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

###

Happy graduation to those RU scholars walking today!

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

Excelsior!

Senior Interviews: 1-4-9

Okay. Okay. So… weeks. Our bad! Finals and graduation and Senior-Showcase-Revues-that-we-put-together-in-4-hours take up A LOT of time! Also, typing is hard. We have big heads and little arms…

But enough about us! Three (3) more interviews here, featuring three (3) more grown-up ladies!

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Jackie Spoleti is hardcore. She’ll mess you up real bad, forrealz. With her fists. And her acting skills. Her acting skills are so hXc that she picked up a Cabbie award for her performance as Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre in last year’s production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

She also does voices. Ask her about them some time.

This performance garnered Jackie her Cabbie Award for Best Actress in a Musical.

Past Cabaret Credits/Roles/Jobs/Positions

  • Original Play Festival: Up, Out, and Away – “Focus” (Tracy)
  • …Spelling Bee (Logainne)
  • Director’s Showcase Spring 2011: “Sure Thing” (Director)
  • Director’s Showcase Fall 2011: “Next Door Down” (Susan)
  • Original Play Festival: “Nowhere, Nothing, Fuckups” (Kat) and “The Exorcism of Jakob O’Donnell” (Mrs. O’Donnell)

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

I’m from Monroe Township, NJ.  I’d like to live in Manhattan, Los Angeles, Europe, etc. in the future.

– Favorite Culinary Establishment in the New Brunswick Area?

Due Mari

– Same-color or Mix-match socks?

Same color!

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

“Modern Family”

Jackie also dazzled audiences as Rosie in LTC’s production of The Wedding Singer. She rapped.

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

My high school drama director

– What’s your degree supposed to be in?

Communication and Theatre (double major) and Italian Studies (minor)

– What was your least favorite class at Rutgers?

Astronomy

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

An author

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

An actor

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

An actor.

– Favorite Cabaret experience as a performer/prostaffer?

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Jackie “acting” in T25APCSB with fellow senior and roomie, Galadriel.

– Favorite Cabaret experience as an audience member?

Twelve Angry Men

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

The facility itself

– How has Cabaret changed in your time there?

It became a little bit condemned

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

Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite

– What makes Cabaret special?

It’s very welcoming and takes risks

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

I’ve learned a great deal about how to work with all different types of people.  I’ve grown as an artist.  I’ve learned to challenge myself.  I have definitely learned some humility as well.

“Acting” as a uber conservative, hyper religious Jersey mom in “The Exorcism of Jakob Donnelly,” an original play by fellow Cabbie, Danny Cassidy.

 ###

Once upon a time, Galadriel auditioned for Songs for a New World when she was just a wee little freshman. The director was so enamored with her audition that he nearly cast an extra four people in the show, reworking how the entire production was going to work, just so that he could get her on the cast. Ultimately, he didn’t do that, but Galadriel persevered and became a hotshot music director on A New Brain, Tommy, and Revue: Parte Deux, the vocal director of RU acappella group Deep Treble, and starred as freaking Joanna in Sweeney Todd and Olive in T25APCSB! She also, quite impressively, put together the first ever Senior Showcase at Cabaret in like 3 days. And it was good.

As her final act of awesomeness, she told everyone to go the f**k home from said Senior Showcase.

– Past Cabaret Credits/Roles/Jobs/Positions

  • Director’s Scenes – Cosette in Les Miz
  • A New Brain – Music Director
  • Revue 1 – Cast
  • Revue 2 – Music Director
  • Spelling Bee – Olive
  • Elegies – Director

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

Parsippany – I literally lived in the same 150 year old house since I was born.
I’m moving to NYC in the Fall and hope to live there for many years to come.

– Favorite Culinary Establishment in the New Brunswick Area?

Depends, when sober and my parents are paying, Due Mari or Old Bay. When not sober and paying myself, Sanctuary or Hansel is my favorite non-pizza establishment.

Galadriel and Co. won the Cabbie Award for Best Musical Performance for their rendition of “The I Love You Song.”

– Same-color or Mix-match socks?

Mix-match…anyone who has seen my room would know that .

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

LOST…oh wait that’s no longer on TV. If it has to still be on TV, then most definitely Community.

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

Joey. He’s so annoying. Just Kidding! I don’t really want to punch anyone, sorry.

She will punch you in the ear, though, with her VOICE!

– What’s your degree supposed to be in?

Haha, supposed to be? Psychology and Music.

– What was your least favorite class at Rutgers?

Music History. Most useless thing ever. I really don’t care who Mozart met when he was 10.

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

A Marine Biologist. I don’t know what I was thinking.

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

A Speech Pathologist.

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

A Speech Pathologist and awesome famous youtube singer person.

– Favorite Cabaret experience as a performer/prostaffer?

Definitely Elegies. All of my experiences were awesome, but that was life changing.

Elegies. She directed the s**t out of this s**t. (Editor’s Note: I cried.)

– Favorite Cabaret experience as an audience member?

Cloud Nine. My mind was completely blown.

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

The thermostat.

– How has Cabaret changed in your time there?

It’s pretty much just gotten more and more organized and talented.

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

Les Miz, with a turntable.

– What makes Cabaret special?

The unisex bathroom. But actually the awesome intimate and home-like environment.

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

That I can handle a million things at once. The perfect preparation for grad school and probably life.

Galadriel singing in Revue 1 with Sarah, who will be profiled… RIGHT… NOW!

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Sarah is/was the artistic director of uptown rival student theatre company, LTC, but we forgive her her trespasses. Just kidding. She started way back when as the choreographer for a little show called The Wedding Singer back when LTC was still doing shows in the Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick. And she kicked @$$. Since then, she’s been a major artistic player at both companies. Her first main-stage performance ever at Rutgers of all time, however, was as the thin nurse Nancy D in Cabaret’s winter 2009 production of A New Brain. So suck on that LTC, we showcased her first. BOOYAH!

Sarah (far left), once a lowly freshman, choreographed a difficult-to-choreograph-show. And it was good. Also in this picture, Cabaret Alumna Lena!

– Past Cabaret Credits/Roles/Jobs/Positions:

  • Back to School Revue… Performer
  • A New Brain … Nancy D
  • Back to School Revue: Parte Deux… Performer and singer of the “Blue Hair”
  • I Love You Because … NYC Woman

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

I am from Nutley, NJ … I am moving to Orlando this Fall to work for Disney, WOO!

– Favorite Culinary Establishment in the New Brunswick Area?

Houli’s!

[Editor’s Note: F**K HOULIHAN’S!]

– Same-color or Mix-match socks?

Mix-matched, all day err day

Here, Sarah leads the “DRAGON” maneuver during “And They’re Off,” a highlight of A New Brain.

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

This doesn’t really answer the question … but I really want John Pisciotta and myself to team up and be on the Amazing Race. We’d kick @$$.

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

Marc Mills or the entire RUSA Allocations Board

– What’s your degree supposed to be in?

Fo Reals — Psychology (Major), Education (Minor) … if I could go back four years and start over? Theater Management (Major) with a double minor in Organizational Leadership and Awesome.

– What was your least favorite class at Rutgers?

Chem 102/Chem Lab

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

CSI Investigator

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

A proud stage mom of a fabulously talented gay son

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

Disney Casting Agent

– Favorite Cabaret experience as a performer/prostaffer?

A New Brain

This A New Brain? Oh yeah.

– Favorite Cabaret experience as an audience member?

I have enjoyed each unique experience I’ve had as an audience member at Cabaret (but to be honest, I really enjoyed watching Godspell, I didn’t want that to be my answer because I did not want to give more satisfaction to the cult-ish cast) (you can write all of that if you want, I don’t care)

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

More cowbell.

– How has Cabaret changed in your time there?

Looking back over the past four years I am happy to see that LTC and Cab have grown closer together. Each organization grows stronger with support from the other.

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

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson & Avenue Q

– What makes Cabaret special?

Cabaret is the epitome of college theatre … practicing in a dingy basement into all hours of the night, designing/redesigning the space for each production, creepy garbage filled swimming pool, awkward unisex bathrooms. I have spent many hours here, and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.

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

Over four years I have changed my major five times, failed one too many classes and constantly doubted my future … the only “constant” in my life has been college theatre. As an Undergrad I have not only picked up vast amounts of theatrical knowledge but I have learned a lot about myself along the way. Being involved with college theatre has really helped me grow both creatively and as a leader. I can honestly say that my four years participating in this “extracurricular” activity has taught me more than my 128 degree credits I am receiving upon graduating. Suck on that, Rutgers.

Editor’s Note: I don’t even know what this is. Sarah crashing T25APCSB? Yeah. Probz.

###

Check out last week’s Cabbie Cuestionnaires!

And stay tuned for THREE (3) more posts containing more Senior Interviews in the coming DAY! That’s right! THREE! (3)! And that’s even more right! DAY! Promise!

Exclamation Point!

A Letter To The Class of 2012

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

Chocolate Kitty. So February 2012.

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

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

###

Dearest Cabbie Class of 2012,

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

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

Cabaret is a community of creators committed to being better.

And to being adorbz.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best of luck, and be excellent to each other.

From New Brunswick with love,

Joey

###

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

Be well, true believers, and stay tuned!

Photos, as always, via the fantabulous Rich Kowalski.

And for old time’s sake:

YES.

Spring Awakening – Pics Or Didn’t Happen

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

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

If we must, we must.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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All photos courtesy Mr. Rich Kowalski.

Reminders:

1) Reserve Tix!

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

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

Peace out!

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Spring Awakening – Another Cabaret Alumnus’ Honest Opinion

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

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

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

Vintage Matt.

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

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

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

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

DO NOT WANT KNICKERS AND GERMANY

I really do not like this show.

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

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

In other words, they’re not good.

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

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

Farnaz Mansouri, according to Matt's description

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or Matt’s gonna get you:

Say WHAT again!

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Spring Awakening – One Cabaret Alumnus’ Honest Opinion

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

It's, like, period.

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

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

Dave Seamon acting real hard with Deanna Klapischak.

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

THIS IS SOME DRAMATIC S**T!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Firm, Toned Buttocks.

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

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

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

... No Chance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you got the reference, you win.

You gotta cherish it. You do.

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

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

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

Reserve Reserve Reserve!!!!!!!!

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