Little Room Jazz Club will welcome Lillian Baxter

John Vessels is Lillian Baxter, who appears in the Fringe Theater production of “A FABULOUS Evening with Lillian Baxter”, at the Little Room Jazz Club. COURTESY PHOTO

The Fringe Theater announces Lillian Baxter’s return to the Little Room Jazz Club, June 1-4, in the all-new ‘A FABULOUS Evening with Lillian Baxter,’ featuring John Vessels and Jay Schwandt. Musical theater meets cabaret when these two guys present their one woman show.

“Our Key West audience fell in love with Lillian when we first introduced her in 2016,” Fringe Artistic Director Rebecca Tomlinson said. “I think it was a combination of his stunning voice and his upbeat approach to life’s little quirks. So we keep asking John and Jay to write new shows for us so we can keep bringing her back!

This year’s show is a musical Pride Parade featuring show tunes, gay anthems and disco.

So who is this Lillian Baxter?

Lillian is a fictional character created by actor and writer John Vessels. “She was almost huge in the 1960s. Her voice took places that her appearance, perhaps, couldn’t,” Vessels said.

He clarified something: “Lillian is not a flirt, beyond the obvious fact that I wear a dress or two. Lillian is a fully realized human being living in a comedy format.

“Lillian never gives up,” said Jay Schwandt, the show’s pianist and musical arranger. “She may mope, but she always gets up and goes on!”

Vessels and Schwandt came to theater through music.

Schwandt’s degrees are in music composition and Vessels’ degree is in opera. On the rare occasions when Vessels does not perform professionally, he teaches voice and acting in Indianapolis, and Schwandt is an associate professor of musical theater at Ball State University.

“A FABULOUS Evening with Lillian Baxter” runs from 7:00 p.m. June 1-4 at the Little Room Jazz Club, 821 Duval St. Doors open nightly at 6:00 p.m., so guests can dine from the menu and bar full of the Little Room. Little Room’s regular musical entertainment is at 9 p.m.

Tickets are $35 general admission and $50 reserved seating and are available online at or by calling 305-731-0581. As places are limited, advance purchase of tickets is encouraged.

Fringe Theater is Key West’s community-driven theater. Fringe is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with an outreach and education program.

For more information about Fringe, contact [email protected] ¦

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