Michael “Big Daddy” Pacas prepares for his Big 'n' Easy cabaret show.

Palm Canyon Theatre launched a new Cabaret Fundraising Series this season with a variety of one-night-only productions. Performers donate their time and talents, and each unique show supports the 26-year-old nonprofit theater, its education programs and the culture it cultivates in the Coachella Valley.

Edward Staudenmayer

Coming up on Feb. 22, Palm Canyon Cabaret presents From Broadway With Love … Backwards, hosted by renowned actress Judith Chapman. The show is stacked with 14 talented performers, including many favorite PCT company members. This year includes a special homecoming for a Palm Springs High School alumnus: Edward Staudenmayer has been in 11 Broadway shows and national tours combined, plus dozens of off-Broadway and regional productions. Currently, he is staring as Franklin Hart in 9 to 5 at Music Theater West in Long Beach, and fortunately can make a guest appearance in PCT’s From Broadway With Love … Backwards show.

Among the local talent performing some of Broadway’s most memorable love songs on Feb. 22 are Se Layne, Jaci Davis, Ben Reece, Sheldon Safir, Georgia Smith, Nicholas Sloan, Jamie Leigh Walker, Michael Pacas, Laurie Holmes, Denise Rooney, Scott Clinkscales, Eric Stein-Steel, Virginia Sulick and Aaron Jakubiec. Derik Shopinski is directing with Jaci Davis as the show’s musical director.

Then on March 1, local character actor Ron Coronado will bring his original one-man show, Confessions of a Character Actor, to Palm Canyon Theatre for a debut performance. Through song, stories and visuals, Coronado will share secrets of the stage during a night that promises to enlighten your soul, touch your heart and make you laugh.

Ron Coronado as Bernadette Bassenger in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

“I’ve always considered myself a storyteller, and I’m excited to share what it takes to develop the character and everything else that leads up to opening night,” said Coronado.

Coronado began acting at 12 and has performed throughout the country on stage, in television and in film. He is known to completely embody his characters and transform himself to the point where he is unrecognizable, even to those who know him well. Coronado is best known locally for his performances in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Bernadette Bassenger), Hairspray (Edna Turnblad), La Cage Aux Folles (Jacob), and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Melvin P. Thorpe). Through laughs (and maybe some tears), Coronado opens up about how these characters spoke through him, and how they remain a part of him, even after the curtain closes.

On April 19, Michael Pacas will take to the PCT stage for his one-man-show Big n’ Easy. Hailing from New Orleans, Pacas promises a decadent evening of Southern bawdiness and beads. “Big Daddy” Pacas will be joined by musical director Jaci Davis as they ladle out a spicy Louisiana gumbo of jazz, blues, pop and unearthed comic treasures. Katrina Dixon will also bring her talent to the stage to add to the cabaret celebration.

Earlier in the season, Sheldon Safir, Eric Stein-Steele, Jaci Davis and Eri Gold performed in Songs of Love and Longing, where they expressed, in verse, the exciting and complicated emotion of love. In January, Jaci Davis received rave reviews for her one-woman cabaret, Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda, DID, a personal look at Jaci’s journey as an entertainer.

“Each of the performers in the Palm Canyon Cabaret is so giving,” said Se Layne, co-artistic director of PCT. “It’s been such a joy to watch each of them entertain authentically, the way they want to, and to share themselves with our supportive audiences.”

Each of the Palm Canyon Cabaret performances begins at 7 p.m. All tickets are $30. Group discounts are available. For tickets, sponsorship opportunities or other information, call the PCT Box Office at 760-323-5123 or order online at PalmCanyonTheatre.org. The Palm Canyon Theatre is located at 538 N. Palm Canyon Drive, at the corner of Alejo Road and Palm Canyon Drive. Box office hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

This piece was submitted on behalf of Palm Canyon Theatre by Cara Van Dijk.