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story.lead_photo.caption Jana Bott performs "Somewhere" from the musical "West Side Story" during Wednesday's rehearsal for Capital City Productions' first Founders' Cabaret. Photo by Liv Paggiarino / News Tribune.

A celebration of song and community will open at Capital City Productions tonight, as past and present group members present the first "Founder's Cabaret."

The event is meant to celebrate CCP and its patrons, said Rob Crouse, who founded the theater group in 1991. The idea actually came out of the group's desire to prepare its patrons for "the kickoff of the spectacular 30th anniversary season," Crouse said, which will be next year.

But it's also meant to celebrate who Crouse referred to as "one of Broadway's most well loved and prolific composers," Stephen Sondheim, who turned 90 earlier this year. More than 20 current and former members of CCP are expected to perform songs from Sondheim classics, such as "Company," "A Little Night Music," "Gypsy," "West Side Story," "Anyone Can Whistle" and "Follies."

As the local dinner theater approaches its 30th season, it's easy to see the group's progress. The Capital City Players, as it was known in 1991, started out performing on a makeshift stage in the old Ramada Inn, where the Holiday Inn is now, with rehearsals in an old funeral home that had no heat. After consistent success, often selling out shows and having to add new dates, the group moved to Shikles Auditorium in 2007, where they stayed until the end of last year, when the facility was sold.

Now, the group has more space than ever at the 15,500-square-foot facility on Wicker Lane, facilitating larger and smoother productions.

The "Founder's Cabaret" will be a chance for CCP family members from throughout its history to perform together in the group's newest home, Crouse said.

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Those expected to perform include Tyler McCutcheon, Kit Tinnin, Dick Dalton, Melinda Peak, Cole Riney, Sue Logston, Troy Ludwig and many more.

Performances are set for 7:30 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday, with doors opening and a buffet dinner served starting at 6:30 p.m. A matinee performance is set for 1 p.m. Saturday, with doors opening and the buffet meal served starting at noon. Tickets are $38 and can be purchased at ccpjc.org, by email at [email protected] or by calling or texting the box office line at 573-681-9612.

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