It's, well, Pandemonium...

Literally, in so many senses of the word, what has been dubbed as “Cleveland’s Biggest Party of the Year” lives up to its name.  When I asked what to expect at this event, friend and coordinator of this year’s Cabaret Room, Paul Hoffman, gave me one word: “Pandemonium.”  And while event goers do get to revel in what appears to be a chaotic atmosphere of non-stop performances by artists, dancers, singers, comedians on stages, in hallways, or strolling through the melee, Cleveland Public Theatre’s Annual “Pandemonium” is, in all actuality, a well-oiled machine with dedicated workers who know how to put on a fabulous party.


To say I was impressed is definitely an understatement.  Everything went off without a hitch, it seems, and to coordinate that many events in that many different spaces to make up one continuous evening is remarkable.  (Props to Cleveland Public Theatre’s Beth Wood, her marvelous staff and volunteers!)  


Having never attended this event before, I was a bit worried at the possibility of being way out of my comfort zone.  Would this audience hate me?  The fact is I was a solo jazz singer wrapping up the entertainment in the Cabaret Room after audience members had seen so many extravagant and avant garde performances throughout the evening.


So I wondered how the audience would react to my solo vocal set, especially since I went daring, picking slow-tempo tunes for all four of my songs.  While I waited my turn, I walked around and sampled as many of the various performances as I could.  I also got to meet some of my fellow performers, such as Shanna Delaney of Bethesda!  Such fun!  (We certainly have some wonderful talent here in Cleveland!)  But the more I saw and heard, the more I wondered how my act would be received.  I was definitely one of the oddest ducks there or, maybe to better put it, one of the least odd ducks in a sea of acts where oddity is expected.


Finally, it was my turn.  The cabaret room filled up, and I started to present my songs.  I was amazed at how silent the room got as I began to sing – a room that goes completely quiet is always such an amazing yet daunting feeling!  It was a wonderful audience, which is so crucial to the art of live performance.  They were so open to my sharing these songs with them and really listened to each word & note the songs’ story & melody had to tell!


It was such a memorable experience to have people really accept so many different types of arts and entertainment, and find out that there was room for me and what I do among them!  Everyone was so gracious, and, without my knowledge, Congressman Dennis Kucinich and his wife Elizabeth had been in the audience the whole time!  They came up to me afterwards and told me how they were really moved by my interpretation of the songs I chose.  I got to talk with them a bit and got a photo, of course (which is now in the photo gallery!).  Take-away life-lesson of the evening: Always sing your best; you just never know who may be listening…


After my set, we all headed to the main theatre, where they wheeled out exquisite dessert tables, like you’ve never seen, with live human centerpieces (seriously!); and artists, musicians, dancers, and party guests alike mingled together for a massive dance party with music by some fantastic DJs and re-mix artists.  As the dancing began, it started to rain, but even that couldn’t have been better coordinated if they had tried, since most of the festivities had moved indoors by then anyway…  All in all a success!


So, there you have it: my take on “Pandemonium 2012: House of Dreams.”  Somehow this journal entry turned into a bit more of a ‘review,’ it seems.  :o)  Ah well, what do you expect now and again from an English major…?


Cheerio, until next time… ~Tara