During our Atlantic crossing on Silver Cloud, I saw something I did not expect to see: an audience stand not only to applaud but also to participate in a powerful performance by six young and extremely gifted vocalists.
The occasion was High C’s, a mix of melodies and vocals featuring classical music and opera. High C’s ended on a high note when all six performers walked out to various locations in the Venetian Lounge with wireless microphones in hand to perform “Con te Partiro.” Nearly everyone in the audience stood, clapped along to the upbeat tempo and expressed their appreciation at the end with a standing ovation and choruses of “Bravo!” as the performers returned to the stage for a final bow.
The performance, and the new entertainment programming, marks a departure for Silversea from traditional-style cruise ship production shows, says Cliff Perry, Silversea’s director of entertainment, who was on board my sailing along with the show producers. “It was time for Silversea to lead not only in the culinary and luxury arenas but also in entertainment,” Perry told me after rehearsals one afternoon.
I was fortunate to be on the sailing during the debut of the new programming. With six days at sea, I, as did other guests on Silver Cloud, sat in for rehearsals and mingled with the entertainers in the lounges and other public areas. The entertainers’ accessibility, in fact, added another social dimension to the cruise.
Ranging in age from 27 to 45, they had enough life experience to engage with guests. “It’s always good to have friends in the audience, and this week we’ve made a lot of friends as we’ve been out and about around the ship,” says Jovani McCleary, a baritoner from California whose movie credits include “Going the Distance” and “Spiderman.”
The entertainers also performed short pieces in various venues throughout Silver Cloud, in the Panorama Lounge on one evening, and during dinner one night, at La Terrazza and in The Restaurant. They were often seen socializing in The Bar and even helped to host yesterday’s Pub Lunch.
The production is headed by director and choreographer Christopher Childers and his sister, Suzanne “Soozi” Childers, who designed and fashioned the costuming inspired by haute couture. Their company, Choozi Entertainment, creates, produces and directs live stage shows around the world.
Christopher, who toured with Madonna, Michael Jackson and Cirque du Soleil, said of the Silver Cloud performances: “The most gratifying moment for me was when I heard the comments from the guests. The shows really moved them. They felt like they were transported.”
The vocals are pure, with no so-called “sweetening tracks” that can render performances into little more than “glorified karaoke,” Perry said. The music was recorded with live musicians, engineered by Bonzai Caruso, a three-time grammy award winner. Even the lighting was completely revamped under the direction of Scott Phillips, whose company SPLD Inc. managed to achieve something “astonishingly different than from what has been used before,” Perry said.
The production featured four shows during my sailing: Motown hits in Signed, Sealed, Delivered; High C’s; Fabbalicious, happening tonight and featuring the music of ABBA; and Decades, popular songs through the decades performed on the Pool Deck Sunday night following a barbecue dinner as Silver Cloud remains docked Dominica.
The new entertainment offerings will be rolled out this month on Silver Whisper, Silver Wind and Silver Shadow — and on Silver Spirit in March 2012.
High C’s, Classical Music With A Contemporary Twist
Venetian Society Welcome
Signed, Sealed, Delivered — Truly Delivered
Tonight’s Show: Fabbalicious, Can’t Wait