The roaring '20s
Noor turns to the Prohibition Era for fun with ‘The It Factor’ dinner and cabaret show
By Carl Kozlowski 11/23/2011
The 1920s were exciting, dangerous times filled with post-war bootleggers, gangsters and gun molls, political scandals, swinging new sounds, secret speakeasies, “wild” dance crazes and, ultimately, calamity. On Black Tuesday, Oct. 29, 1929, the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began.
Sound familiar? Any connection with current times notwithstanding, the owners of Noor restaurant in Pasadena are hoping people find that period in American history interesting enough to attend the award-winning facility’s latest attraction, “The ‘It’ Factor” dinner and cabaret show Wednesday nights through Dec. 21.
This is the latest in a string of hot ideas conceived by Noor General Manager Robert Shahnazarian, who previously spent 15 years as a music producer for Sony, working with the likes of John Legend and Kelly Clarkson. Shahnazarian and Noor recently hosted long-running local favorite Sheila E and the Escovedo Family at a benefit for Pasadena’s Union Station Homeless Services. He also brought local big band Martini Kings to the club’s stage for last year’s New Year’s Eve festivities.
Shahnazarian’s biggest prior enterprise at Noor was its popular “Remembering Ray Charles” tribute show last year, which featured an 18-piece band playing the late legend’s biggest hits.
“The ‘It’ Factor,” says Shahnazarian, “is directed, choreographed and acted. They approached me about three months ago about doing a cabaret/burlesque show at Noor. I was looking into a dinner/murder mystery thing. The mysteries [producers] wanted Fridays or Saturdays, but those are big private event nights [for the restaurant], so I told them pick a Wednesday and said put it together.”
That creative leeway has resulted in a show featuring a three-course dinner with a play, live music and waitresses dressed like flappers. The retro-1920s vibe the show creates matches the feel of the Noor ballroom. The show is broken into three 15-minute acts with intermissions, totaling 75 minutes before deejays take the stage.
While Shahnazarian hopes that “The ‘It’ Factor” will prove popular enough to extend beyond next month, he’s also
ready to reinvent his club’s New Year’s Eve experience.
“The whole Rose Parade goes right past our main ballroom,” says Shahnazarian. “Our New Year’s brunch will be $100, so you can sit out in the cold for $75 or throw in another $25 for brunch indoors. I think that’s a reasonable deal.” n
Noor presents “The ‘It’ Factor” dinner-cabaret show at 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Dec. 21 at 260 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. Admission is $55. Call (626) 793-4518 or visit noorevents.com.