Now there’s never gonna be an intermission
But there’ll always be a closing night [. . .]
First impressions are cheap auditions
Situations are long goodbyes [. . .]
“Intermission (We Were Born To Die)” by Scissor Sisters

Felicia Kalani Anderton & Rudy Caporaso in A GRAVEYARD CABARET. Photo by J.R. Blackwell.

Felicia Kalani Anderton & Rudy Caporaso in A GRAVEYARD CABARET. Photo by J.R. Blackwell.

Although I don’t believe in the supernatural, cemeteries fascinate me. Maybe it’s the connection with those who came before us and the gnawing awareness that one day everyone I know will die—myself included. It’s against this background that I saw the much talked about annual Fringe event, A GRAVEYARD CABARET, at Laurel Hill Cemetery. I walked into the night, following the little solar lights, passing hundreds of beautiful old gravestones commemorating important Philadelphians.

Suddenly, we hear strange noises and see figures moving around in the dark. Three ghosts, dressed in flamboyant outfits of mourning come into focus. Denise Shubin looks like Miss Havisham, the wealthy spinster who occupies her ruined mansion—”the witch of the place,” as Charles Dickens described her—wearing an elaborate wedding dress. Her adopted daughter, Estella (played beautifully by the Felicia Kalani Anderton, switches from the innocent voice of a little girl to a murderous seductress) entices the audience into her realm, while scaring them away at the same time. Rudy Caporaso conceived, created, choreographed, and costumed the show and stars as Mr. Jaggers, Miss Havisham’s ambiguous lawyer. Dressed like Count Dracula in drag, he jumps up on a mausoleum and whips us into a frenzy with an amazing graveyard voice. Rob Borchert musically directed THEY ONLY COME OUT AT NIGHT with songs as old as gruesome Victorian ballads and as contemporary as “I can’t decide” by the Scissor Sisters.

I stumbled out of the cemetery and the dark, and got into my car, still shocked and whistling the haunting songs of the GRAVEYARD CABARET. [Laurel Hill Cemetery, 3822 Ridge Avenue] September 11-19, 2015;

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About the author

Henrik Eger

HENRIK EGER, editor of Drama Around the Globe. Bilingual playwright, author of Metronome Ticking. Born and raised in Germany. Ph.D. in English, University of Illinois, Chicago. German translator of Martin Luther King, Jr’s Nobel Peace Prize mail. Producer-director: Multilingual Shakespeare, London. Retired professor of English and Communication who taught in six countries on three continents, including four universities and one college in the U.S. Author of four college text books. Longtime Philadelphia theatre correspondent for AAJT, the world’s largest Jewish theatre website. Articles published in Classical Voice, Los Angeles; Kayhan International, Tehran, Iran; Indian Express, Mumbai, India; The Jewish Forward, New York; Philadelphia Jewish Voice, Phindie, and Broad Street Review, Philadelphia; The Mennonite, Tucson; and New Jersey Stage. Contact: