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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018 10 months ago

Dragonfly Studio 129 in Ocoee to host monthly cabaret series

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Dragonfly Studio 129 offers a space for budding theater artists to hone their craft. The Ocoee studio kicks off its cabaret series Friday.
by: Gabby Baquero News Editor

Starting Friday, Nov. 16, Dragonfly Studio 129 will kick off a series of monthly cabaret shows in its downtown Ocoee location.

Dragonfly Studio & Productions, which opened in March, doubles as a private music teaching studio and performance venue/rehearsal space for aspiring thespians and musicians to hone their talents.

The studio is both owned and operated by award-winning composer Elaine Pechacek, a Winter Garden resident from New York who gave music and voice lessons out of her own home for 17 years before moving into a commercial space.

“There’s such a need for a little creative venue like this that doesn’t cost a fortune,” Pechacek said. “So it just made sense for me to say, ‘OK, yes, I’m making a teaching space, but let me also make it a performance space, because then I can rent it out to people who are trying to start new projects or trying to start their own new shows but can’t afford a huge 100-seat venue.’ Because, frankly, they’re likely not going to make the money back. 

“So sometimes, they just don’t do it at all,” she said. “So my heart’s aim is really about supporting the arts community and giving them a place to start. That’s what I always tell people: This is your place to fail and then try again.”

The desire to have a place that serves as an incubator for creativity and training ground for young performers is why Pechacek decided to launch the upcoming cabaret series, all of which will be cast via open auditions, she said.

The title of the 2019 monthly cabaret series, produced by Ashley Van Kirk and Lily E. Garnett, is “Celebrate? Don’t Mind If I Do!” 

The cabarets, which will have a modern twist with a light-hearted tone, will be based on different national days and obscure holidays that many don’t often celebrate or pay attention to, Pechacek said.

“It’s going to be a very fresh take on what a cabaret is,” she said. “There’s this fresh, new idea of a cabaret that’s not so much about one individual, but about six or more performers singing about contemporary subjects more relevant to today’s society,” Pechacek said.

Fourteen performers will grace the stage this Friday for the first of the performances, titled “Life. A Cabaret!” One of those performers is Windermere resident Maddie Lane, 23, who will be singing “On My Own” from the Broadway musical “Les Misérables.”

“Elaine is amazing, because when I started singing with Elaine, she started teaching me about all the different parts of the voice, and other teachers I’ve had would just give me a song and tell me to sing,” Lane said. “But the voice is such an intricate instrument, and you have to really understand it to sing correctly.”

Pechacek said she is excited Dragonfly Studio is hosting this new cabaret series and believes it will help financially support the city of Ocoee’s vision to create a thriving downtown.

“I think the studio is helping to financially support this downtown area too,” she said. “I’m bringing Ocoee to other people, in a sense, and they're going, ‘Oh, this is really cool down here.’ And I know Ocoee's trying to make this downtown area similar to downtown Winter Garden, so I'm also trying to get my foot in the door to say, ‘Hey, entertainment is a viable thing down here.’”

Tickets for Friday’s cabaret are $8 if purchased online at Bit.ly/2Fi8tfL or $12 at the door. Doors open at 7:35 p.m. and beer, wine, and other refreshments will be available for purchase.

Gabby is the news editor for the West Orange Times and Windermere Observer newspapers. Have a story tip? Contact her at (352) 448-5856 or at [email protected]....

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