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"Cabaret Style: Local musicians unite to host 'Broadway's Music of the Night' June 29."

By Joshua Tehee, Fresno Bee Staff Writer
Thursday, June 26, 2003

Nate Butler sits at the piano winging his way through "Cry Me A River" -- his first time without the sheet music.

In a faded fedora, vest and tie, the 37-year-old Butler looks more at home in some darkened downtown bar than on stage at Roger Rocka's Music Hall.

By his side sits 21-year-old Justin Weatherby, legs dangling from the side of the stage, face full of expression as he belts out the chorus.

The duo is rehearsing for "Broadway's Music of the Night," a cabaret-style showcase at Roger Rocka's June 29, which features classics from the 1920's to 1950's as interpreted by Weatherby and Butler.
Justin Weatherby, left, and Nate Butler rehearse for "Broadway's Music of the Night."
(Scott Adams / Neighbors CityView)
Weatherby grew up performing on this stage. The graduate of the Roosevelt School of the Performing Arts is a studied actor, singer and dancer.

Butler is a fixture in Fresno's music scene, with more than 20 years experience playing live music in clubs and bars.

Though their approaches differ, they are like-minded.

They hope this show will spark an interest in cabaret. "They're pretty serious about what they're doing," says Laura Tromborg, Weatherby's mother, who is producing the show. She also hopes it will spark an interest in the genre, possibly even creating a cabaret series in Fresno.

Show tunes, and cabaret as a style, are disappearing from mainstream focus, Weatherby says.

In Fresno it's almost nonexistent, especially with the youth.

"You mention Irving Berlin to any high school student and they'll have no clue," Weatherby says, and he wrote "God Bless America."

But Weatherby and Butler will not let it quietly go. Butler does similar shows at the Daily Planet and other clubs around town each week and the pair agree their passion for the music will not leave once the show is done.

"There's no doubt that we're going to be doing this in our lives," Butler says.

Tickets for the show are available at Roger Rocka's box office for $25 for dinner and the show, $15 for show only. For more information call 266-9494 or 248-9427.

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