The Cabaret is easily one of Indy’s best-kept secrets. Labeled “Indy’s posh landing pad for Broadway stars” by Indy Star, the venue holds true to the cabaret artform by keeping the energy high and the audience small; this intimate setting allows audiences to enjoy up-close and personal performances by some of the most highly acclaimed Broadway stars, jazz musicians, and European chanteuses. Now, The Cabaret is expanding their artistic programming by opening a new space right outside of their building that, according to Indy Star, “is poised to become one of the city’s coolest new downtown stages.” It’s called The Alley at Library Square, and it’s about to be THE place to be this summer.
The Alley, presented in partnership with the Arts Council of Indianapolis and Buckingham Companies and funded by Lilly Endowment Inc., was created to be a collaborative outdoor gathering space where guests can experience local art and live music – which will be part of The Cabaret’s newest performance series, The Alley Sessions. Guests can also enjoy cocktails and light bites throughout the evening, as The Jazz Kitchen be on-site at each show. Oh, also: all performances are free to attend.
If you’ve not been to The Cabaret, picture a retro roller rink-turned-theater adorned with old Hollywood glamour, art deco, and industrial-chic décor. The atmosphere is swanky, sophisticated, and a little bit sultry – but with a quirky, irreverent edge that keeps it from feeling unapproachable. The Cabaret transports you to another place and time – think Europe in the 1920s. The Alley, on the other hand, will take you to an entirely different but equally engaging place and time: Chicago in the 1970s. The vibe is cool, casual, and inviting. An artistic palisade (designed and installed by acclaimed Indy artists Quincy Owens and Luke Crawley) interspersed with greenery lines the space, and soon local artists will add murals into the mix. You can sit at a table, bring a lawn chair, or wander the space as you mingle.
TLDR: If The Cabaret were a Gatsby party, The Alley would be a killer block party.
Making use of the empty alley next to the theater has been a long-time dream for The Cabaret. This dream was able to finally come to fruition thanks to a 2019 Lilly Endowment Inc. “Strengthening Indianapolis through Arts & Cultural Innovation” grant, the central goal of which was to transform the alley into an outdoor art and performance space for the community.
The addition of The Alley allows The Cabaret to share a different but equally meaningful musical experience with the community. The Alley Sessions will feature a diverse array of programming, including spoken word, jazz, storytelling, incubator cabarets, and more.
This summer’s inaugural season has been curated in partnership with the Arts Council of Indianapolis. There will be six shows, many of which spotlight “Art & Soul” featured artists, and every single one of these performers are absolutely stellar.
Here’s the schedule:
- Friday, July 9: Christopher Pitts Trio
- Friday, July 16: Okara Imani
- Friday, July 23: Allison Victoria
- Friday, July 30: Yadin Kol
- Friday, August 6: Lasana D. Kazembe
- Friday, September 3: PsyWrn Simone
Doors open at 5 PM and shows will begin at 6 PM. Reservations are suggested, due to limited space, but not required. You can learn more about each artist, view videos of their performances, and make your reservations at THECABARET.ORG/SHOWS. (And while you’re on the site, you can also check out the killer lineup for The Cabaret’s 2021 Season.)
Summer 2021 is going to be a memorable one – so let’s celebrate together in The Alley.
ABOUT THE CABARET
The Cabaret is a nonprofit organization dedicated to elevating and promoting the cabaret art form by entertaining, educating, and engaging audiences and artists through world-class performance.
Britnee King (she/her/hers) serves as the Communications & Marketing Manager at The Cabaret. Born and raised in Indy, she’s worked exclusively in the nonprofit sector since graduating from IU in 2014. In addition to working at Indy’s coolest performance venue, she’s also a freelance graphic designer, photographer, conservation nerd, and Scotch enthusiast. Follow her on Instagram.