said, to bring in donations that will help keep the nonprofit theater going for years to come.
“So many theaters have had to close their doors,” she said. “Audiences are needed to keep this alive — you’ve got to belly up to the bar, and you need to say, ‘I need to actively participate to keep the arts alive in my community.’”
A donation of $20 from viewers is suggested, but not required.
“I’m not kidding you, if you give a dollar, we’re happy,” Zecco said. “You can watch no matter how much you give — that’s the beauty of this.”
And not only will the events help support the local theater, itself — artists, in turn, will also benefit.
“Arctic Playhouse has been an incredible benefactor to artists,” Zecco said. “At the end of the day, they're giving working artists a job. That’s a very big deal.”
The first virtual cabaret event will take place from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. The event can be viewed via Facebook Live on The Arctic Playhouse Facebook page, or on YouTube through The Arctic Playhouse Channel. Donations can be made by visiting www.thearcticplayhouse.com, or can be sent via the Venmo app to @thearcticplayhouse.
“This is a great hour that anybody can spend in the relaxed environment of their own home, for absolutely wonderful live entertainment,” Zecco said.