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The Eagle Newspaper
July 12, 2007


Spotlight for One: Table for Two
By Lawrence Hillis

SALEM – This past Sunday the Fort Salem Theater saw Mrs. Neva Small complete her final performance of Not Quite an Ingenue, the musical story of her unique and inspiring life.

Accompanied by Artistic Director Jay Kerr on the piano, the show came to life not on the conventional Fort Salem stage, but in a brand new and beautifully designed room.The walls had been repainted a deep burgundy and emphasized with a gold trim, all resting atop mahogany panels.  One of the walls had been brought down and in its place a small alcove stage was set.  Hidden lights set the mood as soft music drifted from hidden sources and delicious treats were served from the corner.  Tables had been set throughout the room, all lit by the soft glow of candles resting upon them.  This was not a show, this was not a story that can only be seen from a distance, this was not someone else’s story…this was the meeting of old friends, this was the beauty of a romantic candle lit dinner, this was a revelation of music, in theater, in experience…and then Neva Small made her appearance.

Busting through a pair of golden curtains, her vibrancy and vitality brought her first song  to life,  and brought the audience to their feet.  But the enthusiasm did not end there but carried through the entirety of the experience.  Her voice was mature and wizened, and her versatility was astounding, switching between old theater style music, to more popular songs from the radio, and even engaging the audience through the use of a puppet!

This was cabaret.  This was Neva Small. This was theater at its best!

Though Ms. Small’s act has finished, it does not herald the end of the activities at Fort Salem.  The theater will be hosting Kerri Lynn Jennings: On the Brink, July 13 through July 15.  Ms. Jennings songs and stories will carry you around the world from Las Vegas to Japan, chronicling a life rife with intensity and action, and following the trials and travails of fame, misfortune and romance.  All of this will be set in Fort Salem’s wonderful  atmosphere and with it’s long standing tradition of professionalism and excellence.
 
 
     
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Fort Salem Theater
© 2007