When singer and actress Karyn Rondeau planned to audition for Monty Python’s Spamalot, something held her back. “I wasn’t going to audition for Spamalot because I was too fat,” says Rondeau, who occasionally becomes misty eyed during our conversation. However, with the support of friends, she went out for the role and ended up landing the part of the musical’s leading lady.
“It was this amazing experience for me, and I got to wear these really awesome sexy costumes,” she says, remembering what a confidence boost she gained from the experience. “I just felt great, and I closed that show just loving myself and loving my body.”
It is that feeling that Rondeau aims to coax out of others with her new show, Curvy Cabaret. A talented cast of female performers tell their stories of taking their bodies back, fighting self-doubt and living healthy with their body types.
Rondeau and production partner Juanita Harriswho work together as J/K Cabaretcould easily be mistaken for old friends. But in truth, they didn’t connect until December 2017. They met at Crema Coffee Roasting Company on The Alameda in San Jose, where they hit it off while discussing music and the stage. Not long after Rondeau and Harris founded their company, and together they put on shows. Their most recent, Drunks on Parade, brought a collection of drinking songs to Art Boutiki.
When they’re not working together as J/K Cabaret, Harris and Rondeau stay busy with other artistic endeavors. Rondeau will be in City Lights’ production of God of Carnage in September, and Harris sings in the San Jose-based 7th Street Big Band.
Rondeau and Harris’ latest show, Curvy Cabaret, aims to celebrate womenespecially women whose shapes don’t match those so commonly found on the covers of glossy magazines. “We want to do things that bless people, bring life,” Rondeau says.
Five women from all over the Bay Area will be featured in the show, which comes to City Lights Theater next weekend. The women will share personal stories of dealing with or overcoming feelings of inadequacy sing songs and perform other stage acts.
Curvy Cabaret is a family-friendly show; Rondeau and Harris hope that both girls and boys attend and find something to take away from the production. “You shouldn’t be limited by how you look,” Harris says. “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, and don’t let yourself tell yourself you can’t do something.”
Aug 12, 7pm, $22+
City Lights Theater Company, San Jose