Original Play Festival and Original Pointers!

Hello hello hello all!

I am here to remind you of important updates for the Original Play Festival (OPF)!!


Now let’s get right down to it:

Play submissions are due at 11:59pm on Monday, February 17th. They should be emailed to the fest’s coordinator, Justice Hehir, at  justicehehir@gmail.com and cc’d to producer.cabarettheatre@gmail.com and artistic.cabarettheatre@gmail.com. Please keep your submissions at around 10 minutes (about ten pages), but it’s all right if you go over that a bit.


Interested in directing a piece? The director applications are due on the 24th, and are available on the Cabaret Theatre Sakai site.

I directed an original play in last year’s festival. It’s called The Loser and it was written by JJ Focarracio.

Here’s a picture of me and the cast.

The Loser Cast (and Me)

(Minus Leah Christians. Where were you, Leah Christians?!)


Directing was a TON of fun!! And it is a lot of hard work, mind you. Directing is more than just telling people what to do when. You gotta read the play over and over until you know it better than your own face.

And when you can’t recognize yourself in the mirror anymore, that’s when you know that you’ve truly made it as a director.


Auditions for this kick-patootey production (OPF) will be on March 10th and 11th, times to be announced. Callbacks will be March 12th, times to be announced.


Nervous about writing and submitting a play?

No need to worry, because the Playwrights Collective is here!!

The Cabaret Theatre Playwrights Collective meets every Sunday at noon on the second floor of the DCC. We read an article about the current theatrical climate, watch videos about/by current playwrights, and do some writing of our own! (We even have tea.) It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-time meeting-attender, or a fifty-fifth time meeting-attender; you are certainly welcome to come on over and write with us!!!


One of the coolest parts about the Collective is that Justice Hehir, the OPF Coordinator and Collective Founder, comes up with really cool prompts to get people’s brain-juices flowing, and she puts them on Facebook.

Some said prompts are:

“OPF Countdown Prompt #3:
Write a play that is made up entirely of questions.
Have fun!”

Having fun — always important to do.

“OPF Countdown Prompt #9:
Write a play with no words. Just movement and sound.”

I call this prompt the “Nic Cage Prompt.” I call it that because that’s the only way I’d tolerate Nicolas Cage in a play — not speaking at all.

Nic Cage Eyes

He is always watching you with his many eyes and angry expressions.


“OPF Countdown Prompt #11:
Write a play with no assumptions.”

Because you know what happens when you assume…?…(nudge, nudge)

“OPF Countdown Prompt #12:
Write a play that’s all poetry–lyric at its core, strong where it counts.”

Such good writing advice, yah?


Here’s a picture of me and Kate Thomas thinking deep thoughts during a meeting:

Von Thun's FarmCTPC Meeting 023

Look at that paper!

And here’s some advice from Justice Hehir herself:

“The Cabaret Theatre Playwrights Collective is helpful and makes OPF seem less scary because then you’ll be getting feedback and help throughout the writing process. It helps us to be more creative thinkers by coming together and working in the same space. We all have our own visions and stories to tell.”

She also gave me really beautiful and brilliant advice when I was unsure of what to write. She said, “Write what only you can write. What story can you tell that no one else can? Write that.”

If you would like some more updates and lovely writing prompts, then add CabaretTheatre PlaywrightsCollective as a friend on Facebook.

CabaretTheatre PlaywrightsCollective

“He’s” a really schnazzy “guy”! And a writing wizard, I might add.

Which I did.



I wrote a play once in my day. It is called, The Cookie-Crumb-Complex and it starred so many talented people it was hard to keep track of how many there were.

Cookie-Crumb Cast

Editor’s Note: There were seven. There were seven of them.

This experience was one of the most fun and rewarding experiences of my life. I learned which dialogue worked and which didn’t work. I also learned how to clear up plot points.

And, most importantly, I learned that something only I could write had touched a lot of people.

I cannot recommend it enough to at least try to have your work produced at Cabaret.

Seriously, though. Do yourself a favor and submit to this play festival!!

When you do, I’m sure you’ll feel like this.


A-Kroeps out!!


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?


[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



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!


Spring Awakening – The Girls

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

Too bad, you're getting it anyway.

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

Nick: franklin pierce

Jenna: Taft OF COURSE

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

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

Jordon: Lincoln

Tyler: Richard Nixon

Amanda: Lincoln

Francesca: Kennedy

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

Marc: James Polk.

Meg: TAFT, it’s gotta be Taft

Joey: Millard. Fillmore. Period.

President William Howard Taft riding a Carabao

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


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

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

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

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

The girls. Adorbs.

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

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

IC: And how has the process been?

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

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

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

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

Amanda "Mama" Padro letting go.

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

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

IC: Why is that?

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

IC: What was playing downstairs?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IC: Have you met a lot of hippies?

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

And for your viewing pleasure:

HIL2D: Part 2; Interviews! Also, The Value of Good Press

Today’s entry was originally intended to be an in-depth interview with Artistic Director Farnaz “Yeah Daddy” Mansouri, but recent current events have pushed this lowly Cabbie to take a new course of quasi-journalistic action.

Recent Current Events.

Dear Reader, there are some things that should go into an article that is set to appear in a school-wide publication, especially when said article’s main intention is to get @$$es in seats. The purpose of the Inside Beat section of the Daily Targum is to promote and discuss the diverse cultural opportunities on campus and out in the world. The student newspaper of Rutgers University provides student organizations on campus with a public venue to promote their products, activities, and dance charities.

Which is how it should be. So we extend our deepest thanks and appreciation to the Daily Targum and Inside Beat for your full page spread and putting How I Learned To Drive in the inset above the fold on the front page.

Here are some of things that the Targum missed in its feature; the same feature that was supposed to get people to want to come see How I Learned To Drive, but really only featured some very good photographs, some very good ruminations on acting, and a very large block of text:



Inside Cabaret recently sat down with the cast and crew of How I Learned To Drive and asked them questions about the play, about sex, about Life, The Universe, and Everything. Sadly, no time for chocolate kittens.


Inside Cabaret: Steph, tell us about your character Lil’ Bit.

Steph: Which Lil’ bit? [laughs] As a 29 year old woman-narrator, she’s specifically choosing these moments in her life to talk about. These are the things that she believes have defined her as a person. You need to know about her relationship with Uncle Peck and, in order to understand that, you need to understand her family, her school life, and everything else. The running thread through all of it is Uncle Peck, and her relationship with him varies from love to anger to frustration to this desperate need.

IC: What do you hope college audiences will get out of Lil Bit’s story?

I think they can get so much out of it! The severity of her story isn’t necessarily common, but the coming of age story is everyone’s story. Nobody liked school, and, let’s face it, everybody needs validation and love. And that’s what Lil Bit needs. The play is about moving forward. We all need to learn how to let go, and to keep moving forward. That’s something for college audiences and everybody, across the board.

Lil' Bit </3 School

IC: Marc, what was the hardest part about playing Uncle Peck? How did you overcome those difficulties?

Marc: His emotional restraint. That’s the essence of peck; he holds things back because of his circumstances. The crafting–his alcoholism and his relationship with his niece– that was in the script; it wasn’t too difficult, but learning to have to hold everything back… that was a real challenge.

The way I overcame it was by essentially releasing it, going all the way to the extreme, seeing what it was like for Peck in private. Once I knew that, I knew what my limits were.

Emotional Restraint.

IC: Do you think that college audiences can connect with that idea of emotional restraint?

Marc: I hope so. Even though they’re younger, they can be sympathetic to his situation. Restraint isn’t a WWII and baby boomer problem, but more a universal problem. The inability to really display what you’re feeling… they should understand Peck’s need to feel so passionately.

IC: One more question, is your name spelled with a “C” as in classy or “K” as in “kick myself in the mouth?”

Marc: You know, I’ve been going with “C as in classy.” I considered “Kick myself in the mouth” for a while. I went through one of those artistic flings where I considered the K… kind of like Prince or Diddy Dirty Money. (IC may have added that last part)

IC: Boris, in the Inside Beat article, you mention the “mask method” of acting. Do you think that the theory behind the “mask method” connects to our everyday lives?

Boris: Yes, absolutely. We don’t do it consciously. In every situation, in every group of friends, we have a set of actions and reactions and personalities that we wear. What I’m doing in this show is different in that these masks are in brighter colors then what you might wear in everyday life… but it’s obviously a mask.

It's A Metaphor

IC: You play several roles in the show; how do you “put on the mask” to differentiate those characters to the audience?

A lot of it is physical. A lot of it is also the way I speak. I’ve experimented with everything. My hair is different. My costume is a different. Every aspect. That’s something I really wanted to do with each character, a challenge that pushed me through this process.

IC:  Matt [Assistant Director], how did you translate the themes of the show into the set design?

Matt: The show is about memories… always remembering the best thing and maybe not the worst. The set is a little bit too realistic: the grass is a little bit too green; the road is too straight. Parts of the memories, though, are falling away. The image is still clear, but somethings off. The movie posters are falling down. There’s an RV, but you’ll have to see the show; I don’t want to spoil anything.

IC: Does the theme of memories and their glossy nature connect to your target audience of college students?

Matt: Our generation is all about reminiscing. It’s all about remembering that better time, back in 3rd grade with Pokemon and [expletive]. You look at the set and it says, “Sunbeam Bread, Kid’s Really Love it!” And the poster is just torn to bits. I mean, I can’t take all the credit for it, [Director] Jordan Gochman had all these ideas coming in.

If I get invited to one more "You Know You're A '90s Kid When..." group on Facebook, I'm gonna leave my stoop and punch a sucka.

IC: Amanda, during the play, there is an extended sequence entitled “Men, Sex, and Women.” What’s that all about, and what’s the play saying about female sexuality?

Amanda: In the scene, there are three generations of women all at one table: a young woman, an “experienced” women, and then the third, who is jaded, old, and bitter. She’s the married woman, with one sexual partner, and the strict religious aspect included. Curiosity, Experience, Fidelity & Loyalty all at one table. It covers every single facet of “love.” Love has a very wide spectrum. Depending upon when it hits you in your life and who with, it can change your perception of love.

Grandma has resigned herself. There is no further exploration. Lucy [the mom, the experience woman] drove her car and crashed. Lil Bit is trying to map out her road, her understanding of love.

IC: Where do you think women in the college crowd will see themselves on the spectrum?

The scene–and the play–allows the viewer to think back on their mother or their grandmother or their cousins, and all the women in their lives and consider perhaps that these relationships that they’ve taken for granted have another layer to them, a layer of loss, of fidelity, of newness and experience. The great thing about Vogel’s play is that it gives life to female sexuality. It recognizes that female sexuality has character; it’s not sterile or textbook. There’s so much more… uncertainty to actual sexuality.

IC: The last question is for our director, Jordan Gochman. Why should people come see your play?

Jordan : Because it’s [expletive] wonderful. And because everyone’s gonna see it through a dfiferent eyes. Everyone has a family, everyone has problems in their family, and, whether it’s the sex, alcoholism, the feeling of control, the need to be the teacher… everybody will come away having seen something they really, truly know.


Cabaret - Challenging the Definition of Love Since 1975

How I Learned To Drive by Paula Vogel opens Friday at 8 pm and continues Saturday at 8 pm and Sunday 7 pm. There are also performances next Friday at 8 pm and Saturday at 3 pm and 8 pm. For reservations, e-mail the show you wish to attend and the number of tickets you require to cabtheatre@gmail.com.

For more questions and info, click here.

BREAKING: Cabaret Finally Enters the Blogosphere

Related: Producer responds to Critics, “Perfection takes time”


The Internet is immediate, unadulterated, non-stop sensory saturation.

Cabaret Theatre is immediate, unadulterated, non-stop sensory saturation.

This is a match made in media heaven.

[Do media-ites have a heaven? Thought we were all bloodsucking harlequins of the vilest order?]

For the last few years, Cabaret Theatre has thrown a lot of stuff at the wall in the Sisyphean effort to reaffirm itself as Rutgers University’s premier student theatre organization. New workshops in directing and playwriting. New showcases and special events, catering to the diverse predilections of the surrounding New Brunz area. New investment in recruiting and cultivating talented and creative student minds. And a brand new look and a new marquis, both now a sleeker Black & White—a dual representation of nothingness and everything, clean, malleable, divergent.

Cabaret's Business Strategy

A lot of it stuck.

Cabaret is in the best shape it’s ever been in throughout its long, 36-year history. A long string of high quality productions and a newfound commitment to developing and fostering a community of progressive, experimental, and innovative student-writers, -directors, and –actors.

And this is the next step in Cabaret’s evolution.

The community within is invested, engaged, and growing.

The community without, however, is often left in the dark.

Think about it.

Other than the occasional show, what do you really know about what goes on inside? What are rehearsals like? Set builds? The production process? What does the basement of Cabaret look like? What is life like for a Cabbie? Nay, what is it like inside the mind of a Cabbie?


Theatre is as much by the actors as it is for the people. And social media like this blog allow direct access to the people. We’ll let you in, posting original content like interviews with directors and actors, videos and photos of productions just starting out, and in-depth explorations of Cabaret, Life, The Universe, and Everything.

What do we want from you?

Money. Particularly of the Defaced variety.

Just kidding (not really). What we really want from you is to hear your voice. Click on over to SUBMIT! and share a Cabbie story, or make a comment, or send us your experimental neo-noir short film! We’ll (maybe) publish it!

Theatre is an exercise in communal storytelling. You’re part of that community. And this blog is an experiment in that.

So expect consistent updates from us here at Cabaret Theatre. It’s Halftime in America. And Cabaret’s second half is about to begin.

He went in the Cabaret basement...


Below: How I Learned To Drive by Paula Vogel opens in 4 days! Check out this preview snap shot featuring Marc Mills and Steph Van Huss. Look for an interview with director Jordan Gochman and members of the staff and cast in the coming days!

She's learning how to drive. Get it?