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Arnaldo! Cabaret sets stage for romantic Valentine's evening
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Arnaldo! Cabaret sets stage for romantic Valentine's evening

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

MY ROMANCE &
A Valentine's Cabaret
February 14
Century Ballroom
West Hall


As Seattle's premier cabaret performer, Arnaldo! Drag Chanteuse is no stranger to the occasional holiday show. In fact, the entertainer has built a loyal following based on festive occasions, which is why it should come as no surprise that Arnaldo! played to a sold-out crowd inside the Century Ballroom's West Hall on Valentine's Day. MY ROMANCE & A Valentine's Cabaret was a wonderful event that featured great entertainment and fine food in an elegant and intimate space.

Arnaldo! performs each song in a New York cabaret style. For MY ROMANCE, Arnaldo performed classics like Cole Porter's "Let's Do It," "The Nearness of You" by Hoagey Carmichael, and one of my personal favorites, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart's "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered."

Arnaldo!, joined by singer and pianist Victor Janusz and Troy Kendrick on bass, work well together. The genuine friendship between Arnaldo! and Janusz shined through when the two crooned a duet of Rodgers and Hart's "My Romance."

The old-world Seattle elegance of the Century Ballroom's West Hall provided the perfect setting for the show. The elegant café seating arrangement and sumptuous menu by Tin Table's chef Bo Maisano should set the standard for intimate dining. Romantic, personal, and softly lit, Century Ballroom owner Hallie Kuperman made sure that each and every detail was in place to create the perfect Valentine's dinner cabaret.

MY ROMANCE was a first for Arnaldo! and Kuperman. The two had yet to work with each other and Sunday's show was Kuperman's first attempt at showcasing a live vocal show inside the newly renovated West Hall. Arnaldo! and Janusz decided to go with West Hall after they met with Kuperman and realized West Hall provided the perfect ambiance and setting for a Valentine's dinner show.

"West Hall was a perfect cabaret setting," Arnaldo! told SGN. "The sound system was great, the stage provided me space to play, and the most wonderful thing about the venue? There is no ambient noise."

Arnaldo! said "it makes my singing a more enjoyable experience" when he doesn't have to compete with kitchen or bar noise. "Kuperman's theater background really helped a lot," said Arnaldo! "I would encourage anyone to work with her, she has total respect and support for the performer."

Though romance was the main theme, the evening's program was varied and diverse. Some notable performances included Arnaldo!'s rendition of Patsy Cline's country classic "She's Got You (I've Got Your Picture)," and a very fun audience sing-along to a Carpenters medley of "Sing," "We've Only Just Begun," and "Top of the World."

A consummate professional, Arnaldo! knows showmanship. Throughout the evening, the drag chanteuse changed into three different gowns, each more beautiful than the last. The wonderful thing about Arnaldo! is the illusion; from the voice to the gowns to the playful giggle, Arnaldo! is a beautiful drag artist whose voice never falters or wanes. I've watched a number of Arnaldo! cabaret shows, and whether the illusion is of Eartha Kitt or Judy Garland, the voice, look, and stage presence is always there.

Between costume changes, Janusz and Kendrick stayed on. Janusz entertained the audience with his versions of "Send One Your Love" by Stevie Wonder, Lorenz Hart's "My Funny Valentine," Chaka Kahn's "Through The Fire," and Consuelo Velasquez's "Besame Mucho."

Overall, MY ROMANCE was the perfect Valentine's evening. The 19-song set contained music to sing along with, music that made you fall in love all over again, and just felt good.

For an encore, Arnaldo! performed a beautiful marriage of words and music with a medley of "If You Believe," and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

"I was really thankful for such an amazing audience," Arnaldo! told SGN. "I am an independent artist with no publicist, no agent, and no manager. I do all the legwork, write my own script, talk to venue owners, mail my own postcards, decide on the line-up, and work on the musical arrangements to make it my own. So really - what you see is what you get."

"I feel very proud and gratified when the show is sold out," she said. "Receiving a standing ovation at the end of MY ROMANCE made all the hard work so worth it. My music is honest and I literally put my heart into each note I sing."

Arnaldo! told SGN that because he feels so connected with the audience and the community, "I know that my success is their success, as well."

For more information about Arnaldo! Drag Chanteuse, including booking information and upcoming shows, visit him online at www.dragchanteuse.com. For more information about Century Ballroom and West Hall, visit the venue's website at www.centuryballroom.com.

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