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In Beatles cabaret

Turn back the Chapel Hill musical calendar to 1979--and what do you see? The exuberantly original pop of Arrogance, certainly. And perhaps America's fave whatzit band, the Red Clay Ramblers and their happily schizo hybrid of backwoods banjo and big-city smarts. Then there was Chez Condoret, the high-energy cabaret troupe that lit up West Franklin Street with Broadway-style shine.

Back in the day, Chez Condoret toasted Cole Porter. Fast forward to 2002--and it's time for Lennon-McCartney to get the same champagne treatment of vintage cabaret. Written and directed by novelist Dan Lewandowski in the still-cool Chez tradition, the Beatles Cabaret combines theater and rock 'n' roll at the Carolina Club on the UNC campus starting Friday, Oct. 11, at 7:30 p.m. "The Beatles were a major part of the texture of my young life," reveals Lewandowski. "And I grew up with them sexually, from the innocence of "I Want to Hold Your Hand" to the raunchiness of "Why Don't We Do It in the Road."

"Since many of their songs are 'story' songs," the author elaborates, "they lend themselves perfectly to cabaret. I looked over the list of Beatles songs and immediately saw how they could be applied to a story about a guy and gal who want to meet but are so jaded by the dating scene they're reluctant to make the first move. The songs explain their inner conflicts."

Lewandowski abruptly ends his weighty explanation--and cuts to the chase: "They're just terrific songs to sing."

Fueled by the kicking arrangements of Mark Lewis, Beatles Cabaret will continue through Nov. 8. For ducats and Carolina Club membership info, Beatlemaniacs should dial 962-3802 or visit --Joe Vanderford

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