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.

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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,

Joey

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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:

YES.

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Spring Awakening – Another Cabaret Alumnus’ Honest Opinion

Hopefully you were able to run your digital fingers under the digital lines to guide your digital eyes right along Dave Seamon’s fantastic review of Cabaret Theatre’s production of Spring Awakening. If not, click that hyper link right now!

Or click it right after reading YET ANOTHER stellar review of Spring Awakening from YET ANOTHER stellar Cabaret alumni.

His name is Matthew Hadodo. He is amazing. This is him giving a Cabbie-nominated performance in Cabaret’s February 2010 production of Ken Ludwig’s Shakespeare in Hollywood:

Vintage Matt.

Matt is another recent graduate of Rutgers University, with a degree in the uniquely awesome field of Linguistics (AND Spanish Linguistics). He’s spent the last year working up to the position of Editor-In-Chief at Parables & Books, and recently received some wonderful news about academic opportunities in the foreign land of freaking SPAIN:

SPAIN! Google doesn't even know how to get there...

So congratulations to Matt, and we at Inside Cabaret are very thankful that he dropped the following review into our inbox. Read ahead, True Believer! And reserve your gorram tickets for Spring Awakening!

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Before I begin my glowing–no, incandescent–review of Cabaret Theatre’s production of Spring Awakening (believe me, there was a lot of shining going on), allow me to share how much I do not like this show.

DO NOT WANT KNICKERS AND GERMANY

I really do not like this show.

Thank you.  I had to get that off my chest.   You see, most people in my age group (25 and younger) that are musical theater aficionados tend to gravitate towards angst-ridden shows such as RENT and Spring Awakening that, in my highly elevated opinion, have little to no character development, which in turn leads to unsympathetic motivations and thus actions that just fall really flat.

Soooo, we don't have to sing about it?

In other words, they’re not good.

But we love them.  Why?  Sweeping scores that provide emotional engagement in ways that the script can’t.  However, Cabaret Theatre’s production of Spring Awakening is filled with so much pathos (Which is coming from the Greek word which means passion) that I was choked up for a large portion of the play.  I’m also an emotional mess (Sun, Moon, Ascendant, Rising, Mercury, Venus, Pluto all in Scorpio so a lot of Water action on my birth chart) but do not allow that to overshadow the rest of this review.

So then, why did I even bother driving the 50+ miles from my house in Bergen County to see this production?  Well, I know quite a few members of the cast and even had the distinct honor and privilege to work in a Directors’ Scene showcase with the director a few years back.  Yes, I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to share the stage with Farnaz playing a married couple that had no social skills whatsoever and made complete fools of themselves.  No acting was performed on my part in that scene.  Farnaz Mansouri, for those of you who do not know, is an exceptionally beautiful Persian Princess whose catlike poise and beauty is only surpassed by her keen insight to the subtext of a plot and her amazingly observant nature and storytelling skills.  In other words, girl is smart and really good at what she does.

Farnaz Mansouri, according to Matt's description

Having been involved with various directors’ scenes, open-mic knights, main stages etc. I know just how difficult the Cabaret Theatre’s black box space can be to work with.  Farnaz and Company were very practical in staging Spring Awakening in the round.  This provided the entire audience with completely unique vantage points and experiences throughout each showing, which is essentially what theater is all about: the individual’s unique connection with the art before them.  This definitely heightened and never detracted from the mood for me, as my front row corner seat was prime for certain scenes.  A key scene in which Boris Van Der Ree (who along with Jenna Fagan had perhaps the most difficult assignment in playing various characters throughout the show and yet still managed to make each one distinct from one another) mourns the loss of his son was performed completely back to me and yet the crippling bereavement was intensified as the lighting played with the staging.

Lauren Ann Sagnella is just breathtaking as Wendla.  Her naïveté shines through and really makes Wendla appear to be a young innocent child who is curious about the world she lives in.  She truly adds a quiet vulnerability and subtlety to the show that can often be missed in other productions.  Lauren is also really White.  Like alabaster or those porcelain dolls your mother bought to decorate your room when you were an infant.

Marc Mills’ performance as Melchior showed the actor’s immense versatility.  Having seen him appear as characters ranging from Sweeney Todd, Jesus (Godspell) and Cinderella’s Prince (Into the Woods), I was pleased to see Marc approach Melchior exactly as he should be played; a highly gifted, thoughtful young man who is more advanced for his years than his peers, yet is still humble to maintain close ties with childhood friends.  I found myself connecting to the character as he (editor’s note: SPOILERS AHEAD) loses his friend, lover and childhood seemingly all at once.

Perhaps the most engaging individual performance was given to us by no other than the man, the myth, the legend himself: Joey Braccino.  Joey is like taking the best feature from each of the founders of the Legion of Superheroes (He definitely will get this reference) and combining them with the newer legionnaires to form Cosmic Saturn Brainiac Kid.  Whereas weaker actors would make Moritz appear to be a mere caricature, Joey clearly spent much time dedicated to developing a real back story for Moritz that translates to the heartbreaking portrayal of a seriously confused, socially awkward teenager who was the product of an abusive home.  My heart went out to him.

One of my favorite aspects of the theater is that the show we are watching is not just what the main characters are singing and speaking.  Having been in the ensemble of many high school, college and community theater musicals, I can honestly tell you my favorite part is taking my character(s) which will have next to zero back story in the book and create a unique entity.  This production had supporting and featured roles that amounted to an electric ensemble that was always present, always engaging.  From the show-stopping “Dark I Know Well” to the more subtle reprisals and choruses of songs, I can honestly say that each actor on stage shined in their own right without upstaging anyone else.  Not an easy feat to accomplish.

So beautiful singing, great movement, phenomenal lighting and praiseworthy acting amounted to a truly memorable experience that I will keep with me for always.  The biggest compliment I or anyone else in the theater world can give is expressing how much love I felt for a show that I normally despise.  Are there certain unequivocal faults in the book? Absolutely.  Does this production completely rise above and tell a better story than what is provided in the script?  Without a shadow of a doubt.  Am I extremely long-winded?  At times.  Should you see Spring Awakening at Cabaret Theatre?  Why haven’t you done so already?

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So there’s another glowing–nay, incandescent–review of Cabaret’s production of Spring Awakening! Reserve Reserve Reserve tickets now!

Or Matt’s gonna get you:

Say WHAT again!

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Spring Awakening – One Cabaret Alumnus’ Honest Opinion

Spring Awakening’s opening weekend is in the books! One weekend left to see what some are calling “THE GREATEST SHOW TO EVER BE PRODUCED EVER IN THE HISTORY OF SEEING” and “ONE OF IF NOT THE MOST ELECTRIFYING NIGHTS SANS NIMBUS CLOUDS” and “Damn it’s freaking hot in here can we turn off the heaters for like 10 minutes?”

It's, like, period.

Really though, audiences have been digging what those talented boys and girls are doing with Duncan Sheik & Steven Sater’s Tony-Award winning musical. One weekend left, fanboys and fangirls! Reserve your tix!

In the meantime, a glowing review was left in our Inside Cabaret inbox by none other than Mr. David “A-Lister” Seamon. A recent Rutgers graduate and Cabaret alumnus, Dave was nominated for a Cabbie award for his eye-turning, head-catching performance as Stanley “STELLLLAAAAA” Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire during Cabaret’s 2010-2011 season.

Dave Seamon acting real hard with Deanna Klapischak.

Recently, Dave has been continuing his passion for performing and theatre through various auditions and goosebump inducing turns as JESUS CHRIST in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (at Villager’s Theatre in Somerset, NJ):

THIS IS SOME DRAMATIC S**T!

Dave has also recently acquired an editor position in East Brunswick for patch.com. In other words, he’s putting his Rutgers degree in journalism/media studies to work. See! Those things are good for something other than wall decoration (or bookends).

You can catch more of Dave’s writing at patch.com, chimpshots.wordpress.com (movie reviews with other Cabbie, Joey Braccino), and at the less exciting standard social media engines. Like youtube, where you can see him make sweet, sweet love music.

In the meantime, check out his glowing review of Spring Awakening below!!!

It was hard work like this that earned Dave the Cabbie nomination for Best Actor in a Play.

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This is what I dig: live performance. The energy, the costumes, the lights, the angst, the desperation, the audience, etc. It takes guts to put on a show. Guts and balls! Am I easy to please? Maybe. But is it easy to put on a musical? Hell no! Therefore, if you read this detailed, positive review and find you are unable to move past the fact that I know everyone in this show, that I am an alumnus of Cabaret Theater myself, and that I have an insane level of bias, stop reading now. Because you don’t get what I’m trying to do. I have love for everyone in this cast, and I have objective, peer-to-peer respect for everything they have done with Spring Awakening. College theater is so seldom reviewed, and when it is, it is done by cynical journalism majors with an axe to grind (the irony in that sentence is coincidental, I promise). So allow me to take this time to gush. And again, stop reading NOW if you can’t handle reading positive reviews by happy people.

And then I said, "Well, Nelly, will you help me put my knickers back on? Because my nurse won't be in again until Tuesday!"

I had a feeling while watching Spring Awakening at Cabaret Theater that I was watching a passion project movie. You know the kind. The Fighter by David O. Russell, Black Swan by Darren Aranofsky, Funny People by Judd Apatow. The director is so present in them, and it gives clear and electrifying purpose to the production. With Spring Awakening, Director and Queen Farnaz Mansouri has injected the show with explosive characters dripping with angst and energy. By casting the show as impeccably as she and Assistant Director and Queen Allison Addona have, Spring Awakening is effortlessly able to soar on the youthful wings of the “f**k my life” mantra.

Spring Awakening tells the story of a handful of horny kids in 1890s Germany who want to put their something in, on, or around someone else’s something, but their cowardly parents never taught them anything about sex or its deep dark secret (it gets girls pregnant!). Thus, the boys are confined to the classroom where they conjugate classical Greek day in and day out, and the girls prepare to be the only thing they are expected to be: wives and mothers who wait for the stork. As the parents and teachers start to lose their little automatons to the temptations of sexual expression, the children are made to choose one of three ways to live their lives: stick to the status quo (“oh no NO NO!”), rock the boat, or let the system crush them. What ensues is a raw, honest portrayal of how acquiescing to any of the three choices can have grave consequences.

As Moritz and Melchior, Joey Braccino and Marc Mills depict defeat and rebellion respectively. With his twitching, “Professor Frink goes to Columbine” characterization, Braccino is at once both heartbreaking and electrifying to watch. He plays Moritz as a passionate psycho/sociopath, to whom conventional society has shown no patience. His foil? Marc Mills as Melchior. He is well-loved, intelligent, cunning, and handsome- a savior who doesn’t care about saving anyone. His Melchior knows all along that as promising as the future is, not everyone’s story has a happy ending. And Mills has firm, toned buttocks.

Firm, Toned Buttocks.

Lauren Sagnella is tragic and beautiful as Wendla. Her portrayal is sympathetic to the ignorance that comes with being a young girl. Sagnella affects emptiness behind her eyes, a sadness that accompanies her childishness. It haunts the show from “Mama who Bore Me” to Wendla’s final scene. Adding hollowness to Wendla allows each of her songs to tell a deeper story, putting the whole show into every scene.

Amanda Padro and Alexandra Hausner bring their giant balls to the table with Marta and Ilse. The showstopping “Dark I Know Well” is haunting and beautifully sung by these two vocal powerhouses (“powerhausner” and “padrohouse”). Padro and Hausner portray what it means to let society beat you down and to rock the boat respectively. And as actresses, they rise to the challenge of showing what each choice does to a young girl: Padro with her big, heartbroken eyes, and Hausner with her flower child, “I’m not okay, but that’s okay” airiness.

Tyler Picone and Nick Cartusciello play Hanschen and Ernst, two curious young men who don’t have to worry about getting anyone pregnant. Their reprise of “The Word of your Body” was funny and touching for all the right reasons. It was a romantic, playful, and also sad moment. Cartusciello is the most well-cast actor at Rutgers. I’ve never watched him and thought he was misplaced or uncomfortable. He knows his type, and plays to his strengths. Picone is another miracle man. His voice would make Adam Levine and Cee Lo Green punch Christina Aguilera in the neck. It’s like listening to angels have sex. He is another well-utilized actor. Every time I see Cartusciello or Picone in a show, they’ve always grown since the last one. Keep your eye on them.

... No Chance.

Boris Van Der Ree and Jenna Fagan play the foolish, cowardly adults. If you don’t know the show, two actors play all the adult characters from the teachers to each child’s parents. Van der Ree and Fagan manage to embody the oxymoron of an “immature adult.” Constantly running away from the problem and dodging the open-mindedness of the kids, they bring a light-hearted stubbornness to the show without making it silly. They were simultaneously caricatures and honest representations of adults from our youth. And in act two, they give us two emotional peaks that really hit home (this is a spoiler-free review, but ya’ll know).

You can depend on Will Carey to deliver the goods in any show, but rock musicals are where he shines. I was consistently drawn to him and his wild hair during “The Bitch of Living.” Carey is another electrifying actor. He really gives his body to the choreography throughout the show, and he has a powerful, consistent rock tenor voice. Newcomer Jordan Hafetz was a joy to watch as Otto. He has a great “puppy in the headlights” expression during “The Bitch of Living” that made me wonder…if the show were about Otto, would he turn out to be another Moritz?

As Thea and Anna, Meg Gillan and Francesca Fiore round out the circle of young girls. Their parts are underwritten, but that didn’t stop Gillan and Fiore from making choices and coming alive on stage. Gillan gives off a “leader of the pack” vibe, with her coy grin and smoky voice, from the moment she charges onstage in “Mama Who Bore Me (Reprise).” Fiore, on the opposite end, put on her costume and became eleven years old all over again. She has so much innocence in her face and body language that when her back was turned, I swore they had hired a middle school girl.

Visually, the show is a treat. A minimal set and fantastic costumes by Abby Nutter compliment the raw creation at hand in Spring Awakening. Who needs a giant swing and a trap door in the floor when you can just as easily let the actors play with the space and lights? The shows final vignette is especially gorgeous.

Like most shows in the world, the sound was a problem at times. In a space as small as Cabaret, it usually makes no sense to mic the actors individually. But in a show where there is a four-piece rock band right in the middle of the audience (the show is performed basically in a round), individual mics would have helped. Sometimes, an actor turning their back meant their lines were lost to one side of the theater. This is an issue that sound engineers will never stop dealing with at Rutgers and beyond. I saw RENT on Broadway in 2002, and I had no idea wtf any of them were saying. The songs “You’ll See” and “New Years Eve” made my head feel like jelly because of how muddled the sound was. That just goes to show you that sound issues exist everywhere- from middle school musical productions all the way up to the top. In Spring Awakening, it never affected my enjoyment of the performance, but it did hinder my appreciation for the lyrics and dialogue. But that, dear readers, is the main reason for my initial disclaimer…I like live performance. I can move past mic issues if the energy level is right. And in this show, it was right on the money.

Go see Spring Awakening at Cabaret Theater this coming weekend, April 13-15. Get showtimes and ticket info at Cabarettheater.org or on Facebook. It’s a great way to celebrate the end of a school year and the beginning of Summer, when young love and life decisions go hand-in-hand and the myth of childhood opens up to the reality of adulthood. If you’re graduating, that is. If not, stay in school. Stay as loooong as you can. For the love of God, cherish it!

If you got the reference, you win.

You gotta cherish it. You do.

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Again, special thanks to Mr. Dave “Look at my awesome Beard” Seamon for sharing his thoughts with us. It’s always wonderful having alumni return to Cabaret for shows, and this blog lets them share their appreciation and memories with the WHOLE WORLD.

If you’d like to contribute to Inside Cabaret, click here!!!!!!

Also, do as Dave says! Tickets are selling faster than cheese wiz in the ’50s!

Reserve Reserve Reserve!!!!!!!!

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HIL2D, Part 4; An Interview with a Former Producer and Current Audience Member

Tonight’s the night! The second weekend of How I Learned To Drive at Cabaret Theatre begins tonight at 8 pm! Reserve your tickets now by e-mailing cabtheatre@gmail.com!

See it!

If you’ve already reserved tickets are now simply watching the seconds tick away, barreling closer and closer to showtime, take a moment now to read this brief interview with former Cabaret producer, Madeline Orton!

Maddie Orton. Producing.

Maddie was producer of Cabaret during the 2008-2009 season, and she appeared in and worked on several productions before that, including The Wild Party, The Philadelphia Story, and [the] HAIR.

Inside Cabaret was able to ask Maddie a few questions after she experienced the sheer awesomeness of HIL2D last Saturday. She was flanked by equally prestigious Cabaret alumni, Joanna Karausz (of Crimes of The Heart and The Cocktail Hour fame) and Ben Regan (of HAIR, Assassins, Philadelphia Story, and a whole lot more; he also appeared as Officer Lockstock in the Livingston Theatre Company’s production of Urinetown, which this lowly Cabbie saw and loved and dreamed about for years).

Joanna, Ben, and Maddie - in the afterglow of HIL2D

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Inside Cabaret: What was it like being back in Cabaret? How is it different? How is it the same?

Maddie: Cabaret looks great! She’s just like Helen Mirren—gets better with age. It felt really good to be back in the theater. Different because there have been some nice improvements (the lobby looks amazing), but still the same because that great energy that comes with a Cabaret production is alive and thriving.

Much like Helen Mirren, Cabaret also renders John Malkovich irrelevant.

IC: What do you miss most about Cabaret? What have you been happy to do without?

Maddie: I miss the excitement of putting my heart and soul into a project with some of my closest friends. I don’t miss the stress of putting my heart and soul into a project with some of my closest friends. It was almost impossible to have one without the other, but always worth it.

Maddie and Ben "acting."

IC: How was HIL2D? Given your respective stage experience, what’s it like being in the audience? What goes through your head?

How I Learned to Drive was really great. That space is so unique and intimate; it’s a real art picking a show that takes advantage of that. (A great cast and smart set design don’t hurt either!)

My time at Cabaret does affect how I experience the show as an audience member, but in a great way. I performed in 7 shows at Cabaret and was producer my senior year, so I’m very familiar with the challenges of putting up a show with limited funds, time constraints, etc. BUT some of the coolest art comes from having to work around those things. (Did you know the coconut shells in that iconic Monty Python and the Holy Grail scene were used because of budgetary constraints? True story.) Cabaret shows are even more impressive when you know the (far too small) production budgets, how difficult it is to finish course work AND rehearse for a show, and the amount of work that goes into making a show happen. The concepts people come up with and the creative executions of these ideas are always exciting to watch!

Film Noir = An Entire GENRE and VISUAL AESTHETIC based on the premise of "We Have No Budget." Eat your heart out Monty Python.

IC: Other comments: a favorite memory, a life update, shout out, announcement, disparaging remark, inflammatory statement, etc.

Maddie: One of my all-time favorite memories is the leaky roof performance of Crimes of the Heart. There had been this recurring leak above the stage that, as a stopgap measure, we covered with plastic to catch the drops during the performance.

I had just been taught in my acting class that when something goes wrong onstage, you should consider it a gift because it can make a scene you’ve done 100 times feel different and fresh. So, when it became apparent that the plastic might not hold out under the pressure of the drops that had pooled up over the course of the evening, I just kept thinking, ”This is a gift.” [Drip.] “This is a gift!” [Drip.] “This is GIFT!”

And a millisecond after one of the actors moved away from his chair, all the water splashed down onto the chair and the audience died laughing. (It’s hard to explain away a surprise rainstorm in a kitchen.) It really was a gift though, because everyone in the theatre (actors and audience alike) shared this brand new experience at the same time and tried so hard not to laugh—and all failed miserably.

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Special thanks to Maddie, Ben, and Joanna for coming out to see the show. If you’re an alumni and/or an audience member, feel free to submit a review or a manifesto to cabtheatre@gmail.com! It may be published up here on Inside Cabaret!

Upcoming here on Inside Cabaret:

– WTF else are we doing at Cabaret Theatre? Hint: Eleemosynary & Spring Awakening! And a play festival. And surviving.

– WTF else do we do at Cabaret Theatre? Hint: Build things, Write things, Teach things, Dance… things…

– WTF are we doing on this planet? Hint: 42.

Stay tuned!

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