By Ginny Bowman
ROCHESTER — The White River Valley Players of Rochester, Vt. took audiences on a Caribbean cruise this past wintery weekend with “My Post-Traumatic Cruise Ship Cabaret.” This amazing, fun, and hilarious New York-bound original musical is co-written by Middlebury playwright Dana Yeaton and his daughter, New York actress and playwright, Vanessa Dunleavy. Dunleavy, in the starring role of Viv, the cruise ship’s late night cabaret performer, interacted with the audience comfortably, never missing a beat. Vanessa’s voice and charisma were exceptional as she moved, danced, and maneuvered her way through the show. She sang a full range of styles with finesse—from rock and blues to harmonic folk-like styles. The accompanying music was performed on stage alongside Dunleavy by Vermont’s popular three-man band The Grift, performing as the Fleeing Boroshenko Brothers. The musicians were responsible for writing the music along with Yeaton and Dunleavy and performed non-stop, with a diverse selection of styles. The Grift features Clint Bierman, the show’s music director, on guitar, piano, ukulele, vocals; Peter Day on bass, vocals; and Jeff Vallone on drums. Although the band never spoke a word, its presence on stage maintained a hilarious, nonverbal humor. Yeaton’s lyrics were poignant and funny, keeping the audience tearful, laughing, and singing along. Everyone who saw this amazing performance will wish this talented crew well in their endeavor to take it to NYC.