About us

Once upon a time, a group of musicians awoke to discover they had been left all alone.  Not to let fate rule with a ragged and ugly fist, these musical orphans began to create.  It was unlike anything they had done before; it had a certain "flair pour la fantaisie" that sounded reminicent of the cabarets and soirees they had all attended in countless lives past. 

Recognizing the unique gift that had been presented, these musicians set their wild imaginations free and, inhaling deeply of the anise scented breeze that danced around them, they were transported through time after time.

Thus, Orphans Cabaret was born!

Orphans Cabaret photo by Robert Hirschi


Orphans Cabaret began in two Adirondack chairs on a wooden deck in the Uintah Mountains one July evening in 2015 when Brian and Leisl Bonell found themselves sitting in the mountain breeze, writing songs filled with vocal harmonies, counter melodies, and wonderfully quirky lyrics that told deliciously odd tales of fantasy, love, betrayal, mayhem, and anarchy, all with a giggle at reality. By the end of autumn, they had assembled an equally delicious and quirky group of incredibly talented musicians to bring these songs to life. Orphans Cabaret members are: Leisl Bonell – lead vocals; Brian Bonell – guitars, vocals; Heather Gardner – banjo, vocals; Nicholas Newberry – accordion; Philip Miller – saxophones, harmonica; Bryan Bale – bass guitar, vocals; Bob Smith – drums, percussion.

Come join our adventure and experience the Orphans Cabaret.

The Music

  Pre-order Deliciously Odd Tales by clicking


Orphans Cabaret - Deliciously Odd Tales


Pre-Order our CD Now

Orphans Cabaret - Deliciously Odd Tales

Inspired by dark punk cabaret acts The Dresden Dolls and Birdeatsbaby, the morose beauty of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and the ever-amazing Tom Waits, Orphans Cabaret is an eclectic band with an eclectic sound that blends genres that travel through Gypsy jazz to alt-rock to prog-tinged theatrics to cowpunk to ... well, they get around a bit. Orphans Cabaret are the black sheep in the family. They are the freaks who come out at night. They are the little touch of madness in everyone.

Produced by Brian and Leisl Bonell, the recording of “Deliciously Odd Tales” began in December 2017 at Man vs Music in Salt Lake City, Utah where it was engineered, mixed, and mastered by Michael Sasich. It contains 12 original songs. Guest performers on the album are: Allison Martin (keyboards on “Wardria Edwina”), Dave Bowen (upright bass on “Daybreak”), Sam Osimitz (violin on “I Don’t Need You Anymore”), Mike Sasich (electric guitar on “Under a Dark Moon”), Byron Owens (musical saw on “Down Where the Water”), Adam Bean (trombone, trumpet on “Little Match Girl”), and Greg Shaw (vocal shouts on “Tear Down the Wall”).


The CD release party for Orphans Cabaret’s “Deliciously Odd Tales” will be held at Shades Brewing Tap Room (154 W. Utopia, Salt Lake City) on Saturday, May 18. Located in an abandoned meat packing plant, Shades Brewing brings to mind the Speakeasies of yesteryear. Enter the building on the south side, through the red door, then follow the signs directing you to the Tap Room where the fun begins. With a large selection of handcrafted beers brewed in-house on tap and an incredible underground ambience, the venue promises as much excitement as the event itself.

Tickets are $10. ($20 for admission PLUS a CD!)

Space is Limited. Purchase tickets for the show
at the door or online by clicking here
click here to purchase tickets to the CD release party


the Players

Orphans Cabaret is the slightly demented and drunk-happy home for wonderfully tetched musicians.

Brian Bonell

bRIAN bonelli

Vocals, Guitars

 Brian loves the ryhthms of the world and lets his right hand speak for him... unless, of course, he is singing, then his mouth takes the stage. This sometimes leads to trouble being as how he really has little control over this instrument and sometimes, just sometimes, things pop out of it that lead to frivolity, and then lots of troubled and pained explanation.

Leisl Bonell

leisl aetna bonelli


Who doesn't like the smell of basil and fresh pasta? Leisl surely knows her bit and she is the master. Just taste her lasagne whilst listening to the magical stories she weaves with her melodies and you will be transformed to places of wonder and beauty. Just mention the word 'Italy' then sit back and prepare yourself for the ride of a lifetime whilst Leisl takes you on a magical journey filled with the descriptions of sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of her mis-spent youth.

Heather Garden

heather garden

Vocals, Banjo

Flying through the air with the greatest of ease, flying so sweetly on a simple silken string, Heather loves to weave a delicate melody though the dangerous flora of the mountain desert armed only with a backwater banjo and a sweet sense of being and a bad ass pair of heels. Heather always has something to suprise and delight hidden up her sleeve, or lack of sleeve as is mostly the case.You simply must attend an Orphans Cabaret show to witness her performance to fully understand, then you will hang on her every expression as you are wrapped in her web of mystrey and song.

Nicholas Newberry

nicholas newberry

Accordion, Backing Vocals

There is a horse hair wallet sitting on the sunbleached bench next to a worn out burro pulling a cart of dusty boxes. Nicholas sits next to the exhausted animal, watching and waiting, remembering his sordid past as a lonely pick-pocket in the dangerous back-alley streets of Peoa, Utah. Upon sentencing, the judge ordered Nicholas, as penance for his crimes, to spend his lifetime traveling the hot, dusty streets of nowhere USA, playing the accordion everytime people might gather. Mark my words; you will be entranced by his magical artistry on the Devil's own instrument.

Phillip Miller

 pHILIP miller

All the saxes, and harps in odd keys

 Philip began his career as a stunt double for Jerry Garcia in the early days of film and music. One particular Saturday morning, as he was gathering a supply of donuts, fruit pies and slushies for his mentor from a corner 7-Eleven in North Hollywood, he was shocked to see Elvis working behind the counter. The sun glinted off the clerk's greased hair and angels could be heard singing as Philip thought, "This isn't Vegas," but he listened to the sage Elvis' advice which encouraged him to stop his evil stunt doubling ways, put down the guitar, and start a life anew in the world of saxophones and harps.

Bryan Bale

bryan bale

Bass, Vocals, Hand Percussion

Whilst navigating the Nile river from its source in Ethiopia to where it pours into the Mediterranean near Alexandria, Bryan mastered the 9 mantras of early Egyptian percussion lore, not satified with this accomplisment, he learned 32 of our world's languages fluently, and picked up on the intracies of Newtonian physics - including mastering the argument of why, while cumbersome, Newton's calculus was superior to Leibniz's - all by the age of 8 years. After reaching the 10th level of Buddhist ascendance while meditating for 3 months in the Bavarian highlands and learning to prepare a mean quiche, Mr. Bale decided his calling was to sing and play bass. This was what lent his soul peace.

Bob Smith

bob smith


Bob spent somewhere between 40 and 187 days "fasting" and "meditating" with Carlos Castaneda in Death Valley in the early 1980's. Coming out of the desert after this intense vision quest, Bob realized that he had actually only been gone for the afternoon and was really in Zzyzx looking for the mineral baths. His traveling companion wasn't really Carlos Castaneda, either, but was, in fact, the notorious Wicca Man who had shown Bob the mysteries of sound, the mysteries of hitting something metal with something else metal, and that this sound was good. Bob meditates with the Orphans Cabaret often, and Wicca Man is always by his side as the wonder that is percussion explodes around him.

Byron Owens

byron owens

Musical Saw

Byron: guru, poet, healer, gentleman, mystic, and timeless traveler. A leprechaun by trade, he had always dreamed of leaving the Emerald Isle of his mystical birth to travel the world and find a Hawaiian beach to call his own where he could sit in the sunset and play music as the waves crashed on the shore. After a particularly intense night of single malt whisky, Byron booked passage on the vessel that would take him to his dreams. Instead of waking to the Birds of Paradise and sweet magnolias of his dream island, he awoke to the not-so-sweet scent of brine flies and industrial smoke stacks. To know this leprechaun is to love him, and his misfortune was our great fortune when the Orphans Cabaret found his hungover body floating in the flotsam of the Great Salt Lake with all of his musical toys.


We play shows...

...you should come to one or two or three!!

Orphans Cabaret: Recommendations.

Come to the orphans cabaret to fall in love....  these are the things that trip our nasty little triggers.


Café on Main in SLC, is a very cozy Balkan styled resturant. The atmosphere is very European with conversations in many different languages happening all around.


Tammi Rose is wonderfully eclectic artist influenced by bad dreams, clouds, and shapes she finds in floor tiles.


Amanda Palmer, sometimes known as Amanda Fucking Palmer, is an American singer, songwriter, musician, author, and performance artist. She currently performs as a solo artist.


“Pauline Gedge’s uncommonly splendid gift for storytelling is again supreme… She gives us the daily life and landscapes of Celtic Britain with an almost psychic immediacy.” – Toronto Star

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Come and see us!

Please stop by and say hello at any of our shows.  Send us a note and let us know how we can get a hold of you and let you know when we are playing. Stay in touch on social media to know more about our special events.

Orphans Cabaret

Salt Lake City, Utah