Salissa Thole sings a pop song while a couple dances in the background during a “Neighborhood Cabaret” show at the Glory Hall on Thursday evening. The shows being performed at various location in Juneau are the first of three productions during this year’s Alaska Theater Festival. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Salissa Thole sings a pop song while a couple dances in the background during a “Neighborhood Cabaret” show at the Glory Hall on Thursday evening. The shows being performed at various location in Juneau are the first of three productions during this year’s Alaska Theater Festival. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Sound shelter from the storm

Cabaret show at the Glory Hall an appreciative exchange between musicians, staff and audience.

Rob Cohen during his decades as one of Juneau’s most prolific performing musicians has never played a show at the shelter now known as the Glory Hall, until joining a half dozen other musicians there for a cabaret Thursday night.

All in all, he said it’s a good place for a gig.

“It’s got a reasonably high ceiling, it’s got power outlets in the right places, the acoustics are sound in a reasonable way for the space, and the crowd is friendly and appreciative,” Cohen said.

About 30 people — some temporary residents at the shelter, others just dropping in for the occasion — watched Cohen play keyboard as a rotating procession of singers performed songs ranging from jazz standards to a Britney Spears hit to hip-hop during the “Neighborhood Cabaret” that is part of this summer’s annual Alaska Theater Festival. Some in the audience also swayed, danced and offered “lighter-less” raised hand tributes to the musicians.

Joseph Johnson listens to a performance of the song “Halo” as another audience member gestures in appreciation during a “Neighborhood Cabaret” show at the Glory Hall on Thursday evening. About 30 people were in the audience during the show.

Joseph Johnson listens to a performance of the song “Halo” as another audience member gestures in appreciation during a “Neighborhood Cabaret” show at the Glory Hall on Thursday evening. About 30 people were in the audience during the show.

“This is the best one so far,” he said.

There have been four or five live shows at the Glory Hall during the past year, according to employees. While the musicians appearing at Thursday’s concert were performing for free — as is the case for all of the theater festival’s shows — they did get rewarded with a collection of ceramic and wooden bowls made by participants in the shelter’s Empty Bowls fundraising program.

“Please keep coming back whenever you feel like you need the practice,” Blakely Weatherly, an employee, told the musicians in the makeshift “green room” after the concert in the adjacent main community room as she showed them the bowls.

Erika Lee leads other singers in a version of “Redneck Woman” with adapted local lyrics during the closing song of a “Neighborhood Cabaret” show at the Glory Hall on Thursday evening.

Erika Lee leads other singers in a version of “Redneck Woman” with adapted local lyrics during the closing song of a “Neighborhood Cabaret” show at the Glory Hall on Thursday evening.

The musicians, in turn, said they were grateful for both the bowls and — along with others inside the shelter — an evening safe from the intermittently heavy rain outside.

“This is the best night (of the cabaret shows) because we get to be inside,” Erika Lee said to her peers after they performed the final song together. While the other shows — and most of the theater festival — are at outdoor venues, large tents to provide shelter will be available during poor weather.

While the song introductions, call-and-response sing-a-longs, and other interactions between performers and audience were much the same as any small venue concert, some of the words and songs appeared to have extra meaning for those in the crowd.

Chris Talley performs a hip-hop song during a “Neighborhood Cabaret” show at the Glory Hall on Thursday evening. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Chris Talley performs a hip-hop song during a “Neighborhood Cabaret” show at the Glory Hall on Thursday evening. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

“Maybe you don’t have somebody right now, but you should look back to that time when you did and you could really appreciate it,” said Chris Talley, a performer, as he introduced a hip-hop ballad, getting a few closed eyes and nods from listeners in response.

Additional shows are planned at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Riverside Rotary Park Shelter, 3300 Riverside Drive; 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Marine Park Pavilion; and 3 p.m. Sunday at Savikko Shelter #1, 101 Savikko Road.

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306.

Jocelyn Miles sings a jazz standard during a “Neighborhood Cabaret” show at the Glory Hall on Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Jocelyn Miles sings a jazz standard during a “Neighborhood Cabaret” show at the Glory Hall on Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

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