If the still-new, often-jazzy Cabaret at The Commons series were a performer, the audience would be demanding an encore.

Organizers of the second season’s worth of multi-genre musical concerts have scheduled one cabaret per month January through May, which audience members suggested in a recent survey.

Tickets already are selling briskly, according to organizers. Plus, $15 plated meals with dessert have been added to the lineup.

“We’re actually already seeing a lot of people buying the whole series together (at a 15 percent discount),” said Katelyn Phillips, marketing direc- tor for the Columbus Indi- ana Philharmonic.

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The orchestra launched the series in January with a 400-seat, sold-out show with homegrown singer and Broadway performer Mary Claire King. Shows since have drawn 225 to 250 people, according to Phillips.

The series gives local music lovers another avenue to connect with the Philharmonic’s arts reach — one that music director David Bowden often has reminded others includes far more than orchestral concerts.

As some metro orchestras in recent years have struggled to build audiences or retain those they have, the Philharmonic is seeking alternative ways to reach arts aficionados.

Philharmonic board member Pamela Wells-Lego proposed adding three different entrée meals — beyond the Cabaret’s current appetizers served by Columbus’ First Class Catering — after seeing Indianapolis’ Columbia Club’s success with its meals during its 125-seat cabaret series that made the local series possible.

The Indianapolis venue and The Commons share artists, allowing organizers to more easily attract top talent, including Broadway stars.

The need for local meals have become a practical matter, as Wells-Lego said she sees it.

“We realize it can be hard for people to get out of work, especially since most of these concerts are on a Thursday night, get home, eat and make it to the concert (by 7:30 p.m.),” she said.

First Class Catering’s three options consist of vegetarian ratatouille, a raspberry chicken entree with smoked vegetables and a beef lasagna offering. All come with a chocolate mousse dessert.

She noted that when she has attended a few cabarets at the Columbia Club, a full-service restaurant, perhaps 60 percent of ticket buyers order a full meal. At the local events, only those with tickets for table seats — that is, the $30 and $50 tickets — can get a meal. Those in the $15 seats without tables still can order appetizers.

One sign of the Cabaret at The Commons’ increasing reach rests in the March 3 date with Ramin Karimloo, an Iranian-born Canadian and Tony-nominee who starred in the 2014 Broadway revival of “Les Misérables.”

Phillips mentioned that some of his fans travel internationally. And she said some from outside the U.S. already are planning to be at The Commons.

“So we’re still trying to fully grasp the series’ popularity,” she said.

Come to the cabaret

All concerts are 7:30 p.m. at The Commons, 300 Washington St., Columbus.

  • Jan. 28: Jazz-pop singer Spencer Day.
  • Feb. 4: Classically trained soprano vocalist Paula Dione Ingram paying tribute to Broadway’s black composers to recognize Black History Month.
  • March 3: Ramin Karimloo, an Iranian-born Canadian and Tony-nominee.
  • April 7: Annaleigh Ashford, star of the Tony-nominated “Kinky Boots.” Performing everything from pop to Broadway to disco.
  • May 5: Marin Mazzie, critically acclaimed actress and singer from Broadway and concert halls worldwide.

Tickets: $15, $30 and $50, available at 812-376-2638 or thecip.org.

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.