Interact opens 'Madame Josette's Naughty & Nice Cabaret' this weekend

Interact opens 'Madame Josette's Naughty & Nice Cabaret' this weekend
James Barton

For this year's holiday show Interact Theater, which creates productions with an ensemble of artists with and without disabilities, is bringing back Madame Josette's Naughty & Nice Cabaret.

At the center of the story is Madame Josette (Josette Antomarchi), and her soulmate, Toulouse Lautrec (Billy "T" Tomeszewski, an Interact veteran). Madame Josette faces losing her business amidst a rivalry with another troupe, and must find a way to keep the cabaret alive. They are joined by the Lumière brothers (Mohamed Yabdri and Michael Paul), who along with Thomas Edison were two of the earliest silent filmmakers. There is also a cast of fun characters who populate the cabaret with various vaudeville-type acts, songs, and clown bits.

Interact opens 'Madame Josette's Naughty & Nice Cabaret' this weekend

This is Taos Khazem's directorial debut with the theater. She says the process has been completely collaborative. "We've had a long time to workshop and develop the material," Khazem says, adding that the actors have come up with their own lines. 

Since June, they've been researching the Belle Époque time period. "It's classy, but also very dark," she says. "There's lots of big hats and feathers, and lots of songs. It's lively and flashy and funny and clowny." The colorful costumes are designed by Sonya Berlovitz. 

The message, Khazem says, is that we all have a light inside ourselves, and when we come together, we can make the things we dream about happen. 

Khazem's husband, Mohamed Yabdri, from Algeria, plays one of the Lumière brothers. Another guest is frequent Interact collaborator Aaron Gabriel, who has composed music inspired by French chansons, from Edif Piaf to Charles Trenet.

Along with the opening of Madame Josette's Naughty and Nice Cabaret, there will also be a "Great Big Holiday Art Sale" in the gallery before and after each performance.


Madame Josette's Naughty and Nice Cabaret

7 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; also 3 p.m. Saturdays
Through December 22
Interact Center
212 Third Ave. N., Minneapolis
(Shows have previously been at the Lab)
Ordering tickets in advance
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Interact Center

212 3rd Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55401


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