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!

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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…

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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.”

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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!!!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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

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Happy graduation to those RU scholars walking today!

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

Excelsior!

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!

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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.

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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!

The Ladies of Eleemosynary: Alyssa Krompier

With only four more days until Cabaret Theatre’s production of Eleemosynary, we at Inside Cabaret (all two of us) know that you are chomping at the bit to see the show! We know the wait must be unbearable and you wish it was Friday, Friday, gotta get down on…

Sorry. I’m watching Youtube and typing at the same time. Let’s start over.

*Ahem*

With our next show only a few days away, everybody’s looking forward to the weekend. Partyin’, part-

Again, sorry. Third time’s the charm.

Today we are focusing on Alyssa Krompier, who plays Artemis in the upcoming production of Eleemosynary.

Alyssa and her badass leather jacket in the 2011 Director's Showcase: Showdown!

For those of you who didn’t read yesterday’s article about Ms. Sabrina Blackburn, Eleemosynary is a play written by Lee Blessing (WHO TEACHES AT RUTGERS OMGZZZ) that tells the story of three generations of women: a grandmother, Dorothea, a mother, Artemis, and a daughter, Echo.

Alyssa previously made an appearance in Cabaret’s Director Showcase: Showdown! and recently made her LTC debut in their production of BARE: A Pop Opera. Inside Cabaret chatted up Alyssa and annoyed her incessantly with questions.

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Inside Cabaret: So Alyssa, how does it feel to be in your first mainstage show?

Alyssa: It feels amazing to be in my first mainstage. I feel so honored and grateful to be in this show and working with such talented, dedicated, and hard-working people. It is definitely an awesome first mainstage experience for me.

IC: You were pulling double-duty, closing BARE while still rehearsing on this. How did you pull that off?

A: Doing BARE and Eleemosynary at the same time was actually a lot of fun. At times, it was extremely time consuming but so worth it. Luckily, I had such nice production staff members from Eleemosynary who would pick me up/drop me off at my BARE rehearsals which made things a lot easier for me.

IC: What is the deal with the names of these characters? Echo, Artemis, Dorothea? This family seems a bit… out there…

A: Yes, these characters have pretty crazy names, but it is because each of these characters is so extraordinary. Therefore, it is only fitting that they have such extraordinary names.

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Eleemosynary opens Friday at 8:00pm at Cabaret Theatre on the corner of Suydam and Nichol Avenue on Rutgers Douglass Campus. Make your reservations by emailing cabtheatre@gmail.com with your name, the number of tickets you want to reserve, and the date and time of the performance you wish to attend. Hurry and get your tickets, because the show is approaching fast and the time is goin’. Tickin’ on and on, everybody’s rushin’…

Sorry. I had to. I just had to.

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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The Ridiculousness of Paula Vogel

A Self Serving Blog Post by an Obsessed Director

Paula & Me

By all accounts, Paula Vogel is an unassuming person. She is a stout woman with short grey hair and glasses. But, behind this relatively plain appearance is a mind that has left a deep and profound influence on American Theater. Her plays serve universal themes while delving into topics that make you slightly (read: extremely) uncomfortable. To read a Paula Vogel play once is to do it a disservice. You probably have to read the piece twice, three times or more. (In the case of How I Learned to Drive, I lost count around August of 2011, by which time I had lived in my room for a period of three weeks, leaving only to use the restroom or microwave a Celeste Pizza for One.) But, on top of just reading her work, there is a lot to appreciate about this woman.

Her plays are fast paced, vivid and exciting.

They are also absolutely insane and follow the dictionary definition of ‘mindf**k.’

I'M COMING FOR YOUR BRAINZZZZ

Picture this: a sweet elementary school teacher acquires a deadly communicable disease and travels, with her brother, to Europe to visit a doctor specializing in the disease. While traipsing through Europe she sleeps with a number of European men, including a fifty year old Dutch man still dressed in children’s lederhosen. When she finally get to the doctor, a senile Belgian man in a fright wig, she finds out that the doctor specializes in “urinalysis” (read: he drinks peoples’ pee and analyzes the taste for medical purposes). After he drinks the pee, he pulls his wig off and screams to the woman that (SPOILER ALERT!) her brother is dead. Suddenly, the scene flashes to a hospital where the teacher is standing with a different doctor, who explains how her brother actually had just died of complications from AIDS. It is then explained that the entire trip to Europe and the rest of the story (which includes  a sub-plot involving smuggling stuffed rabbits across international lines) were just a dream that flashed through her head IN THE TWO SECONDS after she learns of her brother’s death.

Really, though.

That is basically the short version of The Baltimore Waltz, a play she wrote in 1992. Its only eighty minutes long and is played by only three actors. (Fun story: the man who originated the role of the pee drinking doctor was Joe Mantello, the same Joe Mantello who directed Wicked and recently starred in The Normal Heart in its Broadway revival.)

No matter what the topic is, Paula adds a ridiculously weird sense of humor and humanity to all of her work. Here is a short list of some of her other work:

1. The Oldest Profession

Five eighty year old women sit on a park bench and ruminate on their careers and lives.

The Twist: They are all hookers, working a beat together off a park bench in Manhattan. And then, at the end of each scene, there is a blackout and ONE OF THEM DIES! Also, around the sixty minute mark, the play slowly turns into a parable for the pitfalls of Reganomics. This play is widely considered to be Vogel’s most “straightforward” play.

2. The Long Christmas Ride Home

A family of five take a road trip to their Grandparents’ house, while revealing the emotional turmoil that the average family undergoes.

The twist: the three children are played by traditional Japanese puppets.

Non-traditional Japanese Puppets. Query: Will you do the fandango?

3. And Baby Makes Seven

A family prepares for the arrival of their newborn children.

The Twist: The family is a gay man and two lesbians, who already have three children together, all of whom are imaginary.

4. Hot N’ Throbbing

A divorced man returns to his former home, despite a restraining order from his wife, and attempts to make amends.

The twist: The wife is a “feminist porn” writer. When her ex-husband returns to the house, she shoots him in the butt, tends to his wound, and then gets strangled with a belt. All of this is interspersed with voice overs, reading the script of her latest “adult” screenplay, while the descriptions are acted out by her TWO CHILDREN!

Mind you, these plays are not just odd and ridiculous for the sake of being so (Christopher Durang has that market cornered). Every piece that Vogel writes has another element that pulls the plays away from being absolutely f**king bonkers: heart.

Heart. Bonus: Bear.

Her plays, while wild in description, are filled with realistic emotions, clever dialogue and a story that is both universal and unambiguous at the same time. The themes she brings to her work are a testament to what American playwrights look to achieve in their work today.

Actually, its more than a testament. As an educator, Paula has taught such playwrights as Sarah Ruhl, Lynn Nottage, Bridget Carpenter and Adam Bock.

When I selected How I Learned to Drive as the play I wanted to direct, I did not pick it because of its subject matter or its twisted method of storytelling (I’ll spare the details, because if you have read this far without going on Facebook, you are probably (read: definitely) going to see it this weekend and I don’t want to spoil anything), but because the story she told me in that little yellow acting edition script that I bought for seven dollars spoke to me, with its universal themes of maturing, learning and the power of manipulation.

Also, it has boobs.

Boobs.

Paula’s work is amazing and I sincerely hope you grab a copy of one of her plays. I promise you, you will finish reading it, shut the book, grab a drink of water and a snack, and then promptly reopen it and start again from the beginning.

-Jordan Gochman

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See How I Learned To Drive by Paula Vogel this weekend at Cabaret Theatre! Performances on Friday at 8 pm and Saturday at 3 pm & 8 pm! E-mail reservations to cabtheatre@gmail.com!

Got something to say about Life, The Universe, or Everything? E-mail a blog post to cabtheatre@gmail.com and it may show up on Inside Cabaret!