BY SHALEEN DESTEFANO
“This is a time of pulling back the curtain and removing the veneer from our lives. And as we tip-toe into the unknown this winter, we remain steadfast and optimistic in what we do and how we contribute to the artistic landscape of Denver.”
– Katina Frierson of Wonderbound
The creative team of Wonderbound has successfully shifted their artistic direction to bring us a new performance this winter season. We had the opportunity to talk to director and choreographer Garrett Ammon and his partner and co-choreographer Sarah Tallman to learn more about their upcoming show Winterland – A Discotheque Cabaret.
“We wanted to try something new and different so we decided to draw upon a cabaret or burlesque experience for our winter show. It’s definitely not burlesque but draws on those traditions. I think the interesting thing for us as we’ve continued to explore this show and figure out what it wants to be is that we were faced with the reality that we actively had to think about numbers and significantly reduce how many people can attend the shows. We had to put our collaboration with our musicians on hold. We started looking at music from the first half of the 20th century and ended up selecting pieces that come from the depression era. Which is fitting, especially when you start to listen to the lyrics. It has an upbeat feel in its musicality, but the songs are also commenting on the moment, so we found a lot of parallels. We carefully selected a soundtrack full of classics everyone loves like, Eartha Kitt — I Want to Be Evil, Muddy Waters — Cold Weather Blues, Bing Crosby & Rosemary Clooney — Ain’t We Got Fun, Dean Martin — A Marshmallow World and Peggy Lee — My Dear Acquaintance, just to name a few.
We are leaning into making something that is relevant to the moment but also allows people to escape for a little bit. The show is fun, quirky, sexy and flirtatious in nature, but has an underlying gravity and purpose behind it.
When it comes down to it we are performing artists. We need that live in-person sharing of art. So we’ve been trying to lean into that in a way that is meaningful as well as safe. Our audience is craving that live experience as well, so it is exciting to be able to provide this in some capacity.
It has been a pleasure to research these songs, as there is an upbeat quality with an element of irony, as they speak to what we’re going through right now. There is also a bit of nostalgia, and a lot of this music is between 2-3 minutes per song, so we are considering transitions and it causes us from an artistic point of view to think about things in a new way. Each song will present a vignette with a nod to winter time. Winterland is shiny and crisp and takes ideas from iconic Broadway shows like Cabaret or Chicago, but layered with a wintery aspect.”
Winter can be such a dark time, with shorter days, a chill in the air, and the holidays will certainly look different this year. With the giant void in the artistic performance industry, this show will be a bright light for everyone who has the opportunity to see it. People have strong connections to the carefully curated music and as we’ve all learned, clinging to any sort of nostalgia or familiarity right now is comforting.