INVISIBLE THEATRE STOPS THE WORLD WITH ITS 40TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
By Chuck Graham
Wow!! What an amazing show! The Invisible Theatre's 40th anniversary "Retro-Spectacular Cabaret" called Painting the Town Red! made that word "Spectacular" feel even bigger. The red and black stage setting at the Berger Performing Arts Center was glowing with magic.
There was so much heart, so much sincerity, so much to celebrate in the 40 years that Invisible Theatre grew from, literally, a handful of college kids putting on shows to an organization that successfully presented performances by some of the most talented people in show business.
Taking breaks from their complicated schedules to make personal appearances that meant so much to them as individuals were Ken Page, Kathleen Chalfant, Amanda McBroom and Michele Brourman. Each of them poured their prodigious talents into the time they had onstage, giving all of themselves to the moment.
This was exciting theater, to be sure. Topping off the program was a special performance by the Pastime Players touring company, a group that has always been very dear to the Invisible Theatre staff led by artistic director Susan Claassen.
The first half of the program belonged to IT's own remarkable talents, combining looks back at some of the happy company's best -known personalities in their youth and then delivering zippy songs to enhance the memory.
Claassen and her longtime buddy Molly McKasson did a bit of their Mols and Suz improve comedy routine to get the ball rolling. Lisa Otey took her place at the gleaming black grand piano, Rob Boone played trombone and a bit of piano, Pete Swan did most of the drumming while Cory Boone took over for the rock 'n' roll parts.
Jack Neubeck, Betsy Kruse Craig and Liz McMahon added their songs and memories, enhanced with special guest appearances by Mary Baker, Nancy Davis Booth, Jeffrey Haskell, Stuart Moulton doing his Carol Channing tribute and Robert Shaw sounding more like Elvis than ever.
And of course it wouldn't be IT if the show wasn't littered with bales of puns in the process.