Mrs. Smith (David Hanbury) is ready for action.
Photo by Dan Norman
Mrs. Smith is ready for another close up.
The singing sensation (in her own mind at least) has boned up on the musical-theater classics, rehearsed hard with her backing "Broadway Boys," and is ready for more than a month of performances of Mrs. Smith Live! at the Cabaret Theater at Camp Bar in St. Paul.
"In these trying, hectic, stressful, and difficult times what people need more than anything else is to laugh," says David Hanbury, Mrs. Smith's not-so-secret daytime identity. "A five-week run gives people more opportunities to see the show and be uplifted."
Hanbury's character has been the star of several previous iterations of the show, including runs at the Bryant-Lake Bowl. Mrs. Smith has proven to be popular, so a return seemed natural.
"The first time we did the show, it was only a handful of performances. So there were lots of people who didn't get to see it," Hanbury says.
Hanbury's show is something of a send-up of the classic Broadway one-woman show, but one soaked in Mrs. Smith's complex back story and obsession with her cat, Carlyle. Think Elaine Stritch at Liberty, but with more fur.
"It's just more: bigger and better. The sets, costumes, wigs, and props have all been enhanced and improved," Hanbury says.
Sitting down at one location for five weeks gives the production a chance to expand on what has been done before with the staging. "Director Andrew Rasmussen is building a delightful little jewel of a stage at Camp Cabaret specifically tailored for Mrs. Smith's miniature musical-comedy spectacular. He's literally slaving away with hammer and nail, and Mrs. Smith is so glad she doesn't have to be part of it," Hanbury says.
And don't forget costumes and wigs, which have been expanded for the full-length musical, which -- along with Mrs. Smith's own magnetic personality -- includes Broadway standards like "Cabaret" and "The Ladies Who Lunch."
"As a performer, it's a real treat to be able to return to material and go deeper into the story and find new moments," Hanbury says.
Camp Bar isn't the only stop scheduled for Mrs. Smith this fall. Following the run in St. Paul, Hanbury will head out to Boston to perform twice at the American Repertory Theater's Oberon space.
First up, of course, is five weeks in the capitol city.
"I have performed a few times at Camp Bar, in fact, I was just there last weekend doing a brief appearance as Mrs. Smith at my friend Martina's cabaret. It's a delightful venue, and I definitely felt like the clientele 'got' Mrs. Smith. I do think St. Paul will deliver a whole new audience to Mrs. Smith, and, of course, Camp Cabaret has a built-in audience of their own who I'm sure will enjoy the show. Of course the absolute best thing about St. Paul is that on-street parking is free after 5 p.m.," Hanbury says.
Mrs. Smith Live!
The Cabaret Theater at Camp Bar
490 N. Robert St., St. Paul
For tickets and information, call 1-800-838-3006 or visit online.