The Woodstock Comedy Festival will introduce cabaret into its repertoire in a fundraising event preceding the fifth annual festival. Cabaret…Classics…Comedy! will take place at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 29 at the Kleinert/James Center for the Arts, and will star composer and comic Jimmy Roberts, accompanied by “King Clarinet” Felix Peikli. The event will be emceed by Woodstock’s Mikhail Horowitz.
Sheila Isenberg, Director of Media Relations at the Woodstock Comedy Festival, first saw Jimmy Roberts perform at a cousin’s party. “Jimmy sits down at the piano and entertains people for hours. He’s just fabulous. He plays Broadway show music, he plays his own compositions, he plays funny songs, and it’s like the piano is an extension of his fingers. He just goes and goes without a break,” said Isenberg.
Roberts is best known for composing the score for I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, the second-longest running off-Broadway musical in New York, as well as The Thing About Men and The Velveteen Rabbit. Felix Peikli, who will accompany Roberts, is a Norwegian jazz clarinetist who has played with Wayne Shorter, Joe Lovano, and Marcus Miller.
This event will be the debut of cabaret at the Woodstock Comedy Festival, which hosts a variety of comedic events ranging from stand-up to improv to sketch. “I think the cabaret is going to add a great dimension to the Comedy Festival. I’m glad we can bring this kind of entertainment to the town,” said Isenberg.
The Woodstock Comedy Festival, founded in 2013 by executive director Chris Collins, is a nonprofit organization committed to donating its net profits to the Family of Woodstock’s Domestic Violence program and Polaris, an organization that combats human trafficking. “When Chris came up with the idea about seven years ago, he thought that Woodstock had everything but a Comedy Festival, so that was the idea — to bring laughter to the town,” said Isenberg. “He has a lot of empathy for women’s issues, so he wanted to create an organization that would be charitable and that would actually donate net profits at the end of the festival to charities that benefit women.”
The Cabaret…Classics…Comedy! event will raise money for the Comedy Festival. “Without the fundraising, we could not put the festival on,” said Isenberg. “The more money we can take in, in fundraisers, donations, and ticket sales, the more we have to give in our profits to charity.”
Tickets for the fundraiser Cabaret…Classics…Comedy! can be purchased at the door only for $25. Doors will open at 6 p.m. Wine will be offered for a charitable donation of $5. The fifth annual Woodstock Comedy Festival will take place this upcoming September 15-17. For more information, visit www.woodstockcomedyfestival.org.