The year 2020 will be remembered as a difficult one for many, but for Marshall Lee Smith Junior, it has also served as a time of inspiration — moved by difficulties and loss related to COVID-19 and the isolation and pain many experienced during 2020, Smith has created a musical theater cabaret called “Desamor,” a testament to perseverance and resilience in times of immense difficulty.

Meaning “heartbreak” in Spanish, “Desamor” is a celebratory and reflective cabaret, comedic at times and dramatic at others, and will be presented July 9-11 and 16-18 at the Eagle Theatre in Sugar Hill in partnership with the Players Guild at Sugar Hill.

“Essentially, this cabaret is about the stories of different characters from musicals that have either overcome or had different dealings with heartbreak or devastation,” Smith said.

“Desamor” is Smith’s first time working with the Players Guild and the Eagle Theatre. He was approached in March by a member of the guild who wanted to see a musical presented at the Eagle for the first time. “The Sound of Music” had been scheduled to make that debut, but the show was canceled due to COVID-19.  

“Desamor” features performances of songs like “Magic to Do” from the show “Pippin,” “No One Else” from “The Great Comet,” which appeared recently on Broadway, and “Take Me Back” from the musical “Dogfight.”

“Those specifically talk directly about reflection and resiliency,” Smith said of the songs. “You’ll be able to see the characters go through unique experiences that we have found resonating with some of the cast members.”

With a cast of 16 and a crew of seven, this is the largest production the Eagle has presented thus far for adults. Smith said audiences can be prepared for something a little different, a non-traditional theater experience that will show members of the audience they are not alone in the difficulties they have faced in a year of challenges and, for many, a year of heartbreak.

“I knew that I wanted to have this (performance) show that on stage, honor that on stage and also show how we can unify and come together and help each other through,” Smith said. “Bring tissues.”

If you go

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Deanna Allen has served as editor of the North Gwinnett Voice since June 2021. Effective communication and creative design are her passions.

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