Celebrate Broadway’s most famous love songs at OCTC performance

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Submitted / The cast of the Ocean City Theatre Company’s annual Valentine’s Day performance, “A Cabaret of Love Songs.” Submitted / The cast of the Ocean City Theatre Company’s annual Valentine’s Day performance, “A Cabaret of Love Songs.”

OCEAN CITY – Love is always in the air on Valentine’s Day, and this year it hangs on just a bit longer for the Ocean City Theatre Company’s annual A Cabaret of Love Songs and Dessert Reception 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16.

A cast of 40 from the Ocean City Theatre Company’s professional Broadway series will entertain inside Ocean City High School’s Hughes Performing Arts Center, Sixth and Atlantic, for one night only with what artistic director Michael Hartman says are, “some of the most enchanting, unforgettable and lovey-dovey songs to ever grace the stage.”

Love can be expressed in so many ways, but this theater company prefers song.

“We’re inviting everyone to come celebrate with us,” Hartman said.

The show, he said, provides a mid-winter break and an opportunity to let Broadway be your Valentine this year.

“The show is a perfect opportunity to enjoy live entertainment and dessert at a very affordable price,” Hartman said. “We have a lot of new performers, a lot of new talent. We also have a new set. We’re going to have a fountain, with a ‘central pub’ feel to it. It’s going to be very romantic.”

To fit the more subdued, romantic mood, the Ocean City Theatre Company sets the stage with a casual, entertaining and intimate cabaret of favorites from the Great White Way. Most performances are of the high energy, upbeat variety.

Pianist Andrew Hink, a musician born and raised in Ocean City, will tickle the ivories throughout.

“It’s going to be very intimate and casual,” Hartman said. “This has a much different feel and it really sets the mood. This show does not have all the razzmatazz that the typical OCTC production has; it’s what makes this so special.”

Entertainment will also include songs from new and classic musical theater productions. Ocean City Theatre Company’s junior company will make a guest appearance with an encore performance of “Don’t Walk Away” from their summer production “Xanadu.”

The evening of love songs begins with a pre-show dessert reception in the lobby of the Hughes Performing Arts Center featuring sweets from local eateries, two chocolate fondue fountains and hot beverages.

“This is always very special. Everyone enjoys the opportunity before the show to get together with friends and neighbors,” Hartman said. “It’s what helps to set this show apart from the others, makes it very special.”

The professional cast, Hartman said, donates their time and talent as a way to boost the theater company’s coffers in preparation for the upcoming summer season.

“It’s really nice, everyone performs for the love of Ocean City and the OCTC,” he said. “It’s strictly a good will gesture and it really shows how dedicated our performers are. It’s a high quality fundraiser for us and it sets the pace, allowing the OCTC to hit the ground running for the summer.

“I actually had so many people offer to do this that I had to turn people away,” he said. “People are always looking for ways to give.”

During the show, part of the upcoming summer season will be announced.

“This kicks off the summer season, it’s a chance to reflect on the past season and offer a little teaser for what we have coming up,” he said. “It gives us an opportunity to reminisce and look forward.”

The evening will also feature the official announcement of Ocean City Theatre Company’s 2013 season, sponsors of the year and winners of the “Mikey Awards.” Created to recognize outstanding performances in each season, the Mikey Awards are Ocean City’s version of the Tony Awards. Audiences voted for their favorite actor, actress and youth performers from the 2012 season.

“The Mikey Awards highlight the standout performances,” Hartman said. “We had 681 people vote in the awards and we very excited about announcing the winners.

“No one can know, the plaques are engraved, and I’m the only one who knows who won,” Hartman said, joking that he is “Price and Waterhouse,” the keeper of the secrets. 

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