As a member of “The Secret Social”, your presence is requested at a special meeting, happening Wednesdays-Mondays now through December 23 at Cleveland Public Theatre (CPT). Featuring a brand new, lively evening with cabaret seating, musical entertainment and a light supper, attendees may only observe if they believe in the power of myth, true love and sacrifice. Suggested attire includes your most prized pair of shoes.
The evening, which includes a cash bar and dancing, has been brought to CPT by Conni’s Avant Garde Restaurant, and created by the ensemble under the direction of Cynthia Croot.
The style of the evening is described as “immersive”. Audience members are definitely immersed as soon as Madame X (played by Lucille Duncan) opens the door and leads patrons on a tour through the catacombs. “Visiting members” of the 12 and 12 (a loose reference to “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” fairy tale) are then lead through the sleeping chamber of the 12 princesses, the battlefield of the princes, and shown some cherished Society relics before being ushered into the hall. Once inside, guests are invited to find their “secret identity” and dine on paesano bread, farmers’ cheese, kielbasa and root vegetable stew (vegan and gluten-free friendly). The stew is served at intermission.
The audience is set up in a cabaret-style seating area, divided into (of course) 12 sections. Each group of sections is monitored by a lively character, with everyone in the room interacting with one another. Even before the “official” show begins, the audience has a handle on who they’ll be sharing the evening with: stoic Piper (Dionne Atchison), travel-hungry Clarence (Tony Cintrony), guitar-playing Fender Bender (Jordan Davis), mystical Madame X, snakeskin Ray (Jeffrey Francé), tomato-loving Étude (Lauren Joy Fraley), purse-coveting Cady (Connie Hall), new initiate Boris (Val Kozlenko), drumming Nico (Nick Riley) and animal-loving Sally (Amy Schwabauer).
The underground ensemble welcomes all visiting members into the sad tale of the “The Twelve Princesses” and the Society’s ongoing mission to reunite the new generation to their lost princes. They share their sacrifices and prance around in some fun costumes (or lack thereof) created by designer Jenniver Sparano.
The private party is an evening of surprise and delight that features some fun, familiar songs as well as audience participation and challenges. As one cast member put it, “It’s as immersive as you want it to be. If you want to take part, you can play. If you’re into the voyeurism aspect, you can sit back and just watch the mystery unfold.”
And don’t think that it’s over once the performance is done: after the show, the theater transforms into a lively dance hall!
The evening is great for solo members or large groups (free bottle of wine with a group of eight or more!) One note – the dinner isn’t really dinner, more like heavy hors d’oeuvres, so if you’re REALLY hungry, have a snack before heading in. But all in all, this mystical underground Society really knows how to have a good time, and they certainly convince the crowd about the magic of love.
“The Secret Social” is running now through December 23, 2012. The bar opens at 6:30 p.m. and the show begins at 7:00 p.m. at CPT. There is no late seating. Please also be aware that this production is in the James Levin Theatre, which is not wheelchair accessible.
For more information or for tickets, visit www.cptonline.org, or call 216.631.2727, x501.
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