Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the cost of admission for Belles Take the Big Easy. The cost per person is $30. We regret the error and are happy to set the record straight.
NATCHEZ – At the Storyville Cabaret and Dinner Theater, you can have your meal delivered to the venue or pick it up and bring it with you. You bring the food and drink, and the Cabaret will bring the entertainment.
The new entertainment stop at 121 N. Commerce St. will have its grand opening and first show on St. Patrick’s Day, Thursday, March 17, said owner and award-winning author, playwright and screenwriter Alicia Dutton.
Dutton and her husband Eddie, a Marine, moved to Natchez from Atlanta, Georgia in February 2020 and purchased buildings that once housed H. Hal Garner Antiques & Interiors on Franklin Street.
“We purchased the downtown buildings in January 2020, then hello COVID,” Dutton said, adding that plans have been temporarily put on hold as a result. Dutton said the Commerce Street building turned out to be a better choice for a dinner theater, so they sold the other buildings and moved it there instead.
“We enjoyed visiting Natchez and thought it would be nice to have our own theater,” she said. “I never thought about it before coming to Natchez.”
The first production at the Storyville Cabaret is Dutton’s original work, “Belles Take the Big Easy”, which would be the show’s first performance on any stage. However, Dutton has had many other plays performed on stages across the country, she said.
His screenplays have been successful in numerous competitions in the United States and around the world, including a first place finish at the Polish International Film Festival.
Some of his award-winning screenplays and books include ‘Going Home to Dixie’, ‘Bound for the Outer Banks‘, ‘Southern Sirens’, ‘Parading Crazy on the Porch’, ‘Christmas in Dixie’, ‘Christmas Queens’, Wedding Belles’ and “Comic Monologues on the Theme of Marriage for Women”.
Dutton holds a bachelor’s degree in marine biology and is a board-certified paralegal and histotechnologist who has been employed in a range of fields, from a Centers for Disease Control laboratory specialist to a contest trainer.
Dutton specializes in writing musicals with an emphasis on strong female lead characters in a Southern setting, she said.
The cabaret is like many others found in the Texas, Georgia and Alabama area, she said.
“It’s BYOB and you bring your own meal. You can have it delivered to the door or delivered from the restaurant and set your own table,” she said. “It’s $30 per person and for an additional $10 we do the mise en place and centerpiece.”
Belles Take the Big Easy features five women who travel from Alabama to New Orleans to “cross Mardi Gras off their bucket list.”
At the famous Bacchus Mardi Gras ball, a fortune teller delivers disturbing news that takes the ladies on a journey with Marie la bonne gai, whom Celeste believes to be the reincarnated voodoo queen Marie Laveau. Together, the six ladies tackle the Big Easy to gather the items needed to ward off a perceived curse.
The cast of the play includes talented performers from Natchez as well as three performers from other states flying in for the show.
Adams County Christian School Director of Theater Arts Malorie Giannaris plays Mary Grace, who she says “has a lazy husband, two kids, loves Google and hates her stepmom.”
Hailing from Jena, Louisiana, Tracy McCartney plays Celeste, the curator of a new web series, “Say Yes to Anything but A Wedding Dress” filmed in a French Quarter boutique owned by a flamboyant designer named Blaise played by a college student from CASC, Dylan Brocato.
Quincy Vidrine, who Dutton says is “no stranger to the scene,” plays the “uncontrollable” Regina, who is ready to go wild at the slightest opportunity.
Teri Pospisil plays the tense Catherine, whose ex-husband drops a bombshell granting her new life that has her celebrating with the other girls “with more than coffee and donuts at Cafe du Monde,” Dutton said.
Other stars of the series include Joe Wild as Thibeaux, Tammi Scales as Mary the Voodoo Priestess, Wanda DeBono as Cherry, and Dutton as Bree.
Shows are at 7:30 p.m. March 17-19 and 2:30 p.m. March 20. Doors open for setting up tables one hour before each performance. Tables can seat up to eight people, making Storyville a great place for group or family nights out, Dutton said. The building will also serve as an event venue for weddings and other special occasions, she said.
Upcoming shows and events in April and May will benefit “Ya’ll Means All Natchez”, a nonprofit that supports suicide prevention and educates LGBTQ+ youth about depression.
Tickets can be reserved and more information about the venue and upcoming events can be found at www.storyvillecabaret.com.