Some of the most beloved music of our time has been featured in movies, which is why the Congressional Chorus will present TINSELTOWN: A Hollywood Cabaret, March 17-20 for its 10th year cabaret celebration.
The idea for putting on a special annual concert came a decade ago when David Simmons became the Congressional Chorus’ artistic director and conductor. He was looking for a different way to attract audiences and wanted to present popular pieces of music that were different from what people perceived as black-tie choral concerts.
This year’s show features a specialty dance ensemble, full chorus, a swinging seven-piece jazz band, showcasing more than 21 songs from the silver screen on a vibrant movie-inspired stage set at the Atlas Performing Arts Center.
“We’ve been at the Atlas since the beginning. It’s grown from one performance that first year to four,” Simmons says. “It’s a very different type of production; a real mix of a core performance with full-blown musical theater.”
Audiences can now relive Gene Kelly’s smooth steps in “Singin’ In The Rain,” watch Judy Garland go “Over The Rainbow” once more and delight in John Travolta dancing to “Stayin’ Alive” in Saturday Night Fever.
“It’s a large cast. We’ve got 80 singers, and 20 of those are also part of our dance troupe, although everyone does show-choir style choreography,” Simmons says. “You’ll see everything from ballroom to tap to hip-hop to modern to Broadway to jazz.”
Many of the songs are Academy Award winners and date from the early ’30s all the way up to 2015.
“For eight of the past 10 years, we’ve been following the American Songbook by decades, and this year we’re doing a broader theme, going from the East Coast to the West Coast, from New York to Hollywood,” Simmons says. “All the music comes from Hollywood films—although a few might have been on Broadway first.”
Starting with a song made famous by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in the Golden Age of Hollywood, and finishing with the powerful “Glory” from Selma, there’s a wide canvass of composers on display, from the famous John Williams and Henry Mancini, to those lesser known.
March 17 – 20
at Atlas Performing Arts Center
1333 H Street NE
Washington, DC 20002
“We will also have lots of individual solos, duets, trios and octets, featuring individual singers,” Simmons says. “The whole show is about two hours of music, with one 15-minute intermission.”
The set is Art-Deco inspired and there will be lavish costumes to help bring the songs to their best movie glory.
“This has become our most popular concerts each year. The concert serves as a fundraiser, which not only supports our adult chorus, but also our youth chorus, for kids 8-18, and our senior citizen chorus,” Simmons says. “There will be a silent auction in the lobby each night as well.”
For more information or to buy tickets to TINSELTOWN: A Hollywood Cabaret, visit congressionalchorus.org/tinseltown-hollywood-cabaret.
From the 2015 Eye of the Tiger