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Suspense over: The Colony’s Royal Room summer cabaret series will open in July


The Colony hotel isn’t getting rid of its Royal Room cabaret, as rumors around town have suggested. “I don’t know where all the talk came from that we’re doing away with entertainment,” said Lloyd Van Horn, who took over as general manager April 17.

He’s been reviewing the cabaret’s operation to see where it could be upgraded.

“There are some business things that could be improved,” he said. “If you’re looking at entertainment, you want to put in entertainment people want to see. Guests for entertainment speak with their wallets.”

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The Palm Beach hotel no longer will book acts that have sold poorly in the past and it’s broadening its horizons with new talent, he said.

RELATED: New Colony GM aims ‘to embrace the history’ of the historic hotel

With that in mind, The Colony released a five-act summer schedule featuring three entertainers the cabaret has never booked before.

The slow-selling Friday shows have been eliminated. Prices have been trimmed. Motown Fridays will continue, as will Raquel Williams’ popular Saturday night shows in Polo restaurant and lounge.

As in the past, many of the summer artists are Florida-based.

The series will open July 15 with Jill and Rich Switzer. The couple, who host The Morning Lounge on Legends Radio 100.3-FM, have performed at The Colony before, but never in the Royal Room. Proven act Carole J. Bufford will follow on July 22 and July 29.

The newcomers are Jenene Caramielo, Aug. 5 and Aug. 12; Deborah Silver, Aug. 19; and Franco Corso, Aug. 26.

Longtime fans of the Royal Room need not be alarmed.

“We’re maybe moving forward a generation or two, but from what I’ve seen in the past, it doesn’t look like a huge departure,” Van Horn said. “It’s not as though we’re taking a 180-degree turn.”

Entertainment director Rob Russell saw Caramielo perform at Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York. She sings what he calls “great contemporary standards” by artists such as Whitney Houston and Celine Dion.

“She sang a Whitney Houston song that was the closest thing I’ve ever heard to Whitney Houston,” he said. “She has such beauty and poise.”

Corso who bills himself as “the voice of romance” is a classical crossover artist. “He sings opera standards and gives them a hip twist,” Russell said.

Both Caramielo and Corso say they’ve performed for Donald Trump at The Mar-a-Lago Club in their promotional materials.

Silver is one of Royal Room favorite Steve Tyrell’s finds. He produced her debut album, The Gold Standards, which climbed to No. 1 on Billboard’s Traditional Jazz Album chart and Heatseeker Album chart when it was released last fall.

The Colony will use response to its new summer acts to gauge how it might diversify its in-season series, Van Horn said. “We’ve already started talking to some bigger acts,” he said. The shows probably will start around the December holidays, he said.

Doors open at 6 p.m. for dinner at 155 Hammon Ave. The shows start at 8 p.m. Summer show show-only admission is $40. Dinner and the show cost $75. For information call 659-8100.

RELATED: Palm Beach Dramaworks debuts cabaret shows on its second stage



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