Amy Friedl Stoner in Concert
Friday and Saturday, Oct. 23 and 24 at 7:30 p.m. — theatrecr.org, $25
It was about eight months since Amy Friedl Stoner last performed on stage. This is the longest the cabaret artist has ever gone without audiences enjoying her work — but that’s soon about to change.
Theatre Cedar Rapids is hosting Stoner for a virtual cabaret performance that will be streamed on Oct. 23 and 24. The performance was directed by Stoner and music director Luke Viertel. Stoner was given full artistic freedom when directing and creating the show, she said. The concert highlights her favorite songs, including “Cover Me Up” by Jason Isbell and “I’ve Got to Sing” by Rick Jensen.
“It’s a mix of some of my favorite songs and the storytelling behind them,” Stoner said about the show. “We are singing songs from some of my favorite composers and what inspired them. It’s sort of Amy Stoner behind the music … why I choose the songs that I do and why I do cabaret.”
Stoner, who is from Cedar Rapids, has performed in sold-out venues across the country, including the Gaslight Theatre in Saint Louis and Davenport’s in Chicago. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in May 2018 as a featured performer.
Stoner has also worked with a number of Tony and Grammy Award-winning artists, including Faith Prince, Christine Ebersole and Jason Robert Brown.
While recording the show at TCR, Stoner said she felt a “big mix of emotions.” This was the first show she’s done since February when she and Viertel performed at Opus Concert Café in Cedar Rapids.
“When we did the TCR recording, I kept getting teary eyed,” Stoner said. “It feels really good to perform, but it feels bittersweet … knowing [I] probably won’t be able to do it for a while.”
It wasn’t the same performing without an audience, she said, but it did allow her to redo parts if she wanted to, which isn’t possible during a live show.
“It’s kind of cool from a performer standpoint,” Stoner said. “If we messed something up or if a take was a bad take, we could go back and redo it … which is sort of the only pro [of not having an audience].”
“There’s a warmth and certain energy missing without the audience there,” she added.
The performance was filmed on Oct. 3 and edited by videographer Adam Orton. Filming took around six to seven hours, Stoner said.
Stage manager Benjamin Farrar built platforms that went into the audience to keep Stoner, Viertel and musician Jeremiah Murphy at a safe distance apart. For Stoner, this was the longest time she had been out in public without a mask on.
She felt that TCR did everything they could to ensure the safety of the individuals involved. Stoner expressed the importance of the arts, especially during the pandemic. She hopes that people will get a feeling of normalcy from her show.
“The arts, and theatre especially, are a lot about community, a lot about experiencing something together,” Stoner said. “Human connection is important for happiness, survival and all of those things. So when we can’t have that, we have to go other ways about it, even if it is virtual.”
The show streams at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23 and Saturday, Oct. 24. Tickets for Stoner’s virtual performance can be found on TCR’s website.
Individuals choose which date they would like to watch the show and will receive a private access link via email with instructions for viewing. The suggested amount for a ticket is $25, but there is also a “pay what you like” option.