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ThinkTank Theatre’s cabaret series starts Saturday

Bill DeYoung

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Tampa Repertory Theatre artistic director Emilia Sargent (seen here in "A Doll's House Part 2") will sing in the ThinkTank cabaret. Image: Stage Photography of Tampa.

The May Cabaret Series has been part of every ThinkTank season – in spirit – since the Tampa-based theater company began back in 2018.

ThinkTank is dedicated to producing theater for young people – not plays for children, but material that’s not “dumbed down,” and speaks to themes and issues that teens and young adults can relate to.

And sometimes, actors just feel like singing.

So the cabaret isn’t a play – it’s a musical performance, with a collection of songs from Broadway, jazz and the Great American Songbook. The 2023 edition, titled “Both Sides of the Bay Cabaret,” debuts Saturday (May 13) at St. Pete’s freeFall Theatre, and will be repeated May 20 at Stageworks Theatre (in Tampa).

It came about in a circuitous fashion. “We got interrupted by the pandemic,” company founder Georgia Mallory Guy explains. “And then one year we opted to do a musical in place of the May cabaret series. This year, because we had done a musical (The Lightning Thief) in the fall, we almost considered not doing the series. But there were some logistical issues with the show we had planned for May. And so we decided to go ahead with the cabaret series.”

Patrick A. Jackson

With Emi Stefanov as music director and show accompanist, Guy is directing “Both Sides of the Bay Cabaret.”

Indeed, participating actor/singers come from Hillsborough (Emilia Sargent and Jim Sorensen of Tampa Repertory Theatre) and Pinellas (Patrick A. Jackson from American Stage).

The cast also includes relative newcomers Dylan Glover (Stageworks’ 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Grant Sparr (Tampa Rep’s The Elephant Man) and Calee Gardner (Stageworks’ The Diary of Ann Frank, soon to appear with Sargent in Tampa Rep’s All My Sons.

There are several ThinkTank “young artists,” too. Each act opens with a group performance; the program includes three duets and a number of solo numbers.

Sargent, Tampa Rep’s artistic director, is also a professional singer and vocal coach. She sees the collaboration with ThinkTank – and with Georgia Guy, a longtime friend – as something of a no-brainer.

“It’s really important to me, as a fellow artistic director, that we are not only supportive of Think Tank, but collegially a part of it,” she says. “A part of bringing theater across Tampa Bay. And this particular project, I think, epitomizes that sentiment of wanting to bring the theatrical community together on both sides of the bay. I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”

Tickets for Both Sides of the Bay Cabaret at freeFall (May 13)

Tickets for Both Sides of the Bay Cabaret at Stageworks (May 20)

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