Senior Interviews: Three Lovely Ladies

Over the next few days (weeks?), Inside Cabaret will be posting interviews with the graduating Cabbie class of 2012. We’ve put together a wonderful insightful exit interview of sorts–appropriately named the Cabaret Cuestionnaire (sic)–that gives us access into the personalities and experiences of these wonderful people.

We start today with three of the lovely ladies who recently graced the stage in Spring Awakening: Lauren, Francesca, and Meg.

And this isn’t a ladies-first type of thing. Rather, we tried to group the interviews in a recognizable, sensible manner, and because Spring Awakening was stacked with awesome seniors, it just so happened that our first category featured 3 girls. Don’t judge. We’re equal opportunity/equal access here at Inside Cabaret!

Before we paint ourselves into an ever smaller corner, here’s the first ever Cabaret Cuestionnaire!!!


Lauren last appeared as Wendla in Spring Awakening. She’s a wonderfully dedicated individual, and her passion for the arts is only matched by her compassion for others. She also once said that Midnight shows are a bad idea because a) people should be asleep at midnight and b) people don’t sing at midnight.

She is also, apparently, the girl from The Ring. So watch out!

– Past Cabaret Credits/Roles/Jobs/Positions:

Back-to-School Revue, Godspell, Director’s Scenes, Spring Awakening

– Where are you from? Where would you like to live in the future?

I’m from Totowa, NJ. I would like to live near the sea.

– Favorite Culinary Establishment in the New Brunswick Area?

The Thai food place on easton.

– Same-color or Mix-match socks?


– On what TV show would you like to guest star in a 3-episode mini-arc?


– Who do you most want to punch in the eye?

Kim Kardashian

– What’s your degree supposed to be in?

American Studies and English

– What was your least favorite class at Rutgers?

I had Shakespeare with a terrible teacher. it was so sad.

Lauren "acting" gothic in Godspell.

– What did you want to be when you were growing up?


– What are you probably going to be when you grow up?

Creative Individual

– What would you like to be when you grow up?


– Favorite Cabaret experience as a performer/prostaffer?

Being Wendla

– Favorite Cabaret experience as an audience member?

Watching “He Lives in You” at one of the revues. It gave me chills. I think that same revue they did a HAIR medley. it was excellent.

"He Lives In You."

– If you could change one thing about Cabaret, what would it be?


– How has Cabaret changed in your time there?

People are more focused I find.

– Budget & talent pool aside, what show would you most like to see Cabaret do in the future?


[Editor’s Note: META]

– What makes Cabaret special?

The space is extremely intimate.

– What has the college (theatre) experience taught you about yourself?

I have to have patience and focus with every project I am apart of.



Francesca made her Cabaret debut in Spring Awakening as the adorably innocent Anna. She also designed the set, which included tree branches, a chandelier that was totally vintage, and rose petals. Said rose petals ultimately rained down from the ceiling. Like a Boss. She’s also one of the most creative people we know. And adorable.

Francesca can also be a blonde, as evidenced in this noiresque shot from uptown rival LTC's production of The Wild Party.

– Where are you from? Where would you like to live in the future?

I’m from West Chester, Pennsylvania and I have a lot of places I want to live–Rome, New York City, Canada, Antarctica etc… but I’ll probably end up living somewhere in the New York area.

– Favorite Culinary Establishment in the New Brunswick Area?

Somerset Diner. Coconut pancakes and Belgian waffles with ice cream.

– Same-color or Mix-match socks?

Mix-match. Ask anyone what my room looks like–I wouldn’t be able to find matching socks if I tried.

– On what TV show would you like to guest star in a 3-episode mini-arc?

Law and Order SVU–but only if I get to be partners with detective Lake and my arc ends in arrest.

– Who do you most want to punch in the eye?

Rick Santorum.

He was much cooler in college. Look at that manbeard!

– What’s your degree supposed to be in?

Visual Arts (concentration: painting) and English (concentration: creative writing).

– What was your least favorite class at Rutgers?

Artmaking. It was awful.

– What did you want to be when you were growing up?

A veterinarian, then a teacher, then a writer and illustrator of children’s books, then just a writer, then an artist and a writer…

– What are you probably going to be when you grow up?

I’ll probably teach some kind of art somewhere (hopefully at the college level), show in galleries, and write when I can.

– What would you like to be when you grow up?

A super famous artist and winner of the nobel prize for literature or something like that.

Francesca taking artistic pictures in the Cabaret basement. "Life is like pickle."

– Favorite Cabaret experience as a performer/prostaffer?

Spring Awakening since it was my only experience

– Favorite Cabaret experience as an audience member?

Godspell hands down. That was incredible–I cried like a baby and had some sort of spiritual awakening. Good job, guys.

– If you could change one thing about Cabaret, what would it be?

The temperature. And the budget.

– How has Cabaret changed in your time there?

Well, we’ve played around with the space a lot this year–the alleyway stage seems to be the new trend and I think it works for Cabaret.

– Budget & talent pool aside, what show would you most like to see Cabaret do in the future?

Hmm… that’s tough. I want to see some Beckett… or some Ionesco.

"Acting" with fellow seniors Lauren (see above) and Amanda.

– What makes Cabaret special?

The intimacy of the space and passion of the people involved. No one lacking passion would willing work in a ninety degree theater with no backstage and a creepy basement. There’s definitely something special about this particular black box and how it comes alive during a performance. As a member of LTC, I always wanted to do a show at Cabaret, and I’m glad to say it didn’t disappoint.

– What has the college (theatre) experience taught you about yourself?

That the very best people in the world are the ones you find in theaters (something I always suspected, but now I know for sure)… and that I can’t live without performing.


Meg Gillan is an all-around bad@$$. Really. She is the music director at WRSU Rutgers Radio, which automatically makes her 13% cooler than most people you know. She’s also hipper than an geriatric ward on “Happy Days Night.”

Meg "acting" ("making eyes?") with Francesca.

– Past Cabaret Credits/Roles/Jobs/Positions

Spring Awakening (Thea), Back to School Revue: Parte Deux (Really really talented and good looking actor)

– Where are you from? Where would you like to live in the future?

I am from the great mountains of New Jersey, a big town called West Milford. Ultimately I would like to live in the Village, like a true hipster.

– Favorite Culinary Establishment in the New Brunswick Area?

Clydz is the best place for a fancy, sexy dinner. If we are talking about more of a casual night with amazing people, go to Harvest Moon.

– Same-color or Mix-match socks?


– On what TV show would you like to guest star in a 3-episode mini-arc?

Saturday Night Live or the Big Bang Theory

– Who do you most want to punch in the eye?


– What’s your degree supposed to be in?

My degree is in Journalism and Media Studies.

– What was your least favorite class at Rutgers?

Intro to Communication is stupid.

– What did you want to be when you were growing up?

A Rockette


– What are you probably going to be when you grow up?

A technical operator for a television network

– What would you like to be when you grow up?

Director of Late Night with Conan O’Brien and SNL

– Favorite Cabaret experience as a performer/prostaffer?

The Somerset Diner with the cast of Spring Awakening and the Rutgers Lacrosse team

[Editor’s Note: Not only did this happen IRL, but it will also be the main plot for an upcoming episode of GLEE]

– Favorite Cabaret experience as an audience member?

Amanda and Dave’s scene right after Stella takes Stanley back in A Streetcar Named Desire:


– If you could change one thing about Cabaret, what would it be?

The bathroom situation

– Budget & talent pool aside, what show would you most like to see Cabaret do in the future?

Chicago, always Chicago

– What makes Cabaret special?

The people

Meg with "people" and fellow seniors, Galadriel and Nick.

– What has the college (theatre) experience taught you about yourself?

…that we are all a little freaky inside


Keep checking Inside Cabaret for more quirky, non-serious, uber-serious, and moderately-serious responses to the Cabaret Cuestionnaire!

Stay tuned!


A Letter To The Class of 2012

We here at Inside Cabaret look forward to our post-show afterglow. Though we’ve only worked through three productions at Cabaret so far, we have consistently and without fail taken an entire week off to rest our weary fingers after closing night of Spring Awakening. Blogging is hard. Especially when you use the same jokes over and over again.

Chocolate Kitty. So February 2012.

But our rest week has passed, and something happened tonight that kick-started my desire to get writing: The Cabaret Ball. Each year, Cabaret poops away all of its leftover cash (and by “poops,” I mean scrounges around for nickles and dimes in the cracks between the floorboards to buy streamers and kazoos) to throw together a wonderful little shindig that involves dancing, Rutgers catering, and the traditional Cabbie awards. I won’t go into who won what and who danced to Ke$ha the hardest and what brand of soft drink was served (click here for a hint!), but I do want to take the time now to write a little something for a certain group of somebodies.

And I say “my” and “I” with the full intention of breaking the decorum we’ve established here at Inside Cabaret so far– I want to speak as myself here, and speak directly to the graduating group of incredible Cabbies.


Dearest Cabbie Class of 2012,

I admire each and every single one of you more than you will ever know.

Cabaret Theatre, as is predetermined by its very nature and mission, is always in need of something. Whether it’s physical (Please Dear God Fix the Darn Heaters) or artistic, Cabaret has a commitment to progress and to innovation that I have not seen anywhere else on this campus. There is always this need to be better, to push, to fix, to learn, to change. And that’s why I kept coming back; regardless of whatever other projects I chose to take part in, Cabaret was the place where I knew that I would become a better performer, a better leader, a better writer, director, producer, designer, a better member of the community. That’s what this is all about.

Cabaret is a community of creators committed to being better.

And to being adorbz.

And you–all of you super, fantastic, coolness, remarkable people–are the reason why this community works. It’s impossible to want to be better without a standard to serve as your benchmark. And you push each other and impress each other and challenge each other and support each other toward achieving that goal–that goal of progress, of innovation, and of something worthwhile.

I speak from experience here. 5 years ago, when I first auditioned for Cabaret, things were very, very different. This is not the place to go into detail, but I do want to say that what we have achieved in the last few years–a time of upswing and rebirth for Cabaret–has astounded me on a daily basis.

The problem with all of this praise and admiration for Cabaret as a theatre is that it is too easy to ignore the people that have made it such a fantastic place to cry, sweat, and bleed.

So I return to this idea that Cabaret has spent the last 4 years redefining and reestablishing itself as the premiere organization for innovative, creative theatre at Rutgers University. The only way that it could have accomplished this is if a group of students came together and decided that things needed to change, that this was how change will occur, and that we needed to do it together.

And this is the class that made that mission work. This is the class that is stacked to the gills with talent on every side of the curtain, from every major, and from every walk of life. This is the class that, with each and every production, inspired others to work harder, audience members to come back, and producers to say “Let’s go bigger next time.” This is the class that dominated productions of A New Brain, Godspell, The Back-to-School Revue: Parte Deux and R3vu3, A Streetcar Named Desire, I Love You Because, Cloud 9, Spelling Bee, Twelve Angry Men, Elegies, and Spring Awakening. Seriously. Check the cast and staff lists for all of those shows. This graduating class, by the numbers, has defined Cabaret’s public identity for the last 3 years. That’s nuts.

Progress. You, my dear ladies and gentlemen, have pushed Cabaret to evolve into more than just a black-box that is often mistaken for the Jameson Projects; you have turned it into a creative powerhouse, a venue for communal storytelling that is unmatched anywhere else on this campus. You did that, and I am impressed each and every time any of you takes the stage or directs or writes or designs or sells me a damn ticket.

I believe that you cannot truly operate in this world without another person to inspire you, to emulate, to admire, and to respect. The reason why this class is so damn good (and will be missed so damn much) is that they provide that valuable resource for every single member of the Cabaret community.

Whether it’s being astonished by John and Matt and Nicole’s wicked cool technical designs, or being blown away by Marc and Amanda’s ability to turn out FOUR mainstage productions in one season and be incredible in every single one, or admiring some wonderful artwork at the Scott Hall bus-stop designed by Hanna and posted by Allison, or jamming to the musical pre-show stylings of Mike Bond, or being slapped in the face by the immensely talented Meg and Alex and Lauren during Spring Awakening, or smiling gleefully at the adorable special-one-time-only-awesomeness of Francesca, or smiling equally gleefully when buying a ticket from the equally bada$$ Tobi, or weeping at the sound/sight of the angelic Nick, or listening to songstresses Galadriel and Ellie and feeling your heart figuratively fall out of your chest, or figuratively dying from laughter as Jaclyn and Jenna display their damn fine… tuned comedic timing, or being schooled in acting by the uber talented Boris and Sabrina, or sitting in awestruck wonder of the awesomeness of someone as awesome as James C. Phillips III, I can honestly say that this graduating class has consistently inspired audiences and colleagues alike to think bigger, work harder, and, again, to be better.

To other members, like Corey and Sarah and Heather and Gwen and Erik, who were busy being awesome in their own right elsewhere this past year and were sorely missed; you are still part of this larger project, this continuity of excellence that helped define Cabaret’s progress over the last few years, and I extend my thanks to you as well.

There are so many people that have come and gone over the years, and I apologize a million times over if I didn’t write a witty one-liner for you, but know that your influence is felt each and every single day, and if I had all the time in the world, I would write each of you a sonnet expressing my gratitude for your time and effort.

 I extend the utmost appreciation to Katie and Farnaz, whose leadership and forward thinking has helped unite this entire class behind that mission. Which is really hard to do considering actors have huge… personal aspirations… But it was your professionalism and care that helped bring everyone together and push them to some crazy s**t.

And, finally, there is one person who shares my old-timey knowledge of where Cabaret has come from. Mr. Danny Cassidy has consistently been the creative heart and soul of Cabaret through his service as artistic director between 2009 and 2011, his commitment to new and exciting workshops for directing, playwriting, and textual analysis, and his Beckett-ian admiration for waving cigarettes around while making absurd and/or odd remarks about everything.

Samuel Beckett? Or Danny Cassidy? Only the Shadow knows!

So thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I cannot ever say it enough. A few of us once had the idea that Cabaret could be better, and with your tireless dedication, perseverance, creativity, and blood, it has become the best place in the world. A home. A community. A place where anything and everything can happen.

I hope that Cabaret has been a wonderful place where you could learn and work and grow and live. I hope that you take the lessons that you learned here, whether practical or spiritual, and you carry them on as you stumble along. I hope that you keep in touch, or at least check in every once in a while to see how you can support or learn or laugh with one another.

And I hope that this system continues into the future. While this is a letter to the graduating Cabbies, I would like to also remind those rising seniors and everyone down to interested first-years, that Cabaret is not one person; Cabaret is every one of you. You are all vital, you are all creative, you are all responsible for its future. Please remember this, and be as welcoming, as tenacious, as creative, and as passionate as these graduating Cabbies were and are.

Thank you all. I cannot say it enough. You have all redefined what Cabaret means, and you have all defined what Cabaret will be in the future.

Best of luck, and be excellent to each other.

From New Brunswick with love,



So that’s that.Inside Cabaret will continue to give the graduating Cabbies the appreciation and recognition they deserve in the next few weeks leading up to graduation, through various interviews and questionnaires.

Be well, true believers, and stay tuned!

Photos, as always, via the fantabulous Rich Kowalski.

And for old time’s sake:


Spring Awakening – The Girls

After that wonderful interview with the Boys of Spring Awakening, are you ready for some more gender segregated hard-hitting journalism fromInside Cabaret?

Too bad, you're getting it anyway.

Inside Cabaret:  Who is your Favorite President of the United States of America?

Nick: franklin pierce

Jenna: Taft OF COURSE

Will: Gotta go with family: JFK. And he got with Marilyn Monroe.

Alex: Anyone who’s not Bush. Well, Daddy Bush was alright.

Jordon: Lincoln

Tyler: Richard Nixon

Amanda: Lincoln

Francesca: Kennedy

Lauren: Alexander Hamilton & Ben Franklin are my favorite people. I know they’re not presidents, but they should have been.

Marc: James Polk.

Meg: TAFT, it’s gotta be Taft

Joey: Millard. Fillmore. Period.

President William Howard Taft riding a Carabao

Enough ridiculosity! Let’s get on with the interviews! Read on, fellow Cabbies, for a revealing expose with the lovely ladies ofSpring Awakening!!!


Inside Cabaret: According to popular (mis)conception, Spring Awakening is a boys show. Why are the girls such an integral part of the show?

Meg: I remember telling people that guys are much cooler, but the girls bring the truth of the time. We are the naïve ones, we are the ones that are preparing to have babies. The only thing we talk about is dreaming about boys. It’s stripped down to what we were allowed to think about. This is written by a man, so a lot of the girl’s points of views—there’s not a lot of depth. So I think for us, for our cast of girls, we make the female roles important. And rock and roll.

Amanda: The show is not only about sexuality, it’s about the discovery of others. It’s the reciprocity, the give and the take. You can’t do that with just one sex. It happens with a group. By the time it gets to “Song of Purple Summer,” you see how inclusive this show is. To say it’s a boy’s show is to say that it is sexually exclusive; that’s not what this show is about at all.

Alex: You can’t have a love story in this time period if girls aren’t involved. And that’s what makes some of the stories in the show so interesting. I think that the boys bring power to the show, but the girls ground it.

The girls. Adorbs.

IC: This is both your first and last show at Cabaret. What took you so long? And how has it been?

Francesca: I didn’t know about any theatre until Sophomore year. I tried out for two shows (Streetcar & How I learned 2 Drive) here and didn’t get in, but finally I got into Spring Awakening!

IC: And how has the process been?

Francesca: Amazing, I knew I’d love it here! I’ve talked to a lot of people about the Cabaret experience, and it just seemed like a cool place to work.

I love the space; I think it’s beautiful. It has a lot of potential. The people that work here are extremely passionate. The show’s are typically pretty good, too.

IC:  Amanda, what was the hardest part about this show for you? How did you overcome the challenge?

Amanda: Allowing myself to be very free. I almost had to…not necessarily dismiss what I’ve grown up with, but mature during the show. And that was hard because I had to make myself very vulnerable. I had to share myself with people.

Amanda "Mama" Padro letting go.

IC: Meg, speaking as the Music Director at WRSU, why is the music in Spring Awakening so effective?

Meg: I mean, think lyrically. It’s easy to relate to. Especially for our generation.

IC: Why is that?

Meg: Because of the issues at hand. There’s that teen angst in there. When we’re getting ready downstairs, I was like “We need to listen to Green Day.”

IC: What was playing downstairs?

Meg: What the f**k were they playing? Probably some Beyonce or some top 40 thing.

But over all it’s just beautiful. Also, when you hear that rock and roll guy is writing musical theatre music, I personally cringe. However, there are so many legit rock and roll moments in this score, but when it’s not rock and roll, it’s beautiful and genuine.

The girls rehearsing "Mama Who Bore Me." Meg Gillan adding a bit of Grunge flannel to the mix.

IC: Lauren, what’s your favorite moment in the play as an actor? As an audience member?

Lauren: As an actor: “Whispering.” The transition that happens. Wendla completes her journey in that song. So as an actor, I get to build that journey inside of the song. And craft it and layer it very carefully.

As an audience member: I love watching everything. I’m trying to think of something little, because there are so many great moments. This isn’t actually in the show; it’s offstage. Before “Totally F**ked,” Will is behind Jordon, ready to enter, and Will is rocking out headbanging with his huge hair, and only the audience on the one side can see him. It’s this hidden moment that only a few people see.

IC: Alex, you’re like a singer-songwriter IRL; how did you challenge the other components of your performance as Ilse?

Alex: I don’t coin myself as an actress at all. I’ve never felt confident at all in that regard, but I think that through BARE I learned to let go of everything, and I think that this show helped me extend that. I thought of every high as balls hippie that I’ve ever met.

IC: Have you met a lot of hippies?

Alex:Yes. My mom was a hippie at Rutgers in 1977. My first tour of Rutgers I went around with my mom who told me about the apartments she got high and where she did horrible things. And I had a lot of friends in high school who thought that being a hippie meant just getting “high.” So, if you count those kids, too…


IC: Jenna, how did you perfect your slapping skills?

Jenna: Lauren’s face looked more supple to me each night and I just got soooo angry. We also share a good cheek to hand ratio. It just fit.

IC: Why are the adult figures so vital to this show?

Jenna:  I was thinking that the other day. (Editor’s note: It’s a good thing I asked.) They’re a mixture between caricature and real, but yet they’re so different from the children. It’s important to have that perspective in the show, the other side of the question about puberty and maturity and growing up.

IC: You really triple threat it out in this show: dancing, singing, acting really hard. What have you learned about yourself as a performer?

Jenna: I’ve gotten a lot more confident in my physicality and dancing. I think this is really due to [choreographer] Sarah Lifson and Farnaz. I’ve never felt so comfortable dancing and in my own body as I have been in this show. I’ve never felt so empowered by it. With the right kind of atmosphere and coaching, I can dance if I want to.


So that’s it. The boys and girls of Spring Awakeninginterviewed by Inside Cabaret for your reading pleasure.

And for your viewing pleasure:

Spring Awakening – The Boys

Spring Awakening weekend #2 is upon is! Tonight, the cast endeavors to perform at 8 pmAND at midnight! That’s like 6 straight hours of dancing, singing, and acting really hard!

Meanwhile, Inside Cabaret sat down with the entire cast of Spring Awakening and asked some real hardball questions. Here’s a sample:

Inside Cabaret: What is your least favorite color?

Nick: Yellow

Jenna: Olive

Will: F**K… I like them all!

Alex: Brown

Jordon: Purple

Tyler: Orange

Amanda: Murky Yellow

Francesca: Orange

Lauren: I like all colors! Except pea green.

Marc: Sherbet. Orange Sherbet.


Joey: Salmon. Definitely Salmon. And green. I hate green.

The Boys.

Real heavy stuff, right? Just kidding. We here at Inside Cabaret have something called “journalistic integrity.” The actual interview with the cast will be split into two parts. The first part–an interview with the illustrious boy members of the cast–can be found below!


Inside Cabaret: What drew you to Spring Awakening? What experience with SA before, and how does this compare?

Will: It came out at a time when it really applied to my life. Not in any—not that I related to any of the events, but I did relate to the pressure of the world. That’s like the driving force between the show. This is like, the last stand, the final frontier before being thrust into the world. We’ve been trained to be graded for so long, and we’ll only be graded on what we do now.

Will Carey, pre-amber-waves-of-grain hairstyle. Circa 2009. Still Rock & Roll.

IC:You saw it on Broadway? How has doing the show compared?

Will: Yeah, I saw it sitting next to my mom. This show is so much more than what the original production was. The emotions are raw and easily accessible in any. We could do this outside and it’d be the perfect thing. We’re right there, in the audience’s face, telling them this story.

IC: Nick, you were doing BARE with the Livingston Theatre Company when the process started. How did you make the jump between shows?

Nick: It was very easy for me because of the people I was working with. The cast and the pro staff are full of people that I love—People that I’m already comfortable with. So I had no problems trying things out and jumping into the characters.

IC:I imagine part of that is because of director Farnaz Mansouri. You’ve worked with her before. How has this one compared?

Nick: Yeah, working with Farnaz was a big part of that. Especially the way she conveys her ideas; they’re very complete and full. And because it’s her second show, she’s knocked a lot of the kinds out. It’s been a great experience.

Nick Cartusciello acting.

IC: Marc, this is your 4th show with Cabaret this year. How is this one different?

Marc: Spring Awakening is so different in that it’s such a story – it has such a narrative. It’s the first show that I’ve done in which the large cast has to work together. Working with a legitimate ensemble, it’s such a different dynamic.

IC: How has the process been different?

Marc: This time, I definitely focused on creating a sense of style about how I did everything –singing, crafting, moving, dancing, emotional expression – this show was very stylized in that sense.


IC: How have you improved as a performer?

Marc: I’ve gotten worse and worse, because I’ve gotten more and more egotistical.

(::Laughs from the belly::)

No, I think that this season has allowed me to grow so much because of the variety in each show and each process. Each show has allowed me to take something and bring it to the next show. For example, for the Revue, I figured out how to work an audience, with Elegies, it was building a show from the ground up with a cast of actors, which played directly into HIL2D, which was more about crafting and physicality, which in turn plays into that style I was talking about before. Being aware of controlling all of those skills and facets was so different and so powerful. Was that confusing?

(Editor’s note: No.)

IC: Joey, Between directing two musicals and the managing director position in the past, you have done a lot of varied work at Cabaret Theatre. What is it like coming back to be an actor after having spent much of your undergraduate years working off stage?

Joey: It’s been exciting. The last time I performed on-stage in-role for Cabaret was Eurydice, which was September 2009. That’s like almost 3 years ago. I’ve spent most of my time telling people how to act and move, so coming back and trying to do it myself was a nice change of pace.

IC: Given your previous positions and the fact that you’re older than everyone else, do you see yourself as a mentor to the cast in any way?

Joey: First of all, I’m only one year older. The other day, Marc said I was the only person born in the 1980s in the cast, trying to make it seem like I was some dinosaur. I was born in ’89! In June! That’s like almost 1990!

Dramatic s**t.

Second of all, no, I don’t really see myself as a mentor, primarily because the members in this cast are so damn talented, regardless of age or number of shows. I had enough trouble doing the whole singing thing, so I looked to other cast members and prostaff members for help with that. Maybe they looked to me for acting or moving tips, but Farnaz and Co. did a great job of creating an environment in which we all mentored and supported each other, regardless of how old I might (not) be.

IC: Jordon, It’s your first show at Cabaret and at college. What’s in been like? How is it different from your past experiences?

Jordon: It’s been great! It’s different than high school because of the short time to do a show; instead of 3 months, you get 1 month. You’re told to do something, and you just have to work hard to get it done. In a lot of ways, it’s better.

IC: Why’s it better?

Jordon: Well, everyone has talent. Versus like in high school where a select few get showcased all the time. In college, you’re expected to come in knowing your s**t.

Chair Acting.

IC:What have you learned about yourself as a performer?

Jordon: About developing character. The whole show requires it. In high school, the shows are more airy and light-hearted. Here, it’s like “how can you contribute to this,” “what do you bring?” That was a great challenge for me.

IC: Finally, Tyler, why isSpring Awakeningso important and influential?

Tyler: Because it’s important to remember that no one is or can be perfect. And that the best we can be is honest.

IC: Why has this show been an important process for you?

Tyler: Because it requires constant vigilance of character.  As Hanschen, I’m constantly making sure he looks and appears perfect. I have to be on at all times; it’s really challenged me to become a better actor and performer.

Tyler and Nick being Rock Stars and stuff


So there you have it, True Believers! An interview with the dashing dudes of Spring Awakening! Stay tuned for an interview with the ladies regarding such hot topics as rock and roll, sexuality, stage combat, and curly hair!

Also, you may have noticed that a certain boy–or rather, MAN–was missing from the interviews. His name is Boris Van Der Ree. He plays the Adult Male roles in the show. And he bounced from yesterday’s brush-up rehearsal before Inside Cabaret could ask him any question. Alas, we’ll just have to settle for this lovely picture of him:


Meet the 2012-2013 Executive Board!

Hey Cabaret peeps!

With only one more weekend of Spring Awakening, and Cabaret’s Original Play Festival around the corner, there doesn’t seem to be a lot left of the school year!!


And so, its time for change. It’s time for revolution!

It is time for us all to decide who we are…


Do you hear it!?


Before I go off on another musical tangent, here is the new Executive Board for the upcoming season:


Meg King


Ain't she attractive?

Meghan is so unbelievably thrilled to be Producer for 2012-2013 season! She was last seen stage managing for Cabaret’s How I Learned to Drive and Cloud Nine and directing in this year’s Directors’ Showcase and also in the upcoming Original Play Festival. You also may have seen her perhaps running around covered in paint and sawdust as the Technical Coordinator at Cabaret this year. Her previous backstage credits include work on A Streetcar Named Desire, Pippin, Barnum, Sweeney Todd, and Children of Eden. Her favorite roles include Mary in It’s a Wonderful Life, Shelby in Steel Magnolias, and Gibbon in Godspell. Meghan is a sophomore History and Women and Gender Studies double major with a minor in Social Justice. In the little time she is not at her second home, Cabaret, she is in organizations through DRC, will be serving as an RA next year, or several other activities and clubs she’s in on campus. Her love for this organization knows no end and she cannot wait to see all the great things we will do next year!

Artistic Director:

Melissa Gabilanes


This girl directs in her sleep!

Melissa, after two years of being the House Manager of Cabaret Theatre, is more accustomed to reading other people’s bios than writing her own. But here it goes. Melissa enjoys theatre, talking about Douglass Residential College, and stuffed pastas. Her hobbies include making lists of things to do and then staring at them until they do themselves, cleaning Cabaret more than her own room, and working on an art installation she has entitled “I am only a junior and my thesis is taking control of my life, please help”. She is majoring in Women’s and Gender Studies and Theater Arts, and is currently working on an aforementioned honors thesis that makes both departments very, very happy. Her directing work was last seen on the Cabaret stage with her production of Lee Blessing’s Eleemosynary this past March, and David Lindsay-Abaire’s Rabbit Hole last spring semester. She also is responsible for the use of Mario Kart music during the intermission of last fall’s Directors’ Showcase: Showdown. Among other things, she was the Special Events Coordinator for The Livingston Theatre Company for the last two years and made possible that brilliant, awful thing where a musical is rehearsed and produced in 24 hours. It was in the Targum. Melissa currently lives in Bath with her 26 cats, and has sworn to never write another novel again as long as the g-men stop hunting her.

Managing Director:

Mike Moser


A band kid involved in Cabaret? Impossible!

In the words of Mike:

“I hail from Swedesboro which is somewhere in the ‘a$$ end of New Jersey.’ I was never really involved in theatre until my senior year at high school when we ran the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie, and it was an experience that I kept with me up to today. I traditionally do technical work but as the new managing director, I’ll be doing much more around here. In terms of what I like to do, I really enjoy listening to music (especially classic rock, Beatles FTW!!)) and playing my sax, because, let’s face it, saxophones are sexy. I also like anything that has to do with dinosaurs, planes, trains, or automobiles, cuz they’re awesome. In addition, I am a HUGE Disney buff. I’m a huge movie buff and video game player (I’ve actually won some tournaments) and I really enjoy just chilling with my buddies more than anything. I also like to laugh and am a pretty friendly guy. In addition to that, I have a beard.”

Director of Finance:

G Ian Tomsky



In the words of G:

“Hi my name is G Ian Tomsky, yes just the letter G is my first name. Its a long story. I am going to be a sophmore in the school of arts and sciences studying to transfer over to the business school to major in accounting and minor in finance. I am from Hunterdon Central Regional High School, a nice big school in the middle of nowhere. In the time I don’t spend in Cabaret working on set I am either going to class or doing something with the marching band. I look forward to meeting you all next year and making Cabaret even better known around campus.”

Director of Marketing:

Jordan Gochman


Here, we see Jordan 'acting' in Director's Showcase!

Jordan is absolutely thrilled to be able to whore out Cabaret via Facebook more than he already does. Jordan has worked with Cabaret since his freshman year, having involved himself in every Original Play Festival and Director’s Showcase since his freshman year. Most recently, Jordan directed How I Learned to Drive on the mainstage. He has acted in Rabbit Hole and Shakespeare in Hollywood and has served as the lighting designer for Twelve Angry Men. He is also a member of Rutgers Night Live which has brought him new friends, loads of fun, and a scarred liver. Jordan is a Scorpio who likes long walks on the beach, chocolate milkshakes, and obsessing over plays, much to the annoyance of everyone around him.

Spring Awakening – An Interview with the Director

Finally! Inside Cabaret does something that it promised it was going to do! We’ve done it! We interviewed Cabbie-award winning Farnaz Mansouri about her experience directing Spring Awakening at Cabaret! Like we said we would!

Related: Farnaz has adopted this as her Facebook profile picture.

Somewhere between finishing her senior year at Rutgers and serving as Cabaret Theatre’s Artistic Director and being a bad b**ch, Farnaz “Yeah Daddy” Mansouri found the time to direct a critically-acclaimed-so-far production of Duncan Sheik & Steven Sater’s Tony-Award winning musical. Really: people love it! So reserve your spot on the waiting list for tickets, because all them hotcakes be gone!!!

No more hotcakes for Kitty cats.

So check out the interview below, in which we discuss sad things, fun things, boys, girls, cats, musicals, and puberty! And be sure to check out Spring Awakening at Cabaret Theatre this weekend! Last three (3) performances!


Inside Cabaret: What was the best comment an audience member made last weekend?

Farnaz: I was overwhelmed by all the lovely things people said this weekend. [Cabaret Administrative Advisor] Matt Ferguson said some really lovely things about the production, which was amazing to hear.

The most touching comment hands down came from Dave Seamon, who said that watching the show felt like he was “watching a passion project movie”, and further continued saying not only how the show was injected with passion, but how alive each character was on stage. Those who know me know that I’m passionate about everything I do; the fact that this passion was able to resonate on stage, through each character, through the entire production, is something truly magical.

[Editor’s note: Check out Dave’s full review by clicking HERE!]

IC: And your parents? What did they say about the show?

Farnaz: My parents actually both really loved the show. They said they thought it was really beautiful, and my mom had really nice things to say about every person in the cast.

IC: Did she talk to them after the show?

Farnaz: My dad did! My mom is a little shy.

Shy Kitty.

IC: Your last directing position was on Streetcar Named Desire; how has this experience compared?

Farnaz: I went into Streetcar with no experience directing, so it was very much a learning experience for me. This time around, I went straight from being Artistic Director to director; and still, I found that it was just as much of a learning process. I had never worked on a musical before, so it was definitely challenging. In a great way.

IC: Why Spring Awakening? What was the thought process that went into proposing it and developing it?

Farnaz: To be completely honest, I wanted to direct Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at first. There were many reasons I changed my mine.  First off, Cabaret Theatre always ends the year with a big name musical, and I have always been intrigued by musicals. I thought, “why the f**k not?”  Musicals allows for a certain amount of freedom, a boundless amount of creativity, which is liberating yet terrifying at the same time.

Who's Afraid of Virg-- Wait. This s**t is bananas.

I chose Spring Awakening because I thought it would be extremely challenging for two reasons. One, it’s so extremely popular and everyone has a preconceived notion about the show already. I wanted to break this idea of what the show should be.  Second, the transition period from adolescence to adulthood that the characters face is something that we [as college students] are facing as well.

IC: What’s the most important thing you as a director try to focus on when putting together a show?

Farnaz: As a director, I make sure to keep the big picture in mind, while attending to all the small details at the same time. Keeping the end product in mind takes a indescribable amount of clarity and focus, while attention to every single detail takes an indescribable amount of patience, understanding, and willingness to collaborate.  Finding the balance between these two different roles is the primary focus of the director.

IC: How has your vision evolved since first proposing this show? What role does your pro staff and the actors play in that evolution?

Farnaz: Without my staff and actors, my vision would remain just that: a vision. I was really lucky to have the best production staff and cast a director could ask for. Before I met with each member of the production staff, I had a few months to myself to really think through every aspect of the show, to figure out what I wanted from each scene, each character, and ultimately what I wanted from the entire show. I had specific visuals meticulously planned out.

In terms of bringing these visuals, emotions, and this story to life, it was collaboration with my staff that really allowed my vision to evolve into something clear, lifelike, and beautiful. After talking through my vision with each staff member, their input helped bring the show to a new level.  Carl’s musical direction, Sarah’s choreography, John’s lighting, Matt and Francesca’s set design/execution, Abby’s costumes, Allison’s perspectives, and all of Mike Bond’s help truly strengthened and amplified my original vision, and to them I am extremely grateful and appreciative.

Director Farnaz Mansouri & Musical Director Carl Phillips collaborating to paint the stage/each-other's-faces.

And then we added the actors. No matter how many times I direct, actors will ALWAYS surprise me. I was fascinated and inspired by the depths each actor was willing to go with his/her character. They each gave such life to each role; it turned the production into something electrifying.

IC: What was one of those surprising moments?

Farnaz: I mean there are a lot. One is definitely the moment when the actors have epiphanies about their characters and say things that you’ve been waiting to hear since day one. That’s pretty awesome. Another would be that rehearsal when everything unexpectedly falls into place and out of nowhere you have an amazing show 1.5 weeks before opening night. Is that too specific?

[Editor’s note: No.]

IC: Why should college audiences come see this show?

Farnaz: For the same reason they tune into their favorite show every week, or go see a movie; it’s the escape into another world, where our minds easily follow another story line focused around others. Our bodies are at rest, while our minds are entertained. Theatre happens to be all the more electrifying, because it’s live. And this show is just f**king amazing, lets be real.


So there it is. An interview with the legendary Farnaz Mansouri. Check back in tomorrow for an interview with members of the cast!!!

Also, here’s a gem of a picture of young Farnaz from her Cabbie-award winning performance as Mimi Schwinn in A New Brain:

You're Welcome. (Courtesy Rich Kowalski)

Get to Cabaret! See Spring Awakening! Do it! WOOOOO!

Spring Awakening – Pics Or Didn’t Happen

Did you read the wonderful reviews by living legends Matthew Hadodo and Dave Seamon yet? If you haven’t, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!? Get on that before the blogosphere implodes and they’re lost forever to the web 2.0 abyss!

Keep your eyes peeled for interviews with the cast and crew of Spring Awakening in the coming days. This time for real. And, if you haven’t already, reserve your tickets for the show! They’re pretty much already sold-out, but hey, it’s college; people don’t show up and there’s always room for extra seating. See this show!

If we must, we must.

Meanwhile, the super fantastic coolness remarkable Rich Kowalski has posted a few hundred photos of Spring Awakening on the Facebook (no, not via Instagram..,yet). So, naturally, the entire cast and crew has spent the entire morning and afternoon tagging and commenting and reposting away, instead of catching up on the school work and term papers and theses that they put off during rehearsals.

So while you wait patiently for those interviews we mentioned before, take a gander at some pics from the final dress rehearsal forSpring Awakening, AND RESERVE THOSE TICKETS!!!


What? Were you expecting something serious or artistic? We're freaking college kids after all!

The Band. They turn it up to 11 on a nightly basis. BOOYAH.

If you cover Wendla's (played by the wonderful Lauren Sagnella) face with your thumb, it looks like Melchior (Marc Mills) has a HUGE MOUSTACHE.

Assistant Director Allison "I Will Cut You" Addona joins Musical Director Carl Phillips and Choreographer Sarah Lifson in pepping up the cast for their final dress rehearsal! Time the run started: 10:15 pm.

The cast, in the very same costumes and flop sweat that they perform the show in!


All photos courtesy Mr. Rich Kowalski.


1) Reserve Tix!

2) Read reviews! ( This one AND This one)

3) Tune back in tomorrow for an interview with director, Farnaz Mansouri!!!

Peace out!