The new Cosmopolitan Cabaret is at the corner of 10th and K, in a long vacant building with a checkered past. It used to be what people called a dime store.
“Well, it was the Woolworth building, and I actually remember growing up and coming to Woolworth down here when I was a little kid.”
That’s Chris Bower, Sacramento homeboy and marketing director for California Musical Theater, which ordinarily does big shows in big venues, like the Music Circus. But the new Cabaret is more like a club, featuring light, song-driven shows with a compact cast.
“It’s only a 208 seat venue. Music Circus is 2,220 and Community Center Theater is almost 2,400. So you get a much more intimate experience.”
The cabaret shares the old building with a restaurant and a bar – all told, it’s a $15 million project, including some redevelopment funds. Richard Lewis, California Musical Theatre’s executive director, has been working on the cabaret for two years.
“What we wanted was something that would be completely different and serve as a magnet. And of course we are big proponents of the fact that the heart of our region is downtown Sacramento. And certainly the city appreciates the part where we’re a cheerleader for revitalization efforts here. And this just seemed like the right project in the right time and in the right place.”
Hudson: “Describe some things that make this a different venue.”
“It’s a unique seating arrangement with combination of tables and chairs and tiered seating with beverage counter spaces. The fact that we share a lobby with a Paragary restaurant, the Cosmo, is also unique. So one way it could work is let’s say you come see the show, 8 o’clock show, it’s over at 9:30, you step next door and have a nice late dinner at the Cosmo, and then at 11 o’clock you decide it’s time to go upstairs and dance.”
Mostly, Lewis aims to fill a niche in the city’s entertainment scene.
“The Cosmopolitan Cabaret, as a cabaret-style theater experience, is unique to the region.”
And to give a taste of the entertainment, here’s the cast of “Forever Plaid,” recorded in rehearsal at the Cabaret. The show is based on the smooth vocal harmony groups of the late 1950s – clean-shaven guys who put Brylcreem in their hair, and choreographed their songs around their stand-up mikes.