Life is a Cabaret at Noce

Noce KaraokeOne part of the New York Theatre scene had never really been transferred to Des Moines... until this year.  While New York has wonderful small nightclubs like 54 Below, Des Moines now has Noce Jazz Cabaret - which features a new way to experience your local theatre favorites, and even become part of the show yourself!

The explosion of theatre in Des Moines has meant many new opportunities for performers, productions, and patrons.  But one of the most exciting has been the emergence of Noce Jazz Cabaret.  Located on the western end of downtown Des Moines, this performance space typically features some of the best Jazz music in town.  But they've also made certain that there's quite a variety of styles and influences, from Big Band and Swing music to stellar vocalists with both local and national notice.  They even host Salsa and Ballroom Dance nights.  But best of all for followers of local theatre, they've made a point of making sure there's a regular menu of Broadway on the bill.

Beginning in September, Noce started a Musical Theatre Karaoke Night.  Once each month (on the first Thursday evening), they provide a microphone, a piano player, a few songbooks, and the opportunity to be a star.  Hosted by various local theatre performers, these nights featured both frequent local talents and relative newcomers.  Some people brought their own music, others found pieces in the songbooks provided.  But everyone found a wonderful time singing and enjoying, drinking and laughing, and sharing the joy of musical theatre.

For a more specific Cabaret-style show with a theatre flair, Noce has also started having a late-night cabaret featuring a local theatre talent in a full hour-and-a-half show.  One Saturday night a month, for the incredible price of FREE, you get to be entertained by some of the best and brightest Des Moines has to offer.  The debut night featured Charlie Reese, fresh off a performance of Hand of God for StageWest.  Future performers already scheduled for the next couple of months include Karla Kash (head of the Drake University B.F.A Musical Theatre Program) and Dani Boal (who recently won a Cloris Award for her wonderful performance as Belle in Urbandale's production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast).  Showtimes, a few standards, and who knows what music could show up for these evenings, but it's all quality, all fun, and definitely worth the trip to Noce.

There's also more regular Musical Theatre at Noce, as owners Bob and Maria Filippone are no strangers to the Des Moines theatre community.  They founded Des Moines Onstage, which is headquarters to both the Des Moines Young Artists' Theatre and Adolescent Anarchy theatre companies, as well as providing rehearsal space to various groups in the area. Noce, as their newest venture, features both the cabaret and bar area, but also a performance space/banquet hall area for rental in the back half of the building.  

Back in February of this year, they featured the musical Murder Ballad in the cabaret space.  Utilizing the entire area and performing amongst and around the audience, this show was a superb use of more than just the traditional "stage" space (and is also one of the reasons this site exists, see Why We're Here!).  A few months later, a production of Bare used the back half of the building for their energetic presentation of a Catholic school student body on the verge of growing into adulthood.  

Most recently (and with one more performance yet to go, this coming Sunday night) is Songs for a New World.  Presented as a fundraiser for Des Moines Young Artists' Theatre, it features 10 fantastic singers and a three-piece backup band, singing songs about moments in people's lives when choices have to be made, and paths have to be taken.  Featuring the aforementioned Charlie Reese, amazing jazz vocalist Tina Haase Findlay, and local media and theatre personalities Maxwell Schaeffer and Jackie Schmillen, plus many others of note from the area, you can't go wrong if you decide to see this one.  

Noce plans more theatrical shows to be announced in the near future, and plans continue for the regular Karaoke and Late-Night Cabaret shows.  The Karaoke will take place on the first Thursday of every month running from 7 to 10 pm, while the Late-Night Cabaret will be regularly scheduled (starting in November) on the second Saturday night of each month at 10:30 to midnight following their regularly scheduled jazz event earlier in the evening.  

If you feel like some musical theatre, in an environment with a little class and style and a whole lot of fun, check out Noce and their theatre-related offerings. Or even work up a number yourself and take the stage at one of the Karaoke nights.  As I said in the title of this piece, Life is a Cabaret, after all....

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Charlie Reese Noce Karla Kash Dani Boal Songs for a New World Bare Murder Ballad Bob Filippone Maria Filippone