On Stage

Sugar and Spice

A Valentine’s Cabaret

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

When actress, dancer and director Brie Turoff Mueller presented her first “Sugar” cabaret at the Underground Nightclub last October after a decade of performing similar shows in New York City, she wasn’t sure how local audiences would react.

“It’s really different,” Mueller says. “In New York, you perform in such small spaces that you usually just get to perform in front of your friends and colleagues, so the pressure feels a bit more intense. Here in Bellingham, it’s a whole new audience that doesn’t know me, so I feel I’m able to create a spectacular, and go above and beyond even my own expectations.”

Audiences will get a chance to see what wonders Mueller alludes to at “Sugar: A Valentine’s Cabaret” performances Feb. 13-16 at the Underground. Promising a mix of dance, singing, live music by the aptly named Sugar Band, and stories of both love and loss, the 21-and-over event is appropriate not just for those looking for a new spin on date night, but also singles, friends and anybody who enjoys being entertained by pros.

As a joint production of American Theater Northwest—a new regional theater company founded by Brie’s husband, Western Washington University professor Evan Mueller—and Sadi Girl Productions, the cabaret also boasts choreography by Tabetha Clark of ABC Dance and Bellingham Repertory, a stint as Master of Ceremonies by area actor and improviser Mario Orallo-Molinaro, and contributions by Jacki Campbell, Cassie Howlett, Akilah Williams, Missy Olson, Tatyana Stahler, and Karley Kearney.

Mueller says that in addition to providing quality entertainment, “Sugar: A Valentine’s Cabaret” is also designed to focus on loving not just other people, but also yourself.

“I think empowering anyone to love themselves is important,” Mueller says. “I have always believed that no matter what color, size or gender human being you are, you should always feel confident and sexy just being you, and I hope people leave my show feeling this way. ”

And, since the sassy 70-minute cabaret is geared toward adults and takes place in a nightclub, audiences can order cocktails and stick around afterward to mingle with the Sugar crew. It’s not a typical night at the theater, and in this case, that’s a good thing.

“I think people should spend Valentine’s Day with us,” Mueller says. “Who doesn’t want to be teased, taunted, danced on, or sang to on this very special day of love, lust or hate?”

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