Amidst the swirl of revivals and new plays presented each summer at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts, one of the most popular side shows of the Tony-winning venue is a late-night cabaret series, which features performers from the Festival’s current shows, as well as members from its apprentice company. Eclectic, vibrant and spontaneous, these variety shows are a major draw with the tourists and locals who cram into the 150-seat cabaret room—a converted church at the historic Goodrich Hall—to watch the stars of Broadway and the stars of tomorrow shine. Indeed, while doing summer-stock duties in Williamstown’s high profile revival of Kurt Weill’s The Threepenny Opera in June, Melissa Errico, Jesse L. Martin and Karen Ziemba all gave the cabaret series a whirl.
“It’s all about the spirit,” says Christopher Fitzgerald, who will act as Master of Ceremonies for the final cabaret show of the Williamstown season on Aug. 16. “It’s not really a formal event,” says the young actor who was Drama Desk-nominated for his work in Michel Legrand’s Broadway musical Amour. “It’s more relaxed, and, actually, the more relaxed it is, the more fun people seem to have.” From this casual atmosphere, Fitzgerald recalls “coaxing Elaine Stritch to get up and sing a few songs. And James Naughton. Oh, and Blythe Danner!”
As for Fitzgerald—who began as a teenage apprentice at Williamstown in 1993—the opportunity to try something new is what this particular cabaret room is all about. This year, in fact, Fitzgerald will be trying something a bit more serious and a lot more adventurous on the cabaret stage of Williamstown—getting married. On Aug. 23, Fitzgerald will reclaim the cabaret room’s origins as a church and say “I do” to his fiance, actress Jessica Stone, whom he met in 1999 during the run of the City Center Encores! production of Babes in Arms. “We both wanted a place that was meaningful,” he says. “So when [Williamstown producer] Michael Ritchie said, ‘Why don’t you get married up here?’” the couple, who had co-starred together at Williamstown in last summer’s revival of Where’s Charley? thought, “Great!”
Fitzgerald, it was recently announced, will return to Broadway this fall in the new Stephen Schwartz musical Wicked. Fitzgerald will star as Boq, the Munchkin who falls in love with Glinda, played by Kristin Chenoweth.
—Actor/writer David Drake writes a monthly column for the subscription issue of Playbill.