Pony up your posse as we take you to the Wild Wild West! High Society Cabaret dares to venture to the southwestern United States during the gold rush of the mid 1800s. Meet the characters who frequent a local saloon on any given night; from the dancing girls to the cattle ropers, and even an escaped convict! So climb off your horses, take off your guns, and we'll show you How The West Was Swung!
Group Choreographer: Knox Harter, Anna Jaeger
Producer: Knox Harter, Anna Jaeger
Costumes and Styling: Knox Harter, Brook Alviano
Media and Marketing: Knox Harter
Friday November 20th, 2015; 9pm
Saturday November 21st, 2015; 9pm
Location: Parlour 270, 270 Adelaide St. W, Toronto
Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door,
Group of 4 tickets $60
How the West Was Swung was High Society Cabaret’s first independent show, having recently severed ties with DivaGirl Entertainment. For Knox, it was an opportunity to establish autonomy, transparency and control over the operations of the company. To her surprise, Knox began to realize how much work she was already doing to make the company run, and adjustment administratively felt minor. The only new task was the management of the budget through ticket sales and navigating selling platforms.
Rehearsals are held in the studio at Fly Condos at Spadina and Front Streets. The show was inspired by Knox’s father, who through his early life worked on ranches and toured the rodeo circuit with his first wife. Knox grew up on his stories and “cowboyography” as a child. Knox wanted to use this show to experiment with ambience and a different mood and feeling than what was in any previous High Society Cabaret shows. While there were plenty of acts filled with humour and camp, Knox also created and encouraged more moody, darker, and more somber content. This departure from regular content and processes is met with resistance by the dancers in the cast. During one rehearsal in particular, communication between Knox and the dancers broke down, and the kitten for the show stepped in as a mouthpiece for Knox.
"By the time we started working on the choreography for the closing act 'Blue Shadows', I got the sense that my dancers hated this show, hated the choreography, and were just doing their best to just get through a project they may have felt they couldn’t back out of. I went into every rehearsal determined, but inside I was deeply hurt and heartbroken. This show was about my dad and his stories I grew up on, and feeling the dancers’ scorn and judgment (and from one dancer in particular) as I laid down this choreography was really difficult. It was the first time I put something so personal on stage with this company and I just felt rejected." - Knox Harter
Inevitably, elements of the show come together to create something visually intriguing. Anna and Knox even got the chance to perform together on stage, something that had not happened since before the shows were in Parlour.
“We have great chemistry on stage and her guidance in workshopping the act was so on point.” - Anna Jaeger
Issues with the venue began to arise as the cast would be regularly locked out of the venue in cold weather, and forced to wait thirty minutes to an hour after their agreed time to be let inside.
The show got mixed reviews with some loving the experimental content, and others finding it so slow and un-engaging.