SCOTTSBLUFF — An evening of musical entertainment will return to Backaracks Friday and Saturday at 9 p.m. as Theatre West presents the After Party Cabaret.

The show kicked off Thursday evening in the front bar area.

Lauren Newell coordinated the event and said the After Party Cabaret has evolved over the years as the company members extend their performances to different audiences.

“It started where the cast members as a stress relief and fun would all get together and sing some of their favorite songs for each other,” Newell said. “We figured out a few years ago that if we were going to do that anyway, we should polish it and make an event out of it.”

Since 2011, Theatre West actors have been performing a cabaret for each other, but this is the second year Theatre West is presenting the show in an intimate setting. As the show evolved, the performers tried to create a storyline, but during last year’s construction that left Theatre West without a space, they explored other options.

“Last year, when we didn’t have a space, we were looking for somewhere else to do it. A lot of these bars have stages. For a long time we tried to figure out how to reach a different demographic, so last year it was a combination of not having a space and then trying to use this to get different audiences.”

The cabaret allows the performers to perform songs that they would not get to perform in other circumstances, making the evening an outlet of self expression and brings a unique performance into the community for the audience to enjoy.

“It’s our chance to be who we are as theater people and being in the regular shows doesn’t always give us those opportunities,” Newell said.

The show features musical theater songs performed by Theatre West’s company of actors. Some of the songs are from shows like "Grease," "West Side Story" and "Jekyll and Hyde." New musicals are also included like "Billy Elliot," "Anastasia" and "Something Rotten." Throughout the performances, the emcees incorporate jokes to transition between performances for a couple hours of entertainment. Caleb Long and Logan Lee are this year’s emcees.

With less than 10 hours of rehearsal together, the performers are putting together a show with choreography quickly while having a blast.

“It’s a really quick get it up and get it on its feet,” Newell said.

The show is tailored toward an adult audience and seeks to provide guests with a laid back and intimate environment where they can meet the company members while hearing some old favorites sung by the talented 2019 company members.

“You get to know the company members more and they have fun interacting with the crowd a lot more than they do when they’re on stage,” said Staysha Adams, Theatre West company manager.

While the company is in its second year of performing a cabaret, Adams said they are including a band.

“This is the first time the cabaret is going to have an actual band,” Adams said. “Normally, we just have the piano, but this year, we’re stepping it up.”

For tickets, call the box office at 308-635-6193 or online at theatrewestnebraska.com or get your ticket at the door. All tickets are $10 and cash and credit cards are accepted.

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Lauren Brant is a reporter with the Star-Herald and the Gering Courier. Contact her at 308-632-9043 or by email at lauren.brant@starherald.com.

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