Shubert Alley is a narrow, 300-foot-long pedestrian alleyway originally built as a fire exit between the Shubert and Booth Theatres in the heart of New York City’s Broadway district. The name is fitting for Santa Cruz’s only local Broadway act, the Shubert Alley Cats, whose three members—Rocky Pase on guitar and vocals, Carol Thorson on piano, and Paul Trigg on upright bass—all share a deep affection for the show tunes of the late 1940s and mid-1950s.
“Growing up, we all had the vinyl recordings of these movies, West Side Story and South Pacific, and so we grew up with show tunes playing in our houses,” Rocky reminisces. “You get so caught up in it … I remember being 10 years old and playing basketball out in the snow in Long Island, and I’m singing “Maria” at the top of my lungs, shooting hoops and singing my face off out in the snow. But Broadway is some of the most beautiful music—that’s why it’s on Broadway, these shows that run for years and years and years. The music and the lyrics are so beautiful and captivating.”
A Shubert Alley Cats show will typically blend original songs, jazz standards, and show tunes—often with dialogue to set the scene. The audience is surprisingly diverse, spanning several generations. Part of the draw is in the way that Rocky recreates that interaction between the players and the audience. “Live theater and the music that accompanies it will never die. It’s irreplaceable. Nothing could replace the live communication between what’s happening onstage and with the audience, the people who are listening to and responding to it. Magical things happen when there’s that incredible validation and admiration going back and forth.”
INFO: 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 19, Zizzo’s Coffeehouse and Wine Bar, 3555 Clares St., Suite PP, Capitola. Free. 477-0680.