Our Fabulous Variety Show Presents ‘Best of the Best’

Rachel, Mary McDonald, Tali Friedman, Hanna Medler and Hailey Kohlus from "A Spectacular Christmas Carol," December 2014. Bob Champey photo
Rachel, Mary McDonald, Tali Friedman, Hanna Medler and Hailey Kohlus from “A Spectacular Christmas Carol,” December 2014. Bob Champey photo

By Michelle Trauring

At first, Kasia Klimiuk and Anita Boyer were quiet. They rolled the number around.

“Twenty,” Boyer said.

“Yeah. Twenty,” Klimiuk repeated. “Twenty productions.”

Silent again. And then, it was hard to tell their voices apart. “It’s been really fun!” it can be guessed Boyer said over Klimiuk, who simultaneously exclaimed, “We’re really excited!”

The two women burst into laughter.

“It’s surprising because I didn’t think we’d make it to 20 this quickly,” Klimiuk said.

“We’ve created a lot of shows in not a lot of time,” Boyer said.

On Friday night, the co-founders will bring Our Fabulous Variety Show back to a time when it was just that: a cabaret of singers, dancers, actors and special acts they never imagined would be the beginning of a full-fledged theater company.

They are calling it, “Best of the Best.”

“It’s going to be old school,” Klimiuk said of the show, which will stage at Guild Hall in East Hampton. “We’re bringing back all our best numbers and all our best people from the last seven years. We have over 70 people in the show, which is also crazy.”

Each of the performances is slightly different from the last — “You really have to come to all four shows if you want to get the full ‘Best of the Best’ experience,” Boyer said — with new soloists and featured acts, from comedian Tyler Fischer to fire and snake dancer Samantha Slithers, to Danny Ximo of the Raffa Show and divas Rusty Nails and Naomi.

Samantha Slithers, Tony D’Alessio, Dakota Quackenbush, Tali Friedman and Kasia Klimiuk from “A Spectacular Christmas Carol,” December 2014.
Bob Champey photo

The core numbers include the company’s biggest dance routines and comedic skits, such Klimiuk’s jazz-funk medley with “Controversy,” “Black and Gold,” and “Girls” — which once had four dancers, and now features 15 — and Boyer’s tap performance to “Bojangles,” and her tap medley of “Take Five” and “Drummer Boy.”

“I didn’t even know Anita was the sick tapper that she is until after two years of knowing each other,” Klimiuk said.

“Getting into the shows brought out that whole side of me that I was,” Boyer said. “I don’t even think that I would recognize myself if I met me now, seven years ago. The Variety Show, my friendship with Kasia, everything we have worked on and done has shaped everything about who I am today and the work that I do and the career that I have and what makes me happy. Building the Variety Show has really bought me back to my roots and what I love and brought me so much joy and so much stress — and I just love it all.”

As the company has grown, so have the dancers — among them Klimiuk, who actively revolted against following in her family’s footsteps to become a teacher.

“My mom was a teacher, my grandma was a teacher, my grandfather was a teacher. I was like, ‘I am not gonna teach. I’m not doing that,” she said. “And now …”

“Here you are,’ Boyer piped up.

“And I love it. I love working with kids and creating things. We’ve moved from the variety show to narrative stories, and Anita and I both kind of became writers — which I never thought would happen in my life, writing actual plays,” Klimiuk said. “It’s been amazing to have this creative outlet where we can just talk about what we want to talk about in the world and have the kids help us with what they want to say about the world. It’s been amazing.”

Eden Lowlicht, Kasia Klimiuk, Tori Schmitt and Talia Albukrek from “The New Christmas Carol,” December 2016. Dorota Jemielita photo

“Best of the Best” feels deeply personal, Boyer said. It is a performed history of the last seven years of her life, from meeting Klimiuk on the set of “Cabaret” in 2010 at the Southampton Cultural Center to where they are today.

It is a narrative that weaves together solid friendship with ambition, trial and error, community support and a shared love of the performing arts, she said.

The nostalgia is enough to move her to tears.

“I cried in my tap class the other day because we were reviewing ‘Take Five’ and ‘Drummer Boy,’” Boyer said. “’Take Five’ usually had only five people. One time we were crazy and had nine people in it. This time, we have 16 or 17 people in it, and to have so many people all doing a dance that I created seven years ago, that was like my baby …”

She trailed off. “I’m really honored to have them all dancing it. I feel the respect they have for it. They know it’s a big deal to learn the dance and perform it at Guild Hall — because that’s how we’ve felt all along.”

Our Fabulous Variety Show will present “Best of the Best” on Friday, December 1, at 7:30 p.m., at Guild Hall, located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. Additional performances will be held on Saturday, December 2, at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, December 3, at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $20 to $50. For more information, please call (631) 507-4603 or visit ourfabulousvarietyshow.org.

Santa and his Elves from the “Holiday Spectacular! Spectacular! Spectacular!” in December 2013. Courtesy photo