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D'yan Forest on stage playing her ukulele with a smile on her face.
Photograph: By Christine Coquilleau Naït Sidna | D'yan Forest playing her ukulele.

20 ukulele virtuosos will strum Dolly Parton covers at this quirky Brooklyn event

The dress code for the night: sparkles, rhinestones, and country charm.

Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Written by
Rossilynne Skena Culgan

Don your sequins and tease your hair for an evening in a Smoky Mountain fairytale. Twenty ukulele virtuosos will strum their hearts out as they cover Dolly Parton's timeless tunes for Night of 1,000 Dollys. 

The event on Saturday, April 20, will transform Brooklyn’s Gowanus Dredgers Boathouse into a slice of Dollywood. It’s free to attend (RSVP here), but donations are welcome to support the Dredgers' mission of increasing waterfront access and education about shoreline neighborhoods.

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Hosted by Ukulele Cabaret, the event is part of the The Creekers Jamboree series. For more than a decade, Ukulele Cabaret has provided a stage for musicians, artists, and performers from New York's underground ukulele scene. Despite their many performances over the years, this is the group's first Dolly-themed cabaret.  

Several people on stage playing ukulele.
Photograph: Courtesy of Ukulele Cabaret

Musicians include Amie Amis, Angus Loten, Claudia Goddard, Dana McCoy, The Dry Runs, D’yan Forest, J Walter Hawkes, Jamie Scandal, Katie Down, Les Chauds Lapins, Lloyd United, Makalina, Pete Sturman, Rush Kress, The Shiny Squares/Les carrés brillants and Ukelinda. Sonic Uke will serve as host for the evening. 

Comedienne D'yan Forest is among the performers; she's the oldest working female comedian in the world, and she's known to incorporate ukulele into her raunchy yet adorable comedy act. At the April 20 event, she'll bust out her rendition of "Hello Dolly," along with some side-splitting comedy. 

"All the ukulele players that belong to this group will be performing together for the first time this year. A lot are old friends, and I get to try out a song that I've played for years on the piano 'Hello Dolly,' but now will perform it on my beloved ukulele," Forest says. "It's a new adventure for me, and I get to reconnect with old friends in the ukulele world."

Three people on stage in golden outfits playing ukulele.
Photograph: Courtesy of Ukulele Cabaret

Throughout the years, Ukulele Cabaret has popped up in different venues across the city, from Julius to Jimmy's 43 to The Zipper Factory. Ted Gottfried and Jason Tagg of Sonic Uke started the cabaret in May 2005. Now they have taken up residence at the Gowanus Dredgers Boathouse by the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn (165 2nd Street). Beer and wine will be available by donation at the event to support the  Dredgers' mission.

"Gowanus is a special place, and the Dredgers are really committed to supporting community and culture along the Gowanus, as part of our advocacy for a cleaner, more accessible canal," Celeste LeCompte, Gowanus Dredgers Board Member, said in a statement. "The Creekers Jamboree has been an important anchor of our efforts and has helped a lot of people find the fun in Superfund." 

Event attendees are encouraged to dress up in Dolly-inspired outfits with sparkles, rhinestones, and country charm.

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