Cocktail Hour: The Show

Sputnik from “Cocktail Hour: The Show”

The Doudna Fine Arts Center at Eastern Illinois University opens its 2019-20 season with “Cocktail Hour: The Show,” by New York City-based company Ballets with a Twist, on Sept. 19 and 20.

The engagement will feature two different program lineups drawing on an extensive repertory of theatrical dance cocktails. Throughout the evening, beer, wine and a special selection of cocktails and mocktails from the program will be available in the main Concourse.

Created by artistic director and choreographer Marilyn Klaus, “Cocktail Hour: The Show” reinvents the glamour and excitement of classic entertainment with an original mix of charismatic choreography, intoxicating music and exquisite costume design. This pop-infused performing arts experience combines the magnetism of Hollywood’s Golden Age with a sleek 21st century sensibility, capturing the timeless American spirit in a series of witty, sparkling vignettes. It’s high-style fun for all ages to enjoy.

Program highlights include

  • “Sputnik” — A hip rockabilly remix and a rebellious attitude fuel this spunky cosmic caper.
  • “Manhattan” — After a big-city evening, a socialite steps out with her dearest companion. As they stroll past each lamppost on Park Avenue, a jazz trumpet echoes the mood of the changing skyline.
  • “Cuba Libre” — Sparks fly on a hot Havana night when rum and cola collide

Klaus, whose choreography has been seen internationally, formed Ballets with a Twist in association with Grammy-nominated composer Stephen Gaboury and costume designer Catherine Zehr. Her company — lauded by The Huffington Post for “blasting the boundaries between high art and entertainment” — has appeared in a wide range of venues throughout the country, from Cleveland’s Playhouse Square and New York City’s Beacon Theatre to Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the Tribeca Film Festival.

Gaboury’s compositions have been performed by celebrated musicians nationwide. As a pianist, he has collaborated and toured the world with pop/rock icon Cyndi Lauper for more than a decade, most recently joining her alongside the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. He has also accompanied such artists as Patti Labelle, Norah Jones, and Sarah McLachlan, and has performed at internationally televised events such as the Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony and the New Year’s Eve Times Square Ball Drop. Gaboury’s music has been heard in concert, on television, and in films, including “Boyhood” and “American Beauty.”

Zehr is the artistic force behind the company’s costume design. Her creations evoke the origins and essence of each dance with dazzling colors and ornamentation. Zehr honed her skills while working at major American fashion houses, then by designing and manufacturing attire for her own label. She studied art and design at Washington University and New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology, where she and the company delivered the presentation “Designing Costumes for Ballets with a Twist” as part of The Museum at FIT’s Fashion Culture series.

Tickets are $25. To purchase tickets, go to, call 287-581-3110, or visit the box office at 1860 7th Street.

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