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"Lainie's Cabaret at UCLA" launched with smashing benefit performance

Veteran entertainer -- and one of her master class students -- raise the roof at the Freud

“Lainie’s Cabaret at UCLA,” a showcase for students in TFT's Ray Bolger Musical Theater Program. After the great success of a Master Class she taught last year, in a series generously sponsored in the Theater Department by the Los Angeles Philanthropic Committee for the Arts (LAPCA), Dean Schwartz invited Kazan back this fall to take over the required Theater 136 acting class, with an emphasis on acting in song. “Lainie’s Cabaret” was performed by students Kazan taught in this class. TFT commencement video She described her solo program in the benefit as a work-in-progress version of a projected one-woman show that will provide an overview of her distinguished career, which was launched in the 1960s on Broadway, in recordings and on television. (She was a frequent and memorable guest on “The Dean Martin Show”). The line up mixed full-throated-performances of many of her signature tunes with biographical anecdotes – a description of a meeting with idol Judy Garland, for example, followed by her own rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

At the midpoint of the show, Kazan called to the stage a TFT student from the cast of “Lainie's Cabaret,” Nina Herzog , a blistering rendidtion of Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler's "Stormy Weather." The authority of Herzog's enthusiastically received performance confirmed the frequent description of TFT students as “professionals in training.”

“Lainie’s Cabaret” debuted a few days later, selling out six shows at the Freud over four days with a program of classic tunes from the Great American Songbook sung in a dazzling array of styles. Students Hunter Bird, Beatrice Crosbie, Emma Degerstedt, Jon Eidson, Nina Herzog, Mikayla Mcvey, Sarah Miller-Crews, Kimberly Moore, Marco Ramos, Michael Starr, Jake Everett Tieman and Rachel Weck consistently won standing ovations for their work.