Our Laguna: Performers croon love songs at cabaret

February 21, 2013|By Barbara Diamond | By Barbara Diamond
  • The Laguna Nursery hosted a Valentine's Day Cabaret this past weekend.
The Laguna Nursery hosted a Valentine's Day Cabaret… (Ed Ramirez )

Love bloomed at the Laguna Nursery's Valentine's Day Cabaret on Saturday night.

Performers crooned and warbled songs of love found, love lost, love on the rebound and cupboard love, all accompanied by pianist Saif. His grand piano was set on the main floor against a backdrop of plants, antiques and those pink and red metal garden decorations featured at the nursery.

"Anyone who wants to hear about something else will have to come another night," Saif said.

He warmed up the audience with "Making Whoopie," followed by Kathi Gillmore, who hopped on the piano in true chanteuse style to sing her first number before joining Saif in a duet.

Disneyland performer Bill Ledesma was next at the microphone. He previously worked with Saif at dinner shows, so he was right at home at the Cabaret, where folks ate, drank and in some cases chatted during the performances.

Ledesma sang "My Funny Valentine," the holiday's quintessential tune from the 1937 Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart musical "Babes in Arms."


Rufino Cabang, scion of the clan that owned the Royal Hawaiian for more than 50 years, sang "All I Ask of You" with a twist.

A veteran of "Lagunatics," Cabang got the hang of parodies: Forget the bouquets and boxes of chocolates, diamonds, a Rolex and Italian loafers was his version of "All I Ask of You."

That may not have been exactly what Cabaret regular Mary Ferguson had in mind when she requested a song from Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Les Miserables."

Cabang also had some fun with "Love was Made for You and Me" and "Someone to Watch Over Me" — preferably someone with lots of money.

Ed Ramirez sang a duet with Saif, his partner for 14 years.

"And what could be more romantic than Frank Sinatra?" Saif asked. So Ramirez sang "Strangers in the Night."

Diana Morris made her first appearance at the nursery's cabarets. She sang that saddest of all love songs: "The Way We Were," from the movie of the same name that starred Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford as two people who loved each other but could not live together.

Gillmore came back to the microphone to perform "Angel of the Morning," which has hit the charts for several singers, including Olivia Newton-John and Dusty Springfield, as well as the Pretenders.

Singer Nelson Coates, a member of the Laguna College of Art & Design board of trustees, introduced his good friends Virginia and Hugh O'Brian, star of the television series "Wyatt Earp."

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