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Burt Reynolds Institute brings cabaret to Lake Park

Staff Writer

They’re not just going to go up and wing a cabaret performance

They’ve trained for this — at Cabaret Camp. And not just any camp, but the one overseen by the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre.

That’s what “Tropical Nights Cabaret,” to take place Tuesday, August 26 night in the Lake Park Mirror Ballroom, is all about: to spotlight the work eight camp students did this summer.

“My idea is to impart information about cabaret,” says Avery Sommers, who teaches the class and directs the show. “I’ve been doing cabaret since 2007. I came from the Broadway world, and I wanted to expand and find out what I could do here in South Florida. I was fortunate enough to be asked to do the Royal Room at the Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, so I had to put together a cabaret act.”

Sommers, who lives in West Palm Beach, starred in “Ain’t Misbehavin’ (replacing Nell Carter),” “Showboat” and “South Pacific” on the Great White Way. She also appeared in national tours of “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” with Ann-Margret and “Chicago” with Joel Grey and Chita Rivera.

She met Burt Reynolds after Charles Nelson Reilly cast her in a production of “Whose Life Is It Anyway?” at the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theatre, which is now the Maltz Jupiter Theatre.

“I’ve known Mr. Reynolds for a very long time,” she says. “He was very kind to put me in one of his TV series he shot here, ‘B.L. Stryker.’ Last summer, he asked me to teach a class. I really enjoyed it very much, and when he asked again this year, I jumped at the chance to do it.”

Sommers - who co-starred in and associate-produced the 2006 movie “Hiding Victoria” - says she teaches Cabaret Camp students material selection, song presentation, staging, voice projection, stage patter, show pacing, breathing and how to introduce their act. “A lot of times, we think we’re breathing, but we are not,” Sommers says, adding, “A lot of people think they know how to introduce themselves. They don’t.”

“Tropical Nights Cabaret” will include songs, scenes and monologues.

“Cabaret really encompasses quite a lot of things,” explains Sommers, who recently appeared in “Dividing the Estate” at Palm Beach Dramaworks. “In Europe, it really encompasses the spoken word. Sometimes, it encompasses dance. Variety. We want to keep things in the scenes and monologues moving, and that is very much a part of what the Burt Reynolds Institute is all about.”


Tropical Nights Cabaret

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 26

Where: Lake Park Mirror Ballroom (inside Lake Park Town Hall), 535 Park Ave.

Cost: $10

Contact: 561-743-9955

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