About Les & Life Is A Cabaret
Les Michaels considers his first title is that of singer, having had 4 years of private voice training and coaching. But seeing the lack of venues and opportunities for other singers, he has searched out anywhere with a piano and approached the owners and management to give him a chance and introduce audiences to local live performances by talent singers and pianist. So he took on promoting and producing, always with the goal of making it entertaining and economical for audiences, with good food, and reasonable prices, So far it has been ever-changing for the better and has sparked many locations to follow his lead, which is a good thing for everyone.
Producing Experience and
It all started in 2000 when Les noticed a baby grand piano in the window in a restaurant on Vermont Ave in Los Feliz, apply named Vermont and started his first show, Open Mic Mondays with the late Ron Snyder and it was an immediate hit. Over 7 years it drew 20, sometimes more, talented singers from up and coming to seasoned pros, many that went on to American Idol, The Voice, and America's Got Talent. We also attracted a lot of people like; Michael Feinstein, Fredda Payne, Eric McCormick, Tim Curry, Sam Harris, Sharon McNight, and Katharine McPhee before American Idol, also a regular was Katherine Heigl and now husband, singer and songwriter Josh Kelley who would play guitar and sing, Seen there almost weekly was Keifer Sutherland who often brought a large party of friends, but he only sang once, Stairway to Heaven.
In 2013 Les started Saturday Night Spotlight at AJ's On The Green at Date Palm Country Club with pianists, Wayne Abravanel & Joel Baker. After closure due to Covid 19 the show returned in March - May. 2021. But under new management, the new T's On The Green remodeled and finally reopened December 31, 2021. With many requests from fans and singers, Les rejoined with Joel Baker for Cabaret Open Mic Thursdays at their new venue, Nicolino's in Cathedral City..
Besides hosting open mics, Les is also a Producer of live entertainment for night clubs and theaters. Cabaret Guest Stars Series ran for 3 years at West Hollywood's Wyndam Bel Age Hotel. During that time hundreds of singers guest starred in the shows including; Sharon McNight, Todd Murray, Joanne Tathom, Sean MacDermitt, Joey McIntyre, Jason Graee, Kevin Spirtas, Katharine McPhee, and a lot more.
During his 3 year run at Wyndom Belage Hotel, Les was honored with a Proclamation from the City Of West Hollywood for his musical review, Boyz Night Out which followed the closing day of the LGBTQ Tourism Week event that took place earlier in the Hotel.
During his 7 year run at Vermont, a member of the audience approached him asking permission to bring his co-writing staff from the TV series Bones as a possible idea for an episode. The following week 9 people were there taking notes and talking with a few singers. For that week's show, Les opened singing Corner Of The Sky from Pippin. After 4 months the episode titled Wannabe In The Weeds aired and opening with a singer doing Corner Of The Sky. Unrelated, one of our regular singers, an actress named Jennifer Hasty was cast as one of the main guest stars along with American Idol's Ace Young. It turned out to be the season finale cliffhanger with a shocking ending you didn't see coming. You may be able to view it on line at: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x7psm1o
In 2004 Les planned Cabaret At Sea and organized a tour group of 80 on board Carnival Cruise Line for a 3 day cabaret intensive workshop, headed by some of the best instructors including, MaryJo Munday, Lori Donato, Wayne Moore, Dianne LeGro, Ron Snyder, and Steven Applegate. Workshop attendees learned voice technique, stage performance, building a cabaret show, and show promotion, during the day and after dinner we were given full use of the piano lounge for our pianists and singers that was SRO. On the final night we took over the main stage in the ships showroom for a show featuring all our singers and staff where the other passengers were invited to attend.
In 2005, Les Michaels created "Cabaret Caravan" in an effort to introduce management of Palm Springs
venues to the concept of Cabaret format entertainment. And introduce 20 of my cabaret performer friends to them with the goal of making some matches and building future relationships. The traveling Cabaret Caravan starting with Happy Hour at Rainbow Cactus Lounge, then on to historic Bamboo Lounge at The Racquet Club, Wilde Goose Supper Club, and ending at Blame It On Midnight.
In 2008, he took over the Annenberg Theatre at the Palm Springs Art Museum for Cabaret's Best, 2 shows starring, Todd Murray, Joanne Tatham, Gregg Marx, and Broadway's Luba Mason, and Cabaret Extravaganza with 2 shows, each starring 8 different cabaret performers including Peisha McPhee, Keri Kelsey, Sharon McNight, and more, as well as a fully produced Musical Review starring the song and dance group, Live It Up.
In 2010 the Steinway Lounge at Billy Reeds in Palm Springs, Les launched The Supper Club Cabaret that ran Saturdays for 1 year before growing out of the room, and moved to Blame It On Midnight, where The Midnight Cabaret ran for 2 years. Another success was an Open Mic on Fridays at The Old Creek House in Palm Springs that after 1 month had to also include Saturday nights too due to demand. Other popular Open Mic Les produced and hosted in Palm Springs were at Three-Sixty North, Three-Sixty North again with new owner, Central Park, Levreri's, Rock Garden, again at Blame It On Midnight after reopening with a new owner, and The Red Tomato.
Currently, Cabaret On Sundays Series 13th season returns November 7th and run though May 29, 2022 at the Arthur Newman Theater in Palm Desert. It began in 2010 when the Joslyn Center invited Les to move his successful cabaret shows to their theater. There have been 100's of shows with some familiar names like, Jae Rodriguez, Sammy Williams, Jim J. Bulluck, Jason Graee, Alix Korey, Terri White, and given opportunities to many local artists such as; Francesca Amari, Jerome Elliott, Keisha D, Douglas Graham, Bonnie Gilgallon, Marcia Harp, and too many to mention here.
CABARET ON SUNDAYS SERIES
UPDATED 3/23/22 COVID REQUIREMENTS:
Vaccinated persons masks not required , non-vaccinated should wear masks. Hand sanitizer is available throughout theater, chairs will continue two foot spacing until further notice from City of Palm Desert.
November 7th, 2021 though May 29, 2022
All tickets are cash only!
Doors open at 2:00 PM with open seating.
ALL SHOWTIME ARE 3:00 PM
LOOK AT THE INCREDIBLE SHOWS THAT ARE LINED UP FOR THIS SEASON!
November 7, 2021
"Have You Given Up This Time"
This Fabulous PS Follies star is an audience favorite no matter where she entertains. She has done 6 shows for this series and for this one she brings an inspirational look to how we must make changes throughout our lives, hopefully for the better! With Musical Director Mark Kahny.
November 14, 2021
“Back in Business”
Using the Broadway songbook as her inspiration, singer/dancer Laura Wolfe shares humorous stories of auditioning in Los Angeles, pursuing a dating life, and what keeps her returning to the stage, despite all the detours. Directed by LA/New York's Bruce Kimmel, and Musical Direction by Joel Baker.
Medley of songs from MGM movie musicals
November 21, 2021
Another alumni of this series with 5 shows under his belt. He will be featuring songs from Broadway & touring company productions over his long career to his current cabaret stardom at local venues in the desert. When Douglas isn't performing you can find him teaching Jazz dance as well as creating choreography for numerous production. With Joel Baker as Musical Director.
November 28, 2021
“You Are My Lucky Star"
- my years working with Debbie Reynolds
Lois reflects on her many years singing, dancing and touring with Debbie Reynolds in her shows performed around the country & Las Vegas. Lois will recreate beloved songs from some of Debbie’s hit musicals and will be joined by her special guest singer, Jack Messenger, for your favorite duets. And I'm sure she'll save room for "Tammy" Directed by Clifford Bell, and Musical Director Steve Rawlins.
December 5, 2021
and "The LA All Star Octet”
This 'Big Band' Jazz concert is tribute to the great American art form with special compositions & unique arrangements with the All Stars; Carl Saunders - trumpet, Kim Richmond - alto, Rickey Woodard - tenor sax Les Benedict - trombone, Doug Macdonald - guitar, Bill Cunliffe - piano Larry Holloway - bass, Tim Pleasant - drums, & special guest vocalist Francesca Amari.
December 12, 2021
“Girl Grooves 60's & 70’s"
This contemporary vocalist in new to the desert and brings the soft sounds of the 60's and 70's with hit makers such as Petula Clark, The 5th Dimension, Dionne Warwick, Barbra Streisand & more. Julie is not known as a voice impressionist but her Barbra is uncanny. Musical Director, Mark Kahny, and Steve Arbuckle on drums.
December 19, 2021
“Riding the Bus to the Red Carpet”
Therese looks back on her days in Los Angeles as a very poor entertainment reporter with no car but a lot of places to go, and shares what her interactions with some of Hollywood's biggest stars did to change her life forever. Directed by New York's Jeff Harnar, and Musical Director Doug Peck.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2021
NO SHOW TODAY
January 2, 2022
"I Honestly Love You"
Estee invites you on a heartwarming, (sometimes comical) musical journey into her lifelong love affair with music, with songs and stories from her professional singing career in the continental US, Japan, Aruba, throughout the Hawaiian Islands and onto the High Seas… She will share how music helped her to find her voice and purpose. Focused on connection, healing, overcoming “Imposter Syndrome” and finding the courage to pursue her passion no matter the sacrifice. Her intention is to share relatable human moments that will in turn inspire others to find their joy and reignite their own passion in life. As Palm Springs has shown her, it’s never too late to rekindle that flame! Musical Director, Joel Baker.
January 9, 2022
"Remembering the 1930s"
In her 2nd show at Arthur Newman Theater is another talented local whose show will feature songs from George & Ira Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen and more. With highlights about stars of the day such as Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers, Judy Garland, Johnny Mercer, Ruth Etting, Bing Crosby, & others with short facts about their lives and careers. With Musical Director Jaci Davis.
January 16, 2022
LESLIE TINNARO &
"I'm Nothing Without You"
Jeffery & Leslie reprise their recent hit show at Feinstein’s in Los Angeles to explore the many different types of relationships through music duets from different genres of songs from Broadway, Films, & more. Some loving, some funny, some sung with a twist. Musical Director Joel Baker.
January 23, 2022
There were so many people who saw Pat's last show and loved it, and I'm sure they will want to see this one also! With song topics from humorous, to serious, including relationships, dating, breakups, work, you name it. A show with variety, and surprises. With her witty personality and definite style, what's not to love? Her Musical Director is Patrick Karst who happens to be Charo's accompanist, you never know, maybe she will be there.
January 30, 2022
The Music of Linda Ronstadt”
This very popular Palm Springs-based cabaret artist is always working, from local clubs, to a weekly show she co-hosts on YouTube called Cocktails and Cabaret to playing Reno Sweeney in Palm Canyon Theater's Anything Goes. Francesca continues her tradition of tribute shows like her You Make Me Laugh A Tribute to Gilda Radner, with a celebration of the music of the legendary Linda Ronstadt. Musical Direction Wayne Abravanel. who is the co-host on YouTube.
February 6, 2022
In her 6th show for this series Keisha D presents a celebration of Black History Month featuring iconic recording artist who forever changed the world of music with gospel, soul, rhythm & blues, & chart topping hits sung by one of the desert’s favorite entertainers. Keisha D can be heard at multiple venues each week, or starring in Palm Canyon Theater productions like; Hairspray, The Who's Tommy, and Xanadu. She also donates time to numerous charities for which she was honored with a plaque on the Walk Of Stars in downtown Palm Springs. For this show, Music Director PhillyJoe Littel will lead a band of local musicians TBA.
February 13, 2022
“My Swingin' Valentine”
A very special Valentine's show from a very special singer whose charm, humor, & unique style guaranty a ‘swingin’ good time with love Standards from the Great American Songbook.
Thom is another singer who made the move here for the Los Angeles area. A big fan of music from the Mid-Century era, he bought a 1957 home that has been included several time on Palm Springs Modernism Tour. Musical director Joel Baker, & Bob Marino on percussion.
February 20, 2022
Join one of the desert’s most popular singers for an hour of hit songs inspired by the great Sammy Davis, Jr. Earl is a multi-show performer for the series, so many we forgot how many. Earl has a lot of fans, many from Del Webb' Sun City, where he lives and often performs, and he is one of our biggest seat fillers. His wife Sandra is also musically inclined as well as his daughter Emily, who has her own show coming here on March 6th. Musical Director Kevin Tokarz
February 27 2022
“Older But... Not Much Wiser"
Kevin Wood returns for his third show for us here at Arthur Newman Theater.
He will be telling stories and sharing songs - comedic as well as reflective - about the "Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda " moments in life! Kevin is a very popular staples in the cabaret world in his home town of Chicago. Joining Kevin for this special show will be pianist and musical director and staple in his own right, Joel Baker.
March 6, 2022
EMILY MITCHELL LINDBECK
The First Lady of Song
This Broadway Veteran performer will give us a look into the life and music of undoubtedly the greatest woman interpreter of lyrics in the history of music, along side the best male, Frank Sinatra, with whom Ella recorded and performed with countless times. Emily's father is local favorite singer, Earl Mitchell, perhaps we'll hear a duet or two. With Musical Director Kevin Tokarz.
March 13, 2022
Chavela Vargas life is featured in this acclaimed show written and performed by New Yorker Stephanie Trudeau and directed by Tanya Moberly. Set in the World of art and social milieu of Mexico City, once the Mid-Century capital of cultural in Latin America. Part Cabaret, part play, with songs and stories that evolve around her friendships with artists and people such as; Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Elizabeth Taylor, and Pedro Almodovar. This is one show you will remember for a long time. With our own Doug MacDonald on guitar.
CHANGE IN PROGRAM
March 20, 2022
“A Tribute To Jerry Vale”
Frankie Mamone is not just famous for the Old World Italian Bakery, and his top-notch cabaret shows in Frankie's Back Room that have featured an incredible line up of talent for 10 years. Long before this he was known as an extraordinary singer who's worked at theaters and supper clubs all over New York City & Europe, especially Italy, and most recently the Desert area. Frankie's tribute to Jerry Vale, who is his all-time favorite singer, is a well conceived non-stop show with all Jerry's big hits, along with the story and history of Jerry lihe and told by the shows narrator, Luca Arias, and rounding out the show is music director Joel Baker on baby grand piano.
March 27, 2022
“High Heels in the Jungle.”
Her 3rd show for the series, this sparkling jazz and cabaret performer has entertained audiences from the Cinegrill at the World famous Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, and Tom Rolla's Gardenia Room in Los Angeles, as well as performed for large charitable events. Her shows are spicy, fun and a little outrageous. Join her as she humorously looks at how movies, TV, and popular music shaped a generation of women. Music Director Paul Cracchiolo.
April 3, 2022
LESLIE TINNARO &
“Yesterday Once More”
A celebration of the music of Karen & Richard Carpenter, many that have become Standards that you cannot help but sing-along to. Leslie is one of the desert’s most acclaimed singers along with the equally acclaimed Musical Director Joel Baker.
April 10, 2022
Leaving the house never felt so good! Join the Desert’s master tale-spinner in a celebration of live performance. This will be his 6th show for the series with each one a new original script and all new songs. He can sing a serious song that touches your heart, or something so funny it made Jason Graae say: “Jerome Elliott makes me pee!” In addition to his cabaret and musical theater credits, Jerome is Artistic Director at Desert Ensemble Theatre Company where he produces and directs their annual Musical Reviews to raise funds for the DETC scholarship Program. With Musical Director Mark Kahny, and Brian Pim on drums.
SUNDAY, APRIL 17, 2022
NO SHOW TODAY
April 24, 2020
“There’s No Place Like Home”
What’s it like to live bi-coastal the past two years? Ron takes you on a romp through the trials & tribulations of setting up & maintaining two households, with songs by John Denver, Cy Coleman, David Zippel, Carolyn Leigh, Lee Holdridge, Marshall Barer, Davis Raksin, David Friedman, Richard Maltby & David Shire. Directed by NY’s Lina Koutarkos, and Music Director Joel Baker on piano.
May 1, 2022
“In the Company of Sondheim”
Spend an afternoon with Stephen Sondheim & his extensive list of hit Broadway musicals, too many to list here, & some of his most beloved melodies & hidden gems sung by this talented classically trained singer. Perhaps you saw her as Christine in College Of The Desert's in concert production of Phantom Of The Opera at McCallum Theatre. Musical Direction by Howard Shangraw, and Nelms McKelvain on piano
May 8, 2022
It's the universal story of a burning yet unrequited love, and a pain we'd rather avoid. But lost love is a part of life that makes us stronger. Featuring quintessential torch songs like "The Man That Got Away" It's like the old adage says, "Tis better to have loved & lost than never to have loved at all”. You can hear Bonnie weekly on her Pod Cast The Desert Scene covering all things music, film, and arts in the Valley on Radio111.com. And she is the recipient of a coveted Walk Of Stars plaque in Palm Springs. Musical Director Mark Kahny.
May 15, 2022
"Back To Me"
Join Sunita, as she takes you through a musical theater journey of her life's ups and downs and everything in between. So dust off your jazz hands and get ready for a great night of music and stories. Sunita Param was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, grew up in the suburbs of Buffalo, NY and schooled at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, where she received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance with a Minor in Piano. She is a former Miss New York (Miss America Scholarship Pageant) who has traveled the world as a singer on the QEII’s world cruise. She spent 10 years in NYC where she worked Off-Broadway, in Regional Theatre, TV and Film. LA has been home for the past 16 years where she added wife, mother and owner of the Sunita Param Piano Studio to her resume.
May 22, 2022
“A Well Sung Life -
Triumphs and Trials”
If you have not experienced this remarkable singer before, you are in for a treat. Come along as Allan takes us on this journey of fictional truths told through lyrics in Broadway tunes, from show stoppers to some lesser known discoveries. With Music Direction by Marcia Harp, and Joel Baker on piano.
May 29, 2022
“Cole and Noël and I”
We are fortunate to have someone so full of talent and stage presence closing out the season in a show celebrating the genius of Cole Porter and Noël Coward. Featuring some of their most recognizable tunes from their Broadway hit musicals and have become Standards in the Great American Songbook. You don't want miss this multi-talented singer, dancer, teacher, director and writer from a few seasons ago as Alison Freeman and a huge hit with the audience and many requests for her to return. Directed by Karen Morrow, with Musical Director Greg Schreiner.
CABARET ON SUNDAYS
PRINT OUT PAGE
7th MARCIA HARP
14th LAURA WOLFE
21st DOUGLAS GRAHAM
28th LOIS BOURGON
5th DOUG MACDONALD
12th JULIE LAZZARI
19th THERESE LEE
26th NO SHOW
2nd ESTEE MCEACHREN
9th LAURA BLOOM FARBER
16th LESLIE TINNARO &
23rd PAT MCCANN
30th FRANCESCA AMARI
6th KEISHA D
13th THOM MCMORRIS
20th EARL MITCHELL
27th KEVIN WOOD
6th EMILY MITCHELL LINDBECK
13th STEPHANIE TRUDEAU
20th FRANKIE MAMONE
27th SYDNEY WEISMAN
3rd: LESLIE TINNARO & JOEL BAKER
10th JEROME ELLIOTT
17th NO SHOW
24th RON SQUERI
MAY 1st: NATALIE MANN
MAY 8th: BONNIE GILGALLON
MAY 15th: SUNITA PARAM
MAY 22nd: ALLAN JENSEN
MAY 29th: ALISON FREEMAN
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