SALEM, NY — DC-based actress Shanara Gabrielle travels north for a spring weekend to perform her cabaret act, Tilting at Windmills, at Fort Salem Theater, Sunday afternoon, April 30, at 2 PM. Gabrielle’s show kicks off a Sunday afternoon cabaret series at the Washington County venue, which will subsequently include TV anchor Benita Zahn, humorist Byron Nilsson, and piano virtuoso Deborah Young-Weiler.
“The last time I saw Shanara, she was giving birth to a baby on a tenement stairway on Chicago Fire,” says Fort Salem’s artistic director, Jay Kerr. “Before that it was off-Broadway, starring in The Wild Party. And before that, starring as Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls at Northern Stages in White River Junction, Vermont.”
Kerr has known Shanara Gabrielle since 2002, when she was a young actress in New York City and starred in his musical, War Bonds, at the Theater for the New City. Playing a canteen singer in World War II, Shanara sang solo the entire ten-song score of the play, captured on CD by Original Cast Records.
Her regional credits include leads in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Twelfth Night, Othello, and Love’s Labour’s Lost, comedies such as Lend Me a Tenor, Amadeus, and The Spitfire Grill, and musicals including They’re Playing Our Song, Camelot, and Chicago. She was in the original cast of the first American Girl Revue performed in the theater located in the doll franchise’s flagship store in Manhattan. In addition to her Chicago Fire television credit, she has also appeared on Conviction and The Guiding Light.
As a director, educator, actor, musician, aerialist, and performer, Ms. Gabrielle seeks to find where these skills intersect as she explores new ways to shape the future of the American theatre. She has worked closely with playwrights, directors, actors, and musicians on new plays and has had equal pleasure of exploring new approaches to the great classics, from Dickens to Coleridge to Shakespeare. She contributed material and consulted on Songs of War and Peace in the first season of the Fort’s cabaret in 2007.
Her cabaret, Tilting at Windmills, reflects in song her frustrations and triumphs as a performer, a partner, and a parent. Using material largely from musical theater, including pieces by Stephens Sondheim and Schwartz, Leonard Bernstein, Kander and Ebb, and Harnick and Bock, she leads us through the labyrinth of her life with humor and an undercurrent of pathos. “There’s a reason she’s always played the leads in musicals,” says her friend, Kerr. “Her sound is pure, clean, and emotional. This is a show you’ll never forget!”
Shanara Gabrielle: Tilting at Windmills plays one day only, Sunday afternoon, April 30, in the Cabaret at Fort Salem Theater. Special $20 pricing includes the show and complimentary coffee. More information is available on the theater’s website (fortsalemtheater.com) or by calling the box office at (518) 854-9200.