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: Three Lovely Ladies

Over the next few days (weeks?), Inside Cabaret will be posting interviews with the graduating Cabbie class of 2012. We’ve put together a wonderful insightful exit interview of sorts–appropriately named the Cabaret Cuestionnaire (sic)–that gives us access into the personalities and experiences of these wonderful people.

We start today with three of the lovely ladies who recently graced the stage in Spring Awakening: Lauren, Francesca, and Meg.

And this isn’t a ladies-first type of thing. Rather, we tried to group the interviews in a recognizable, sensible manner, and because Spring Awakening was stacked with awesome seniors, it just so happened that our first category featured 3 girls. Don’t judge. We’re equal opportunity/equal access here at Inside Cabaret!

Before we paint ourselves into an ever smaller corner, here’s the first ever Cabaret Cuestionnaire!!!

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Lauren last appeared as Wendla in Spring Awakening. She’s a wonderfully dedicated individual, and her passion for the arts is only matched by her compassion for others. She also once said that Midnight shows are a bad idea because a) people should be asleep at midnight and b) people don’t sing at midnight.

She is also, apparently, the girl from The Ring. So watch out!

– Past Cabaret Credits/Roles/Jobs/Positions:

Back-to-School Revue, Godspell, Director’s Scenes, Spring Awakening

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

I’m from Totowa, NJ. I would like to live near the sea.

– Favorite Culinary Establishment in the New Brunswick Area?

The Thai food place on easton.

– Same-color or Mix-match socks?

SAME

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

TRUE BLOOD

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

Kim Kardashian

– What’s your degree supposed to be in?

American Studies and English

– What was your least favorite class at Rutgers?

I had Shakespeare with a terrible teacher. it was so sad.

Lauren "acting" gothic in Godspell.

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

Actress

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

Creative Individual

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

Artist

– Favorite Cabaret experience as a performer/prostaffer?

Being Wendla

– Favorite Cabaret experience as an audience member?

Watching “He Lives in You” at one of the revues. It gave me chills. I think that same revue they did a HAIR medley. it was excellent.

"He Lives In You."

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

CLEANER BATHROOMS

– How has Cabaret changed in your time there?

People are more focused I find.

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

CABARET

[Editor’s Note: META]

– What makes Cabaret special?

The space is extremely intimate.

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

I have to have patience and focus with every project I am apart of.

More ACTING, via PATIENCE.

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Francesca made her Cabaret debut in Spring Awakening as the adorably innocent Anna. She also designed the set, which included tree branches, a chandelier that was totally vintage, and rose petals. Said rose petals ultimately rained down from the ceiling. Like a Boss. She’s also one of the most creative people we know. And adorable.

Francesca can also be a blonde, as evidenced in this noiresque shot from uptown rival LTC's production of The Wild Party.

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

I’m from West Chester, Pennsylvania and I have a lot of places I want to live–Rome, New York City, Canada, Antarctica etc… but I’ll probably end up living somewhere in the New York area.

– Favorite Culinary Establishment in the New Brunswick Area?

Somerset Diner. Coconut pancakes and Belgian waffles with ice cream.

– Same-color or Mix-match socks?

Mix-match. Ask anyone what my room looks like–I wouldn’t be able to find matching socks if I tried.

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

Law and Order SVU–but only if I get to be partners with detective Lake and my arc ends in arrest.

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

Rick Santorum.

He was much cooler in college. Look at that manbeard!

– What’s your degree supposed to be in?

Visual Arts (concentration: painting) and English (concentration: creative writing).

– What was your least favorite class at Rutgers?

Artmaking. It was awful.

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

A veterinarian, then a teacher, then a writer and illustrator of children’s books, then just a writer, then an artist and a writer…

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

I’ll probably teach some kind of art somewhere (hopefully at the college level), show in galleries, and write when I can.

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

A super famous artist and winner of the nobel prize for literature or something like that.

Francesca taking artistic pictures in the Cabaret basement. "Life is like pickle."

– Favorite Cabaret experience as a performer/prostaffer?

Spring Awakening since it was my only experience

– Favorite Cabaret experience as an audience member?

Godspell hands down. That was incredible–I cried like a baby and had some sort of spiritual awakening. Good job, guys.

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

The temperature. And the budget.

– How has Cabaret changed in your time there?

Well, we’ve played around with the space a lot this year–the alleyway stage seems to be the new trend and I think it works for Cabaret.

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

Hmm… that’s tough. I want to see some Beckett… or some Ionesco.

"Acting" with fellow seniors Lauren (see above) and Amanda.

– What makes Cabaret special?

The intimacy of the space and passion of the people involved. No one lacking passion would willing work in a ninety degree theater with no backstage and a creepy basement. There’s definitely something special about this particular black box and how it comes alive during a performance. As a member of LTC, I always wanted to do a show at Cabaret, and I’m glad to say it didn’t disappoint.

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

That the very best people in the world are the ones you find in theaters (something I always suspected, but now I know for sure)… and that I can’t live without performing.

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Meg Gillan is an all-around bad@$$. Really. She is the music director at WRSU Rutgers Radio, which automatically makes her 13% cooler than most people you know. She’s also hipper than an geriatric ward on “Happy Days Night.”

Meg "acting" ("making eyes?") with Francesca.

– Past Cabaret Credits/Roles/Jobs/Positions

Spring Awakening (Thea), Back to School Revue: Parte Deux (Really really talented and good looking actor)

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

I am from the great mountains of New Jersey, a big town called West Milford. Ultimately I would like to live in the Village, like a true hipster.

– Favorite Culinary Establishment in the New Brunswick Area?

Clydz is the best place for a fancy, sexy dinner. If we are talking about more of a casual night with amazing people, go to Harvest Moon.

– Same-color or Mix-match socks?

What?

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

Saturday Night Live or the Big Bang Theory

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

Bono

– What’s your degree supposed to be in?

My degree is in Journalism and Media Studies.

– What was your least favorite class at Rutgers?

Intro to Communication is stupid.

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

A Rockette

Proof.

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

A technical operator for a television network

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

Director of Late Night with Conan O’Brien and SNL

– Favorite Cabaret experience as a performer/prostaffer?

The Somerset Diner with the cast of Spring Awakening and the Rutgers Lacrosse team

[Editor’s Note: Not only did this happen IRL, but it will also be the main plot for an upcoming episode of GLEE]

– Favorite Cabaret experience as an audience member?

Amanda and Dave’s scene right after Stella takes Stanley back in A Streetcar Named Desire:

This scene. SO MUCH ACTING! Also, STELLLLLAAAAAAAAA!

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

The bathroom situation

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

Chicago, always Chicago

– What makes Cabaret special?

The people

Meg with "people" and fellow seniors, Galadriel and Nick.

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

…that we are all a little freaky inside

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Keep checking Inside Cabaret for more quirky, non-serious, uber-serious, and moderately-serious responses to the Cabaret Cuestionnaire!

Stay tuned!

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!!!

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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…

HIPPIE!

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.

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

And for your viewing pleasure:

Spring Awakening – The Boys

Spring Awakening weekend #2 is upon is! Tonight, the cast endeavors to perform at 8 pmAND at midnight! That’s like 6 straight hours of dancing, singing, and acting really hard!

Meanwhile, Inside Cabaret sat down with the entire cast of Spring Awakening and asked some real hardball questions. Here’s a sample:

Inside Cabaret: What is your least favorite color?

Nick: Yellow

Jenna: Olive

Will: F**K… I like them all!

Alex: Brown

Jordon: Purple

Tyler: Orange

Amanda: Murky Yellow

Francesca: Orange

Lauren: I like all colors! Except pea green.

Marc: Sherbet. Orange Sherbet.

Meg: PINK

Joey: Salmon. Definitely Salmon. And green. I hate green.

The Boys.

Real heavy stuff, right? Just kidding. We here at Inside Cabaret have something called “journalistic integrity.” The actual interview with the cast will be split into two parts. The first part–an interview with the illustrious boy members of the cast–can be found below!

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Inside Cabaret: What drew you to Spring Awakening? What experience with SA before, and how does this compare?

Will: It came out at a time when it really applied to my life. Not in any—not that I related to any of the events, but I did relate to the pressure of the world. That’s like the driving force between the show. This is like, the last stand, the final frontier before being thrust into the world. We’ve been trained to be graded for so long, and we’ll only be graded on what we do now.

Will Carey, pre-amber-waves-of-grain hairstyle. Circa 2009. Still Rock & Roll.

IC:You saw it on Broadway? How has doing the show compared?

Will: Yeah, I saw it sitting next to my mom. This show is so much more than what the original production was. The emotions are raw and easily accessible in any. We could do this outside and it’d be the perfect thing. We’re right there, in the audience’s face, telling them this story.

IC: Nick, you were doing BARE with the Livingston Theatre Company when the process started. How did you make the jump between shows?

Nick: It was very easy for me because of the people I was working with. The cast and the pro staff are full of people that I love—People that I’m already comfortable with. So I had no problems trying things out and jumping into the characters.

IC:I imagine part of that is because of director Farnaz Mansouri. You’ve worked with her before. How has this one compared?

Nick: Yeah, working with Farnaz was a big part of that. Especially the way she conveys her ideas; they’re very complete and full. And because it’s her second show, she’s knocked a lot of the kinds out. It’s been a great experience.

Nick Cartusciello acting.

IC: Marc, this is your 4th show with Cabaret this year. How is this one different?

Marc: Spring Awakening is so different in that it’s such a story – it has such a narrative. It’s the first show that I’ve done in which the large cast has to work together. Working with a legitimate ensemble, it’s such a different dynamic.

IC: How has the process been different?

Marc: This time, I definitely focused on creating a sense of style about how I did everything –singing, crafting, moving, dancing, emotional expression – this show was very stylized in that sense.

"Style."

IC: How have you improved as a performer?

Marc: I’ve gotten worse and worse, because I’ve gotten more and more egotistical.

(::Laughs from the belly::)

No, I think that this season has allowed me to grow so much because of the variety in each show and each process. Each show has allowed me to take something and bring it to the next show. For example, for the Revue, I figured out how to work an audience, with Elegies, it was building a show from the ground up with a cast of actors, which played directly into HIL2D, which was more about crafting and physicality, which in turn plays into that style I was talking about before. Being aware of controlling all of those skills and facets was so different and so powerful. Was that confusing?

(Editor’s note: No.)

IC: Joey, Between directing two musicals and the managing director position in the past, you have done a lot of varied work at Cabaret Theatre. What is it like coming back to be an actor after having spent much of your undergraduate years working off stage?

Joey: It’s been exciting. The last time I performed on-stage in-role for Cabaret was Eurydice, which was September 2009. That’s like almost 3 years ago. I’ve spent most of my time telling people how to act and move, so coming back and trying to do it myself was a nice change of pace.

IC: Given your previous positions and the fact that you’re older than everyone else, do you see yourself as a mentor to the cast in any way?

Joey: First of all, I’m only one year older. The other day, Marc said I was the only person born in the 1980s in the cast, trying to make it seem like I was some dinosaur. I was born in ’89! In June! That’s like almost 1990!

Dramatic s**t.

Second of all, no, I don’t really see myself as a mentor, primarily because the members in this cast are so damn talented, regardless of age or number of shows. I had enough trouble doing the whole singing thing, so I looked to other cast members and prostaff members for help with that. Maybe they looked to me for acting or moving tips, but Farnaz and Co. did a great job of creating an environment in which we all mentored and supported each other, regardless of how old I might (not) be.

IC: Jordon, It’s your first show at Cabaret and at college. What’s in been like? How is it different from your past experiences?

Jordon: It’s been great! It’s different than high school because of the short time to do a show; instead of 3 months, you get 1 month. You’re told to do something, and you just have to work hard to get it done. In a lot of ways, it’s better.

IC: Why’s it better?

Jordon: Well, everyone has talent. Versus like in high school where a select few get showcased all the time. In college, you’re expected to come in knowing your s**t.

Chair Acting.

IC:What have you learned about yourself as a performer?

Jordon: About developing character. The whole show requires it. In high school, the shows are more airy and light-hearted. Here, it’s like “how can you contribute to this,” “what do you bring?” That was a great challenge for me.

IC: Finally, Tyler, why isSpring Awakeningso important and influential?

Tyler: Because it’s important to remember that no one is or can be perfect. And that the best we can be is honest.

IC: Why has this show been an important process for you?

Tyler: Because it requires constant vigilance of character.  As Hanschen, I’m constantly making sure he looks and appears perfect. I have to be on at all times; it’s really challenged me to become a better actor and performer.

Tyler and Nick being Rock Stars and stuff

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So there you have it, True Believers! An interview with the dashing dudes of Spring Awakening! Stay tuned for an interview with the ladies regarding such hot topics as rock and roll, sexuality, stage combat, and curly hair!

Also, you may have noticed that a certain boy–or rather, MAN–was missing from the interviews. His name is Boris Van Der Ree. He plays the Adult Male roles in the show. And he bounced from yesterday’s brush-up rehearsal before Inside Cabaret could ask him any question. Alas, we’ll just have to settle for this lovely picture of him:

Enjoy

Spring Awakening – An Interview with the Director

Finally! Inside Cabaret does something that it promised it was going to do! We’ve done it! We interviewed Cabbie-award winning Farnaz Mansouri about her experience directing Spring Awakening at Cabaret! Like we said we would!

Related: Farnaz has adopted this as her Facebook profile picture.

Somewhere between finishing her senior year at Rutgers and serving as Cabaret Theatre’s Artistic Director and being a bad b**ch, Farnaz “Yeah Daddy” Mansouri found the time to direct a critically-acclaimed-so-far production of Duncan Sheik & Steven Sater’s Tony-Award winning musical. Really: people love it! So reserve your spot on the waiting list for tickets, because all them hotcakes be gone!!!

No more hotcakes for Kitty cats.

So check out the interview below, in which we discuss sad things, fun things, boys, girls, cats, musicals, and puberty! And be sure to check out Spring Awakening at Cabaret Theatre this weekend! Last three (3) performances!

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Inside Cabaret: What was the best comment an audience member made last weekend?

Farnaz: I was overwhelmed by all the lovely things people said this weekend. [Cabaret Administrative Advisor] Matt Ferguson said some really lovely things about the production, which was amazing to hear.

The most touching comment hands down came from Dave Seamon, who said that watching the show felt like he was “watching a passion project movie”, and further continued saying not only how the show was injected with passion, but how alive each character was on stage. Those who know me know that I’m passionate about everything I do; the fact that this passion was able to resonate on stage, through each character, through the entire production, is something truly magical.

[Editor’s note: Check out Dave’s full review by clicking HERE!]

IC: And your parents? What did they say about the show?

Farnaz: My parents actually both really loved the show. They said they thought it was really beautiful, and my mom had really nice things to say about every person in the cast.

IC: Did she talk to them after the show?

Farnaz: My dad did! My mom is a little shy.

Shy Kitty.

IC: Your last directing position was on Streetcar Named Desire; how has this experience compared?

Farnaz: I went into Streetcar with no experience directing, so it was very much a learning experience for me. This time around, I went straight from being Artistic Director to director; and still, I found that it was just as much of a learning process. I had never worked on a musical before, so it was definitely challenging. In a great way.

IC: Why Spring Awakening? What was the thought process that went into proposing it and developing it?

Farnaz: To be completely honest, I wanted to direct Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at first. There were many reasons I changed my mine.  First off, Cabaret Theatre always ends the year with a big name musical, and I have always been intrigued by musicals. I thought, “why the f**k not?”  Musicals allows for a certain amount of freedom, a boundless amount of creativity, which is liberating yet terrifying at the same time.

Who's Afraid of Virg-- Wait. This s**t is bananas.

I chose Spring Awakening because I thought it would be extremely challenging for two reasons. One, it’s so extremely popular and everyone has a preconceived notion about the show already. I wanted to break this idea of what the show should be.  Second, the transition period from adolescence to adulthood that the characters face is something that we [as college students] are facing as well.

IC: What’s the most important thing you as a director try to focus on when putting together a show?

Farnaz: As a director, I make sure to keep the big picture in mind, while attending to all the small details at the same time. Keeping the end product in mind takes a indescribable amount of clarity and focus, while attention to every single detail takes an indescribable amount of patience, understanding, and willingness to collaborate.  Finding the balance between these two different roles is the primary focus of the director.

IC: How has your vision evolved since first proposing this show? What role does your pro staff and the actors play in that evolution?

Farnaz: Without my staff and actors, my vision would remain just that: a vision. I was really lucky to have the best production staff and cast a director could ask for. Before I met with each member of the production staff, I had a few months to myself to really think through every aspect of the show, to figure out what I wanted from each scene, each character, and ultimately what I wanted from the entire show. I had specific visuals meticulously planned out.

In terms of bringing these visuals, emotions, and this story to life, it was collaboration with my staff that really allowed my vision to evolve into something clear, lifelike, and beautiful. After talking through my vision with each staff member, their input helped bring the show to a new level.  Carl’s musical direction, Sarah’s choreography, John’s lighting, Matt and Francesca’s set design/execution, Abby’s costumes, Allison’s perspectives, and all of Mike Bond’s help truly strengthened and amplified my original vision, and to them I am extremely grateful and appreciative.

Director Farnaz Mansouri & Musical Director Carl Phillips collaborating to paint the stage/each-other's-faces.

And then we added the actors. No matter how many times I direct, actors will ALWAYS surprise me. I was fascinated and inspired by the depths each actor was willing to go with his/her character. They each gave such life to each role; it turned the production into something electrifying.

IC: What was one of those surprising moments?

Farnaz: I mean there are a lot. One is definitely the moment when the actors have epiphanies about their characters and say things that you’ve been waiting to hear since day one. That’s pretty awesome. Another would be that rehearsal when everything unexpectedly falls into place and out of nowhere you have an amazing show 1.5 weeks before opening night. Is that too specific?

[Editor’s note: No.]

IC: Why should college audiences come see this show?

Farnaz: For the same reason they tune into their favorite show every week, or go see a movie; it’s the escape into another world, where our minds easily follow another story line focused around others. Our bodies are at rest, while our minds are entertained. Theatre happens to be all the more electrifying, because it’s live. And this show is just f**king amazing, lets be real.

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So there it is. An interview with the legendary Farnaz Mansouri. Check back in tomorrow for an interview with members of the cast!!!

Also, here’s a gem of a picture of young Farnaz from her Cabbie-award winning performance as Mimi Schwinn in A New Brain:

You're Welcome. (Courtesy Rich Kowalski)

Get to Cabaret! See Spring Awakening! Do it! WOOOOO!

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 – 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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