Cabaret opens Thursday with Steamboat-inspired sketch comedy |

Cabaret opens Thursday with Steamboat-inspired sketch comedy

Nicole Inglis

Katelyn Stokes raises her arms alongside Holly Wilde during a rehearsal Saturday for Cabaret 2011, “Short and Sweet.” Cabaret performances are Thursday through Saturday at Strings Music Pavilion.

Katelyn Stokes raises her arms alongside Holly Wilde during a rehearsal Saturday for Cabaret 2011, "Short and Sweet." Cabaret performances are Thursday through Saturday at Strings Music Pavilion.
Matt Stensland

— It was organized chaos at the Depot Art Center on Saturday afternoon.

But it was organized chaos that will, at the promise of Cabaret director and co-emcee Michael David Bauk, become a polished and cohesive — if a little off-color and moderately offensive — performance, in just a few short days.

Cabaret 2011, the annual Steamboat Springs Arts Council fundraiser, opens Thursday night with the sketchy sketch comedy show that's by, for and about locals.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Strings Music Pavilion. Bauk is positive the motley crew of about 35 local comedians will be ready to bring audiences to tearful laughter.

"We're planning months in advance, writing weeks in advance and rehearsing hours in advance," Bauk said. "We've raised the bar on comedy in this town to what we would consider our own little Saturday Night Live version. It's tough to match that every year, but strangely enough, somehow, we do."

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Tickets cost $30 and are available at the Depot Art Center and All That Jazz.

Proceeds benefit the Arts Council, which promotes the cultivation of the performing and fine arts culture in Steamboat Springs through children's arts programs and productions.

Arts Council President Clark Davidson was on hand at rehearsal Saturday, as the cast and crew worked out the kinks for the 30th annual performance.

"The Arts Council is blessed for this support from the local performing artists who annually entertain us all," Davidson said. "And, if you don't think it's entertaining, you can still feel good about your tax deductible donation to the Arts Council."

Cabaret historians might note that last year's event was billed as the 27th annual, indicating this year's rendition should be the 28th. But the two-year leap is not a comedic line — Bauk said Cabaret organizers just found out that the event, which began as a talent show, originated two years earlier than has long been thought.

The name of this year's show, no matter its age, is "Short and Sweet." The title is meant to work as a guideline to keep the show, preferably, under 2 1/2 hours.

But it's hard to resist adding skit after skit with such tempting subject matter as Osama bin Laden, sexually transmitted diseases, local celebrities — cameos included — and Steamboat gossip.

Still, some of the biggest laughs at rehearsal came at jokes that weren't even in the script, as if any more proof were needed that the humor of the show stems from the innate humor of the cast members.

Eileen Jones, a vibrant local woman with equally vibrant red hair, has been performing in Cabaret for about 10 years. She affirmed that it's the cast that makes the show so entertaining.

"You're just out there for a week with the most fun people in town," Jones said. "It's so high energy, and a little scary."

She said making fun of everything Steamboat stems from a deep adoration of the town itself.

"It's out of love we make fun of Steamboat," she said. "No matter what, we wouldn't want to live anywhere else. No one else would have us."

Local resident Randy Salky is participating in his first Cabaret this year, after years of watching his wife, Paula, perform and write.

He wrote a skit this year that involves Christo, the famous installation artist, coming to Steamboat to place works around town.

Salky wouldn't explain any further — some elements of his skit remain under review for content.

"It's a little risqué," he said. "I think I'm up against that line."

And where, exactly, is Cabaret's line for inappropriateness?

"Full nudity, and anything that would get us sued," Bauk said.

Not much is off limits for "Short and Sweet." Bauk said anyone who has read the Steamboat Pilot & Today in the past year will be able to laugh at more than 60 percent of the show.

And for Salky, that means a whole year's worth of material to use when poking fun at everything he possibly can.

"We can offend some of the people some of the time, but we want to offend all the people all the time," he said.

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email

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