Seasonal Confusion and Lots of Interviews…it must be Directors’ Showcase time!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Silver bells…silver bells…

La da da da da daaaa, it’s time for Hanukkah

November=December=Winter holidays for me. I’m not sorry. But I am currently listening to Mariah Carey’s fantastic rendition of “All I Want for Christmas is You”.

Happy Thanksgiving?

Happy Thanksgiving?

BUT, segueing to the point, it is the most wonderful time of the year, because it is time for Directors’ Showcase!

For those of you who don’t know (most of you) Directors’ Showcase was my very first show at Cabaret Theatre, let alone at Rutgers. As an underclassman, being cast in my first show was amazing, and the DS environment was (and still is) the perfect introduction into college theatre. My show was about two waiters, who had ambitions, and one of them ended with an interpretative dance. You don’t need to know any more than that.

#myfirstshow #nostalgia

#myfirstshow #nostalgia

Because DS is so near and dear to me, and many other actors at Cabaret, this week’s blog post consists of interviews with the directors themselves (woooooo)!

What is Directors’ Showcase, you ask? I’ll tell ya! Directors’ Showcase is a collection of 15 to 20 minute plays directed by first time directors.

I talked to the lovely Kayla Votapek (and by talk I mean Facebook messaged–yay technology), coordinator extraordinaire, and asked her to describe Directors’ Showcase to me in her own words. Here’s what she said:

  • “Directors’ showcase is one of the few special events that allows students who never directed, never stage managed, and never acted, to have a chance to try something new. It allows new and old members to be part of an amazing theatrical experience.”

Kayla also added:

  • “The reason why it means so much to me is because of the fact that it was the first show I did as a freshman at Cabaret. DS gave me the chance to show everyone what I can do and allowed me to get to where I am today. This year is my 3rd year doing the showcase and i am so proud to see all my babies grow throughout the entire process and so glad that we have brand new faces at Cabaret Theatre.”
Here's us on Halloween. Ten points for Gryffindor if you know who I am.

Here’s us on Halloween. Ten points for Gryffindor if you know who I am.

Before we begin with the Director interviews, here is all of the information you need about the performances:

The 2014 Directors’ Showcase at Cabaret Theatre

Coordinated by Kayla Votapek and Stage Managed by Jacqueline Malzone

Dates:

– Friday, November 14 @ 8pm**

– Saturday, November 15 @ 8pm

– Sunday, November 16 @ 7pm

**Proceeds from the Friday performance will be donated to the Holt International Adoption Agency.

Performances will be held at Cabaret Theatre, which is located on the corner of Suydam Street and Nichol Avenue on the Douglass Campus

Tickets:

$7 Students/Faculty/Staff/Seniors

$12 General Admission

To reserve tickets please send an email including your name, dates you would like to attend, and number of tickets to cabtheatre@gmail.com.(please arrive at least 20 minutes early to keep your reservation)

THE SHOWS:

Interview with Loneliness, by Ann Wuehler

  • Directed by Chris Price
  • Featuring: Toni Pollitt, Megan Cavanagh and Kim Bollard

Waiting for the Matinee by Eric Coble

  • Directed by Constantina Scoullis
  • Featuring: Kajoree Bhattacharya and Justice Hehir

For Anne by Peter Gruen

  • Directed by Laura Pomykala
  • Featuring: Kelly Lozo and Matt Apploff

Blind Date by Laurie Allen

  • Directed by Eddie Norgard
  • Featuring: Chris Wilson, Kim Bollard, LaJuan Miller, Thalia Peck, Matt Apploff and Kajoree Bhattacharya

Ties that Bind by Eric Coble

  • Directed by Hantz Jean-Francois
  • Featuring: Luke Basile, Alex Esposito, Lajuan Miller, Thalia Peck, Toni Pollitt and Steve Rengifo

That being said, can I get a drumroll please

drumroll

Let us begin!

*cue Who Wants to be a Millionaire Music*

An Interview with Chris Price

Facebook means that no one is safe. Let the pictures begin.

Facebook means that no one is safe. Let the pictures begin.

Tell us a little about your show:

  • “Interviews with Loneliness” is a 3-woman piece that portrays how these women struggle with independence, dark pasts, self-worth, and love. Fearful of being single, but tired of destructive companionship, Annarae, Janet, and Queela have individual stories that have no escape from loneliness. Ultimately, they are in the hot spot to make a choice: be in love, yet feel lonely, or dread the solitude of having never truly loved.

Why did you pick this show?

  • I selected this show because I wanted a show that offered deeper substance and was a bit of a challenge. On paper, there are three stories, simple. However, bringing it to life for 15 minutes was a great journey. Also, I think the overall story is relatable to what we all go through. We know what is good for us, but there is an underlying layer of bad or consequences to every good choice we think we are making for ourselves. That’s life, and life is full of difficult decisions.

What is different about this experience than your other directing experiences?

  • I was blessed with being able to direct this year’s musical revue at Cabaret, Unsung Chapters. However, Director’s Showcase provided me with something different because I have not worked creatively on a straight play since acting in high school. Since coming to Rutgers, I have stage managed one play and performed and been on production staffs for a number of musicals, but I avoided creatively being involved with plays for a long time. This experience gave me the chance to get back into straight plays!

Favorite moment of the show?

  • All of it, simple as that. I really enjoy this show, and I think others will too.

Favorite moment during rehearsal?

  • Chilling with my actresses and have them do weird things like talk to themselves in corners of rooms.

How has your vision come to life through Cabaret Theatre?

  • Cabaret really gave me free reigns with this show, and I was able to change up the script and setting and all that jazz. #thankscabaret

And lastly, why should we come see your show?

  • Because I said so.

The last answer is simple and sweet. I like your style Chris. Let’s be friends.

Next!

An Interview with Constantina Scoullis

connie

Tell us a little about your show:

  • A tribute to Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, two middle-aged women are waiting for the matinee to start. They try and kill time, and amidst hilarious discussion, fall back into the absurdist motif.

Why did you pick this show?

  • I feel like I need some deep answer to this…but I just read the play and thought it would be fun to do. Yeah, that’s basically it.

Are you a first time director? How’s the experience?

  • It has been really great! I was pretty nervous and worried about a lot of things going into showcase—especially since directing is something that you need to figure out, because there is really no one way to direct. As rehearsals went by though, I realized that the things that I was worried about were things that you can (and have to) easily pick up on the spot. Not to say that directing is easy—it’s not. I was just more worried about it than I should have been.
  • Plus, I love my actors, and they were very instrumental in this whole learning experience for me.

What is your favorite moment of the show?

  • The part where Justice and Kajoree show that they are a good audience!

Favorite moment during rehearsal?

  • We went on some pretty…interesting tangents during rehearsal. Also, when Justice and Kajoree would do a little bit of improv in between runs, I basically got a week’s worth of ab workouts done within 2 minutes. They are so funny together. I can’t even.

How has your vision come to life through Cabaret Theatre?

  • Generally—just the fact that Cabaret Theatre offers a chance for people to get a taste of directing a show. In regards to my show specifically—the fact that Cabaret Theatre is a very intimate space, and I want the audience to feel like there’s minimal distance between them and the things happening on stage.

Why should we come see your show??

  • Because Justice and Kajoree. Enough said.

Shout out to my ladies, woot woot!

Also, last year I performed in the Original Play Festival, with one of Connie’s original plays. She’s a very talented lady, and I can’t wait to see her directorial debut.

Next next next…

 

An interview with Eddie Norgard

Yo. This is a pretty cool pic. Very James Dean-esque

Yo. This is a pretty cool pic. Very James Dean-esque

Tell us a little about your show:

  • My show is called “The Blind Date”. It’s a short comedy about two completely different people being forced to find reasons to date just to please their friends. As if the date couldn’t be any more terrible, their friends who set them up on this blind date decide to visit the restaurant they are at to very obnoxiously intrude on their already dysfunctional relationship.

Why did you choose to work on Blind Date?

  • I picked this show for a couple reasons. I had previously been an actor in the short at my high school. I thought it would be nice to direct it with my own vision rather than my old director’s vision. I also picked the show because I wanted to remind people that we can find reasons to love one another despite the most obvious differences that come at face value. If we dig a little deeper we can connect with anyone.

Are you a first time director? If so, how was the new experience?

  • I am a first time director! I found it to be extremely eye opening. I have been acting since I was in 1st grade but I have never sat in the director’s chair and it feels good to finally be on this side of the table. I loved every aspect of it and my cast was extremely supportive and cooperative.

Favorite moment of the show?

  • I think the best moment in my show is when Kayla has simply had enough of the shenanigans being thrown at her and just mentally breaks down. Its funny to see her completely go insane because of how badly her date is going.

Favorite moment during rehearsal?

  • Its hard to pick a favorite moment. My cast was super fun to work with and we were all laughing at every rehearsal. Working on a comedy with naturally hilarious people is just the best time!

How has your vision come to life through Cabaret Theatre?

  • I am so grateful to Courtney, Allie, and Kayla for giving me the opportunity to gain directing experience through this special Cabaret event!! I absolutely have had the best time and have learned so much. Cabaret is really good about allowing artists to express themselves and they give equal opportunity to all despite lack of knowledge or experience. The entire E-Board is willing to help you learn and to guide you. I could not be more happy to call Cabaret my home.

And lastly, why should we come see your show?

  • You should come see my show if you want to laugh but also if you want to think. The comedic atmosphere of my show shouldn’t cover up the deeper meanings found within the script. It’s important to look at any piece of art as multidimensional and that is so true for theatre arts as well. If you wanna laugh and have a good time come to director’s showcase but remember to take away something from each show! Enjoy!

An Interview with Laura Pomykala

laura

Can you give us a little summary of the show, “For Anne” ?

  • While cleaning out their attic, Anne and Peter accidentally find pieces of their past that they have kept from one another. However, the result of true love causing the secrecy can prove if love can conquer all.

Why did you decide to direct this show?

  • When I read the script, the story resonated with me for the rest of the day. I read other scripts but “For Anne” was the first script I read and the one I was thinking about when reading all of the other scripts. I had to share Anne and Peter’s story and to show that chivalry isn’t really lost. You just have to find the right person who understands and respects you.

Are you a first time director? If so, how was the new experience?

  • I am a first time director and it’s been a blast! Because I’m an actor, I definitely approached directing with a very understanding but precise image of how to act. I wanted to make sure I had genuine emotions coming from my actors so that the audience would feel like they were watching their reality. With this said, I wanted my actors to make their own choices about how they felt when being their character and to make choices for their actions. I simply directed the talent and helped bring it out.

Favorite moment of the show?

  • If I do I’ll spoil the ending, but I’ll give you a hint. It’s all about the poem from 1937.

Favorite moment during rehearsal?

  • Seeing my cast during our last rehearsal before tech week and everyone realizing how much the play has grown.

How has your vision come to life through Cabaret Theatre?

  • Being able to bring a story to life from scratch has been an amazing experience! I would have never directed if it wasn’t for the fact that Cabaret had the Director’s Showcase. Through the love people have for theater at Cabaret, I was able to contribute with my passion and now share this story through my favorite art form.

And lastly, why should we come see your show??

  • Because don’t you want to know what my favorite part of the play is?! Remember “the poem from 1937”!

 

An interview with Hantz Jean-Francois

Favorite picture by far. YES

Favorite picture by far. YES

Can you give us a small summary of “Ties That Bind” ?

  • The play focuses on the Amazing Krispinsky, an escape artist, and his escape from life. By using the metaphor of escaping chains, Coble is able to touch upon both positive and negative facets of life and its many phases we endure.

What made you choose to direct this particular show?

  • I just think being in my twenties and going to college gives way to so many challenges that often come about at this point in life. We, as a people and a generation, are dealing with sadness, depression, and doubt but we also experience joy, rejuvenation, and growth. Once I read the play, I knew that it encompassed all of these aspects in a creative way. The fact that it can relate to the lives of every in attendance, as well as, performing really solidified my choice.

Are you a first time director? If so, how was the new experience?

  • I perform spoken word and make hip hop music but I wanted to further expand my artistic prowess and I knew Cabaret would be a great outlet to do that. Directing has been such an amazing experience allowing me to make the play my own, which is really exciting to me.

Favorite moment of the show?

  • One of my favorite parts of the show is when Steve and Espo (Alex) first come out and start selling their food in a very comical way.

Favorite moment during rehearsal?

  • Definitely being able to see different personalities and levels of experience come together to create something cohesive, funny and meaningful.

How has your vision come to life through Cabaret Theatre?

  • After reading the play, I knew that Coble wanted there to be a hint of comedy but to also bring to light the beautiful struggle that is life. What I needed to understand was how to make the play my own so I wanted to be able to balance both comedy and morals with underlying themes. With amazing actors such as the ones I was blessed to work with, I was able to make that happen.

And lastly, why should we come see your show?

  • You should come see my show because it will relieve some of the stress life brings by bringing you some laughs and enlightenment.

 

You heard ‘em, folks. Directors’ Showcase is going to be fantastic, and you should come! I’ll be at the Sunday show if you want to print out a version of my blog…maybe I’ll sign it or something…if I’m in a good mood.

Before I sign-off for the day, I would like to give a shout-out to my number one fan, Kate Thomas! I promised her a place of special honor in my next blog, and this is it. We miss you Kate. Come back. Let’s battle demons in supermarkets again.

One of the most disturbing moments of our young lives. Thanks Dan Conroy.

One of the most disturbing moments of our young lives. Thanks Dan Conroy.

 

N-Shady, out.

 

ALSO Murder Ballad is NEXT WEEK. Expect another blog post soon. Very soon. Super soon. I have to start writing it now.

Rapidly Approaching Opportunities!!!

Hey, hey, hey! I’ve got a bunch of updates for you about our beloved Cabaret Theatre, as well as some awesome opportunities! So make sure you pay close attention because there will be a quiz at the end!

Not really. They didn’t allow me to put a quiz on here.

Sadness.

Anywho! First thing’s first: The General Interest meeting!

Image

Yeah, that’s right. Our meeting was rated TV-14.

Continue reading

Summer Updates Part I: Proposals!

Who is ready for a whole new semester at the lovely and oh-so-classy Cabaret Theatre? Oh you are? OH REALLY?!

I know y’all are gonna miss the lovely and just so flipping funny J.Braccino but unfortunately he is no longer with us. Image

Death by waterslide, it was very tragic. Therefore I, Miss Nutter herself, will be taking over as head writer and observer of all things Cabaret Theatre.

Continue reading

Senior Interviews: Deep Thoughts Edition!

Today’s the day. University Commencement commences, as does “real” life for the Class of 2012! We’ve spent the last few posts profiling a few of the graduating Cabbies, particularly those that took the time to fill out our patented Cabaret Cuestionnaire! Are there more seniors than are profiled here? Of course, but interviews take time, and time is precious, particularly the time of those Cabbies that are busy being awesome, as all Cabbies are all the time.

So here it is! The final post of Cabbie Cuestionnaires! This one is entitled the “Deep Thoughts Edition,” and you’ll soon see why!

###

Sabrina Blackburn is one cool cat. She dazzled audiences last season as a small boy in the Cabbie Award Winning Cloud 9 and as a small girl in the also-Cabbie Award Winning Eleemosynary. Apparently, Sabrina brings the gold with her everywhere she goes. Of course, we don’t actually give away gold statuettes or plaques, but the metaphor still stands.

Also, adorbs. Bringing back backpacks.

– Past Cabaret Credits/Roles/Jobs/Positions

Edward/Lin in Cloud 9, Juror 12 in 12 Angry Men, Echo in Eleemosynary

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

 I am from Manalapan, New Jersey, and though I am a Jersey girl, I love a change. I would love to move Rockaway Beach, Queens, or Manhattan, or Paris (Why not? Dream big!).

– Favorite Culinary Establishment in the New Brunswick Area?

I got to say Chipotle. I literally crave a burrito bowl every day of my life. I have a problem.

– Same-color or Mix-match socks?

My little nugget toes prefer not to be confined by socks but neon pink fuzzy socks are truly very comfortable.

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

The Real Housewives of New Jersey! I can flip tables! I can get in someone’s face calling them a prostitution whore! It would be the highlight of my acting career, and quite a stretch.

Here, we see Sabrina playing a hyper-intellectual chimpanzee (is there any other kind!?) alongside fellow Cabbies Marc and Amanda during the recent Senior Showcase.

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

I don’t know if I could ever punch someone, but I would give Adam Sandler, Nicolas Cage, and Ben Stiller the dreaded stink eye if they ever passed me on the street.

– What’s your degree supposed to be in?

Double major in Theater and History

– What was your least favorite class at Rutgers?

Theater Practice: I planted potatoes on the Mason Gross stage. I received 2 credits. YAY!

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

I always wanted to be an actress, but was too shy ever to express that want.

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

I still have the confidence to say that I will be a working actress.

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

I want to be a person who is 100% content with their life; someone who follows their passion and dreams. I want to inspire people through theater. I want to affect people and have them learn via the vehicle of the arts.

– Favorite Cabaret experience as a performer/prostaffer?

My favorite Cabaret experience was performing in the final show of Eleemosynary. It was electrifying on stage. I am my own harshest critic, but there was nothing I wanted to change about the performance after my final bow. To see my family and friends utterly moved by the show, put me in this odd state of contentful shellshock.

Sabrina “acting” alongside Jasia during Eleemosynary.

– Favorite Cabaret experience as an audience member?

Every time I see a Cabaret show, I am blown away by the prestige and caliber of these student run productions. Watching Elegies was one of the best theater experiences I have ever had. I was so moved by the beautiful simplicity of the show. The actors (who were brilliantly casted) never had to push their emotions, it was just there in that moment. Elegies + Sabrina= ugly crying

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

Of course it would be having more of a budget, but I wish we could bring more college students who don’t normally see theater.

– How has Cabaret changed in your time there?

I have been at Rutgers for two years, so therefore have only seen two seasons worth of Cabaret shows. But what a two seasons they were! From Streetcar to Cloud 9, all of Cabaret shows have challenged the actors and production staff. They challenge the boundaries of Cabaret Theater and prove that there are no constraints to college theater.

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

August: Osage County! Who cares about having a 3 story house. Cabaret could totally kick butt doing that show.

– What makes Cabaret special?

The fact that we are a completely student run organization boggles my mind. Cabaret constantly challenges us, and we challenge the theater to push its vision even further. It is a safe environment to challenge yourself artistically. When I was in high school, I never thought I could even attempt to play an 8 year boy and a lesbian in the same show. Yet, Cabaret gave me a gift to explore a new plethora of characters that I never thought were possible to play. The most special thing about Cabaret is the people. The people of Cabaret became some of my closest friends. Every member of Cabaret has impacted my life and made my college experience special.

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

College theater became my college experience. When I look back to my college years, I will automatically revert to Cabaret and the fun times we have all experienced in that black box. The college theater experience has made me a more confident person. By exploring new characters in every play, I have discovered something new about my own self. Cabaret Theater has made me even more passionate for my love of theater. I am so proud of the amount of work we put into this theater.

As Edward in Cloud 9, which was directed by…

###

Danny. Period. The man with the plan, Danny served as Artistic Director for Cabaret between 2009 and 2011. He ran directing workshops, he wrote plays, he co-directed productions of The Goat; Or, Who is Sylvia? and Streamers and Cloud 9 and Elegies, he acted in Lieutenant of Inishmore one time, where he had (stage) blood explode out of his eyeballs (Editor’s note: may be an exaggeration). Ask any director or actor or writer or janitor at Cabaret who they turn to for creative advice and input, and they’ll say Danny. The man is that damn good.

And his hair is absurd 85% of the time.

Danny and the cast of Cloud 9. He’s the one in the middle with the AFRO. Yeah, the one like Justin Guarini.

Past Cabaret Credits/Roles/Jobs/Positions

Webmaster, Directors’ Scenes Coordinator, Artistic Director, General Board Representative, Actor, Director, Playwright.

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

I am from an average suburban town in NJ. I would like to go some place beyond the northeast of the US, but I feel like I will be around here for a while.

– Favorite Culinary Establishment in the New Brunswick Area?

Houlihan’s.

[Editor’s Note: F**K HOULIHAN’S]

– Same-color or Mix-match socks?

Same color.

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

Law and Order: SVU.

Danny with Co-Director and fellow Cabbie Spencer, looking cool on the Streamers set.

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

I’ve actually never had the urge to punch someone in the eye. I can sure think of a few people who are in need of a metaphorical punch in the eye, and it’s awesome when theatre does that!

– What’s your degree supposed to be in?

It’s supposed to be in Computer Science or Engineering but that didn’t work out too well. Now, it’s in something called “Humanities”? But seriously, I’m getting a degree in Information Technology and English, with a specialization in Creative Writing.

– What was your least favorite class at Rutgers?

Management of Technical Organizations. Eugh.

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

When I was growing up I wanted to be a lawyer. These questions are making me realize how much of a cliché I am. Oh, there was a brief time in my life when I wanted to be a virologist. (This was after reading a series of mass-market fiction by Richard Preston on various horrifying infectious outbreaks.)

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

I will most likely get a job in the IT industry. I am hoping I can find a career that combines both my passion for technology and the arts.

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

I would like to be happy, financially comfortable! , and involved with some sort of creative field.

Despite not performing in the Senior Showcase, Danny managed to steal all the attention away anyway… @$$****.

– Favorite Cabaret experience as a performer/prostaffer?

Making friends! As much as I value the actual productions we create, I think what really matters are the friendships that are created and incubated through the production.

– Favorite Cabaret experience as an audience member?

It’s impossible to pick one! I have sat through many shows at Cabaret and there have been many times when a particular moment in a production literally sends shivers down my spine. When the body reacts so viscerally, you know the production has reached something, I don’t know, sacred? It becomes something much more than college theatre.

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

Please, please, air conditioning.

– How has Cabaret changed in your time there?

Cabaret has made enormous improvements in so many different areas during my time at the theatre. It is really amazing! I also believe the theatre will definitely continue to break its own boundaries in terms of what it can achieve, both in its artistic and community endeavors.

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

Anything by Brecht, Beckett, Pinter, Albee, Churchill, Kushner… I would also like to see more contemporary things go up, like from the past decade at least.

– What makes Cabaret special?

I think the space is very much a large part of what makes Cabaret such an amazing environment because the people who are drawn to the space, who help transform the black box into the unique world of every production, are very talented and passionate.

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

So much! But most importantly, probably, is that I need a public and collaborative space where I don’t feel vulnerable for my ideas or looming questions. Cabaret not only offered me this but also showed me that the desire for such an environment is not a personal need, it’s a human one.

Here, we see Danny in his natural habitat, “directing.”

###

Marc is one wild and crazy guy. This season, Marc performed in 3 out of the 5 mainstage productions, the R3Vu3, and the Senior Showcase. In other words, Cabaret 2011-2012 was Marc; Marc was Cabaret. As a handsome gentleman with genuine vocal and acting chops, Marc became a pivotal player at Cabaret starting with his performance as Jesus (?) in a re-imagined production of Godspell in the Spring of 2010. Marc’s passion for student-theatre, however, is not restricted to his on-stage prowess; Marc could often be found helping out with builds and clean-ups and pretty much in any way possible, partly because he wants the shows to be damn impressive, and partly because he’s just damn impressive as a person.

Also, he is built like Captain America.

ABS! AND ANGST! Student-theatre at it’s best.

– Past Cabaret Credits/Roles/Jobs/Positions

Spring Awakening, How I Learned to Drive, Elegies, The R3vu3, Cloud Nine, I Love You Because, Godspell.

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

I’m from freehold, and would like to live in New York City in the near future.

– Favorite Culinary Establishment in the New Brunswick Area?

Definitely Tumulty’s. Before and after turning 21.

– Same-color or Mix-match socks?

I usually do the same color but always mix-match socks within that color.

Here’s Marc “acting” REAL HARD in Spring Awakening.

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

Malcolm in the Middle.

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

Genghis Khan.

– What’s your degree supposed to be in?

Supposedly Psychology, Theater minor.

– What was your least favorite class at Rutgers?

Least favorite class was Elements of Electrical Engineering (which is especially ridiculous seeing that I’m no longer and Engineering major – thanks theater). Almost vomited during the final.

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

An Animorph!

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

A therapist (who helps other animorphs integrate themselves into society)

What would you like to be when you grow up?

An actor in a marvel comic superhero movie.

– Favorite Cabaret experience as a performer/prostaffer?

When I cut off Edward’s doll Vicky’s head with a butter knife like a bad@$$ African man (mostly because I am none of those things….except a man. I’m a man.)

Here, Marc cuts the head off of Sabrina’s doll during Cloud 9.

– Favorite Cabaret experience as an audience member?

When Joel Chokkattu pulled out a gun at the end of Suburbia. FTW

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

The ticketing system.

– How has Cabaret changed in your time there?

Well, it runs very differently each year but the important things are always the same, like is the sense of community for everyone who works there.

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

Comedic plays have been too few and far between recently, so I’d like to see more comedies at Cabaret in the future.

– What makes Cabaret special?

It has what I think a lot of professional theaters work very hard to replicate: a genuine interest in collaboration, creativity, and natural connectivity between the actors in each cast. People who work in Cabaret take their work seriously while enjoying the fact that they are creating something beautiful together and they have fun getting deeper into knowing those they work with.

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

It has taught me everything I know about performing. On cabaret’s stage I learned how to constantly push the envelope with what my voice, my body, and my mind can do as an actor in both straight plays and musical theater and there have been people to help me actualize that goal every step of the way. Cabaret has been a home to me, I will miss it dearly, and I know performing elsewhere will never be quite the same.

It also taught him how to SPOIL WONDERFUL GROUP PICTURES!!! WTF MARC!!!

###

Boris Van Der Ree. We’d write a witty introduction for him, but we wouldn’t be able to match the histrionic profundity that he himself produces every time he speaks or writes or is present. We’ll let him do the talking in his introduction below. We will say that his mainstage directorial debut on Twelve Angry Men revolutionized the use of the Cabaret space, and he constantly schools his fellow actors everytime he graces the stage.

Look at that eyebrow. That’s some method s**t right there.

–  Past Cabaret Credits/Roles/Jobs/Positions

  • Spring 2009: Bradley – The Cocktail Hour
  • Fall 2009: Assistant Director – Shakespeare in Hollywood
  • Spring 2010: Scott – “Welcome to Caffeine World”/2nd Annual Original Play Festival
  • Fall 2010: Doctor – A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Fall 2010: Director – “The Sh!t Play”/3rd Annual Original Play Festival
  • Fall 2010: Host – Rutgers Night Live
  • Spring 2011: Harry/Martin – Cloud 9
  • Fall 2011: Director – Twelve Angry Men
  • Spring 2012: Male Greek Chorus – How I learned to Drive
  • Spring 2012: Adult Male – Spring Awakening

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

I was born in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England. At the age of five our family moved to Chester Springs Pennsylvania. And the year before my senior year of high school we moved again to Pennington New Jersey, where my family still lives today. By the end of this summer I plan to return to England, hopefully London, to try living there for a while and see how involved I can become in the theater culture there.

– Favorite Culinary Establishment in the New Brunswick Area?

Nothing beats MyWay on George Street. Cheap, delicious, abundant food, hilarious wait staff, and the most linguistically confusing menu in New Jersey.

– Same-color or Mix-match socks?

Same Color

Boris “acting” with Amanda and a cookie during How I Learned to Drive.

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

Easy, HBO’s Game of Thrones. Been a fan of the book series since I was sixteen.

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

No one specifically, but anyone who acts pridefully and out of self-interest

 – What’s your degree supposed to be in?

My diploma will say “Graduated with Bachelors of Arts in Communication and Theater Arts”

– What was your least favorite class at Rutgers?

Introduction to Principles of Public Relations. Not that it was a boring topic, or that it was really difficult, it was actually pretty interesting and easy. But our professor never really had a coherent syllabus in mind and the class slowly collapsed into chaos by the end of the semester. She once stopped in the middle of a lecture and said “why are you taking notes? There aren’t any more exams.”

Boris “acting” with fellow graduating cabbies Joey and Nick during Spring Awakening.

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

I went through many phases. Lawyer, garbage man, aerospace engineer, hotel manager, but ultimately I realized that I needed to be in theatre.

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

Homeless, and I’m totally fine with that.

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

I would love to be a grandfather one day. It would also be nice if I had a small cafe on a quiet street in rural france.

– Favorite Cabaret experience as a performer/prostaffer?

When I directed Twelve Angry Men. I truly felt, for the first time, that I was utilizing my whole creative energy and focusing it on one piece. Few things are more gratifying.

Boris with HIS cast of 12 Angry Men.

– Favorite Cabaret experience as an audience member?

Anytime I’ve gone to Rutgers Night Live. If you’ve never gone, you’ve missed out.

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

The abandoned pool in the basement would be turned into a second performance space. It would be perfect.

– How has Cabaret changed in your time there?

Policies have changed, people have changed, the lobby has been renovated, the floors redone. I’ve seen it all over the past four years. But the spirit has never changed, and that’s why I call it a home.

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

Glengarry Glen Ross. I f**king love that s**t.

– What makes Cabaret special?

No one else on earth does exactly what we do. Cabaret has given me and countless others the opportunity to be creatively liberated without the pressures of critics or the professional theatre world. That is enormously valuable. Cabaret is a safe place, and not once have I ever felt alone there, even if I was the only one in the building.

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

That I both love and hate theatre. Sometimes I would do anything to save the art form and to practice it regularly, but the other half of the time I want nothing more than to see a show close. It is this process of creation and destruction that makes theatre so dynamic and alive, and in turn, makes me feel more alive than anywhere else.

A favorite photo here at Inside Cabaret.

###

Check out the other Cabbie Cuestionnaires below!

Three Lovely Ladies

1-4-9

Again!

Backstage Edition

A Letter to the Class of 2012

Otherwise, it’s been a real pleasure working with for you all, true believers. We hope you’ve enjoyed the commentary and interviews and pictures and all the other stuff. We happily bequeath the cabaret blog over to the newly appointed Social Media Director (Abigail!), and… yeah.

So that’s it. Finito. Complete. Done. Adios. Peace out. TTFN. IC OUT DAWG!

#

Senior Interviews: Again!

Does posting twice in one day make up for two weeks of procrastination? Probably not, but here are three (3) more Cabaret Cuestionnaires filled out be three (3) more fantabulous graduating Cabbies!

In case you missed it, check out this morning’s interviews and last week’s interviews as well!

###

Joey is f**king old. Okay, maybe not that old, but he’s been around since 2007. That’s, like, forever ago in terms of College Theatre years. He started at Cabaret way back at the tail end of it’s “Community Theatre” years, and served on the executive board as Managing Director while the theatre transitioned back to being a completely student-run and student-doing-things-all-time kind of place. He also recently posted a glowing letter thanking the other seniors for all their hard-work at Cabaret, and it pretty much sums up anything that we’d put down here, so check it out!

Joey’s (Gentleman on the Right) Cabaret debut: a shirtless, down-to-there-haired hippie in HAIR. Also, multiple bandanas.

Past Cabaret Credits/Roles/Jobs/Positions

  • Debuted on the Cabaret stage as Margaret Meade (the transvestite square) in HAIR way back in February 2008.
  • Dog Sees God (Beethoven), Assassins (Ensemble), Eurydice (Father), Spring Awakening (Moritz)
  • Co-director of Back-2-School Revue: Parte Deux
  • Choreographer and Joke Writer for Spelling Bee
  • Directed productions of A New Brain and Songs For A New World,
    and a scene from Les Miserables in Directors’ Scenes.
  • Facilitated the Directors’ Workshop and Coordinated Directors’ Showcase 2011
  • Managing Director from January 2009 through May 2010
  • I’ve also been on the roof a few times.

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

North Brunswick, NJ. I’ve grown quite fond of New Brunswick, but I see myself living in the NYC area (probably on the Jersey side of the river). I’d like to live in the African Serengeti at some point in my life. Also, Ireland.

– Favorite Culinary Establishment in the New Brunswick Area

Picken Chicken on George Street.

– Same-color or Mix-match socks?

Same-color. I don’t mess around.

Joey, down in the far left corner, “directing” Songs for A New World (Editor’s Note: Believe it or not, that stage was actually painted Blue. THEATRE!)

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

WWE Raw. I’m pretty wicked with a steel chair.

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

Lady Gaga. And Shia Labeouf.

– What’s your degree supposed to be in?

I have a BA in English (lolz Avenue Q), and I’ll be getting my Ed.M. in English Education (hopefully) this Sunday.

– What was your least favorite class at Rutgers?

18th Century Novel. So… canonical… traditional… old…

“Acting” as Moritz in Spring Awakening. “Channeling” Spider-Man. “Winning” Cabbie Awards for Best Actor in a Musical.

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

A teacher. And James Bond.

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

A teacher. Officially.

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

A teacher. Who moonlights as an acclaimed comics writer for MARVEL.

– Favorite Cabaret experience as a performer/prostaffer?

I’ve had my fingers in so many productions over the last few years that it’s hard to pick just one favorite experience. If I had to pick just one, I’d pick the performance of my senior capstone project last Spring. It was a play called i gotta right. Cabaret, in all of its experimental, artistic wisdom, granted me the Black Box for one performance in early April. So, with good friends and fellow Cabbies Dave Seamon, Amanda Padro, and Danny Cassidy, I put together a staged reading.

– Favorite Cabaret experience as an audience member?

Cabaret used to host semi-regular performances of the improv troupe, Quaint Little Coffee Shop. They were pretty much an in-house group of wonderful actors that got together and did awesome improv. The shows were reckless, irreverent, loose, and absolutely hilarious.

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

Too freaking hot all the time. And I wish people would stop thinking it’s Jameson Projects Blackbox. So really, I’d just like to change Jameson Project. Let’s move it to Antarctica or something.

– How has Cabaret changed in your time there?

A LOT. But also not really a lot. We’ve become much more… focused. A little bit more professional. Nobody likes to knock the last generation, but it was a little fast and loose way back when. A little too self-satisfying. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Now, there’s still that artistic, indulgent creativity, but there’s much more of a focus on teaching and training and expanding. A larger emphasis on development and progress. That ensures a future for Cabaret that we didn’t really have locked down just a few years ago.

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

I’ve always wanted to direct a production of Les Miserables in Cabaret. I know how. I can make it work. That and West Side Story.

Oh yeah. It’ll fit. (Editor’s Note: That’s what she said.)

– What makes Cabaret special?

Directing has become one of my most favorite things in the world, and I never ever would have thought I had the necessary skillset if Cabaret wasn’t willing to give me the opportunity with Songs For A New World way back when. When I got the opportunity to direct A New Brain in the winter of 2009, a life goal of mine was achieved. A New Brain is my favorite musical of all time, and at Cabaret, they love s**t like that—obscure, interesting shows that mean something to the directors; that’s what they actively seek out. That’s what makes it so special. There’s a deeper connection to the material than just doing theatre. There’s a passion that starts with that one person—the director—and that then extends down into the cast and crew. By the time it gets to the audience, it’s got some heavy boots. It means something.

A New Brain, December 2009.

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

How important collaboration really is. At Cabaret, because of the limited budget and because of the need for experimentation, every single moment of every single day really is an exercise in creative storytelling. And no one can do that alone. Each cast and crew is this microcosm of brilliance that produces these wonderfully innovative, captivating shows. The most important thing to come out of that collaboration is this sense of mutual peer-to-peer respect that is so vital to the process of creation.

###

Alexandra Kelly Hausner (or “powerhausner” as one Cabaret alumnus dubbed her) is one crazy talented singer-songwriter-dancer-actress-all-around-good-person. She debuted on the Rutgers stage in LTC’s TOMMY, and razzle-dazzled audiences in Revue: Parte Deux and R3VU3, but it was her turn as Ilse in Spring Awakening that marked her Main-Stage debut and denouement on the Cabaret stage. And it was a phenomenal turn.

She kicks more @$$ than Angelina Jolie circa 2008.

She also learned the cello for her stellar performance in LTC’s production of BARE. (Editor’s note: learning of the cello may or may not be true. Stellarness of the performance is 100% accurate.)

– Past Cabaret Credits/Roles/Jobs/Positions

Actor in Cabaret’s Back to School Revue 2 and 3 and Ilse in Spring Awakening

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

I’m from Fair Lawn, NJ and I would love to live in NYC in the future

– Favorite Culinary Establishment in the New Brunswick Area?

I am obsessed with Mekada on George Street…if you’ve never had Ethiopian food you NEED to try it

– Same-color or Mix-match socks?

Both. It depends on what the dryer eats

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

I would love to be on Criminal Minds. I have a weird fascination with serial killer shows and I think I could play a decent crazy.

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

Joey (see above). Hands Down.

Aly and Joey taking dramatic pictures during Spring Awakening rehearsals. Marc photobombing like a champ.

– What’s your degree supposed to be in?

Communication with a minor in Music

– What was your least favorite class at Rutgers?

Communication Research. The worst class I’ve ever taken in my life and that counts any math class. It was that bad.

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

I’ve always wanted to be a performer, but when I was like 12 I wanted to be a Spice Girl.

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

I’m probably going to be a singer and songwriter, but instead of a Spice Girl, more of a Sarah Bareillis.

“Acting” real hard during R3VU3

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

A Singer/songwriter……these last three questions were very similar.

– Favorite Cabaret experience as a performer/prostaffer?

I LOVED Spring Awakening, but I think my favorite moment was when Joey and Corey let me sing a song from the musical that I was writing in Revue #2. That really meant a lot to me.

– Favorite Cabaret experience as an audience member?

Watching 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. The show was amazingly funny and I knew the entire cast, which only made it better.

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

The damn heat. That place gets HOT as anything. I blame Jameson.

– How has Cabaret changed in your time there?

It hasn’t really changed that much. It was always the small, “artistic,” theater to me.

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

If I ever finish the musical that I’m writing I would love to see it at Cabaret. I think they could do an amazing job with it.

– What makes Cabaret special?

It really is a family. The space is small, the casts are small, but the love isn’t. It is truly dedicated to the art of acting and creating and it allows the people who work there to grow as people and performers.

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

It has taught me that I am stronger then I think. I’ve always second guessed myself as an actor and through this experience I know that just need to let go and ACT! I need to stop thinking so much. It also taught me that compared to these people I’m not that weird. LOL. Jk I love you all.

 ###

Tobi might be petite, but she’ll kick your teeth in–figuratively and literally–with her wry wit and spry creativity and her boots (that’s the literal part). Tobi has performed on the Cabaret stage continuously since her transfer to Rutgers, and she also stage managed the College Avenue Players’ production of Uberman, a completely original musical, this past Spring. (Editor’s Note: It was AWESOME!) Much like Joey’s comments up above, Tobi also was able to produce a stage reading of her full-length original play, Imagine Laughter, a few weeks ago.

Did we mention she’s a bad@$$?

Tobi, debuting Imagine Laughter, on the Cabaret stage.

– Past Cabaret Credits/Roles/Jobs/Positions:

  • Box Office Manager
  • Rutgers Night Live Premier- Various Sketches
  • August Osage County– Jean Fordham (Director’s Fest)
  • Amorica– Cheap Foreign Labor (Director’s Fest)

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

From- Marlboro, New Jersey
Future- California

– Favorite Culinary Establishment in the New Brunswick Area?

ABP

– Same-color or Mix-match socks?

Definitely Mix-match

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

Once Upon A Time

Tobi with fellow Cabaret senior, Nick, at the Cabaret Ball!

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

YOU

[Editor’s Note: Who me? Couldn’t be! Then who?]

– What’s your degree supposed to be in?

BA Theater Arts, English minor

– What was your least favorite class at Rutgers?

Planet Earth

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

Always an actress

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

Living in a box in Times Square

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

Actress and Writer

– Favorite Cabaret experience as a performer/prostaffer?

Telling people they have to go home cause the show is sold out- bwahaha

– Favorite Cabaret experience as an audience member?

Watching how much talent we have at Cabaret

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

More opportunities for theater majors

Tobi “acting” alongside fellow Cabbie, Marc, in the BA Theatre major’s production of Our Town. Cabaret has let the BAs use the space for the final project for the last few years. RU pride, baby!

– How has Cabaret changed in your time there?

I’m a transfer student so I haven’t seen much, but I noticed there’s always talented people walking in the door.

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

A classy night filled with singing and acting each semester.

– What makes Cabaret special?

It really brings people together through a creative outlet, and I love all the people I’ve met being a part of Cabaret.

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

I definitely learned a lot about myself through this experience and know that I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life.

DRAMATIC

###

Happy graduation to those RU scholars walking today!

Stay tuned for two more posts tomorrow, when the rest of Rutgers graduates!

Excelsior!

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, even worse, WE ARE LOSING OUR ENTIRE EXECUTIVE BOARD!!!! OH NOEZ!

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

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

Image

Do you hear it!?

Sorry.

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

Producer:

Meg King

Image

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

Image

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

Image

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

Image

MARSHMELLOWS OMNOMNOMNOMNOM!

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

Image

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!