Photo by Charr CrailCosmopolitan Cabaret’s Triple Espresso is one shot of musical comedy, one shot of slapstick antics, one shot of audience participation—and is hilarious on all accounts.  The vaudeville-style show is centered on the reunion of the semi-successful, but ultimately failed, trio act of “Maxwell, Butternut, and Bean.” With the help of the audience (no one is safe from the spotlight here), the three performers recount their downward crawl to fame using magic tricks, “nude” dancing, sing-alongs, and the most impressive shadow puppetry you’ll see this side of kindergarten.

Hugh Butternut (Michael Pearce Donley) is the act’s piano man, Bobby Bean (Bob Stromberg) the loveable idiot, and Buzz Maxwell (Bill Arnold) is the comic magician with a not-so-sleight of hand. Together, they are the funniest unintentionally funny act the world has ever seen.

Photo by Charr Crail.Photo by Charr Crail.Perhaps the most unique feature of Triple Espresso is that it has been acted and performed by its authors for the majority of the show’s 14-year run. Through June 10, audiences will see original cast members Arnold, Donley, and Stromberg perform the roles they created to showcase their unique talents. And beginning June 12, Christopher Hart, Paul Somers, and Brian Kelly— all handpicked and talented in their own right—will adeptly take on the roles of Maxwell, Butternut, and Bean.

Triple Espresso is a high-energy show that appeals to audiences both young and old—there is truly something for everyone. As a character says in the show, “There is music, there is pain—it’s bright.”

Triple Espresso is playing at the Cosmopolitan Cabaret for a limited engagement through July 22. Tickets are available through the Wells Fargo Pavilion Box Office at 1419 H Street, by calling (916) 557-1999, or online at And don’t miss I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change at Cosmopolitan Cabaret, opening September 28!


Written by Guest Writer Allison Baker


Photographs by Charr Crail, courtesy of California Musical Theatre


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