Requiem for the Geist Cabaret

September 24, 2018

As patrons of Pranzo Italian Grill and the Geist Cabaret for many years, we were disheartened to hear about the closing (“Pranzo set to close soon, move,” Sept. 11).

David Geist created a musical venue from nothing, which he developed over time for people and artists to gather and share their talents. How fortunate Santa Fe has been to have a musician who played piano on Broadway for the productions of Cats, Lion King, Les Miserables and Wicked for 20 years. David also has conducted orchestras on and off Broadway, as well as working with composers such as Stephen Sondheim and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, performing with Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford.

As longtime residents of Santa Fe, we were appalled that a beautiful space such as the Geist Cabaret will be destroyed. There is no other small, intimate dinner club in Santa Fe.

David Geist knew everyone’s name and welcomed people as they walked in. Such a rarity these days! It was Santa Fe’s version of Cheers. Every night, David invited singers and musicians to share their talents. The magic encompassed all ages and abilities. There isn’t another establishment in Santa Fe where this was a regular occurrence. Friends looked forward to friends cheering them on as they took the stage. Professional singer and native Julie Trujillo was a regular performer at this wonderful cabaret. Her exuberance, lovely voice and chemistry with David made these evenings a joy.

Although we firmly believe in children’s education in the arts, the school and Pranzo could have formed a synergy that would have worked for both.

The young adults at the school who are studying piano or voice could have done recitals in the cabaret. In addition, David could have provided life and artistic lessons. To have this invaluable opportunity, as well as to have a chance to perform publicly while in school, could have been of enormous benefit.

Because of the actions of people who could not figure out how to share this wonderful space, not only are 37 people out of work, a beautiful cabaret that was so loved will be gone. An elderly gentleman named Dr. Foulke went to every one of David’s performances for 12 years. It was like a second home to him.

My husband and I were at the last two performances, and the love and sadness in the room was palpable.

The Geist Cabaret was part of the heart and soul of Santa Fe’s vibrant music scene. Now, sadly, the Geist Cabaret is gone.

Nancy and David Brown are longtime residents of Santa Fe. Nancy worked in Santa Fe Public Schools for many years, and David owned his own musical production company.

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