Important Information for a Very Important Play!!!

Hey there everybody! It’s Allie Kroeper and I’m back to the writer’s chair with some vital information about Cabaret’s first main stage of the year… The Normal Heart!!!

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(I’m also here to talk about other things, but I’ll get to that stuffs later!)

 

Due to the serious nature of The Normal Heart, I will proceed with less humor than usual.

[Director’s Note: You were being humorous in the past?]

 

Here is information from Cabaret’s Sakai site:

The Normal Heart is a play focused on the rise of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City between 1981 and 1984, as seen through the eyes of writer/activist Ned Weeks, the gay Jewish-American founder of a prominent HIV advocacy group.

Production Staff:

Tyler Picone – Director

James Duffy – Creative Team

Jamie King – Creative Team

Chris Price – Stage Manager

Cast:
Dan Fisher – Ned Weeks
Donovan Smalls – Bruce Niles
Nikko Espina – Felix Turner
Alyssa Krompier – Dr. Emma Brookner
Dan VG – Michael Marcus
Jason Zomback – Tommy Boatwright
Nick McNamara – Ben Weeks
Alex Vetterlein – Grady/Craig
Michael Maxham – Hiram Keebler/David

Tickets:
$7 for Students/Staff/Faculty
$12 for General Admission

Opening night proceeds will go to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. All shows will also sell armbands towards the cause.

Email cabtheatre@gmail.com for advanced reservations. Please specify your name, the number of tickets you wish to purchase and the date/time of the show you wish to attend. Our shows sell out quickly so making a reservation is the smart way to get yourself a seat!*

*Note: Reservations are not guaranteed. Patrons with reservations must arrive at least one half-hour prior to the stated performance time to purchase their tickets. Reservations may be voided at the discretion of the Box Office Management twenty minutes prior to the scheduled performance to accommodate any patrons on the waiting list or any walk-up sales.

This production of The Normal Heart contains Trigger Language. We recommend this show for mature audiences only.

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All that being said, if you want to see some kick-ass acting in action, then reserve your tickets today, ’cause that kick-ass show starts TOMORROW!!!

 

Here is some more hard-hitting information:

If you are interested in raising awareness about domestic violence and sexual assault via Cabaret Theatre, join Marisa Irabli and the Institute of Women’s Leadership for a very important project: ACT (Affective Catharsis through Theatre). ACT is a collaborative effort aimed to raise awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault issues in our community while providing a cathartic and safe space for its participants.

This project also provides opportunities for writing, acting and stage managing!

October 19, 11:59pm – Writing submissions and anyone who is interested in acting must email Marisa Irabli at mirabli@eden.rutgers.edu.

October 21 – Actors will be assigned a piece. (****PLEASE keep in mind that not every piece sent in will be chosen, for length and content purposes, although all submissions are greatly appreciated!****)

Dates TBD – 3 rehearsals (The first half of show is the first rehearsal, the second half of show is the second rehearsal. Everyone together is the third rehearsal.)

November 3-November 7 – Tech week (includes blocking, lighting, clean up, etc.)

November 8, 8pm – SHOW NIGHT!

Email Marisa Irabli or Special Events Coordinator, Courtney King at clk10@eden.rutgers.edu for more information!

And congrats to Marisa for being chosen for the Fall 2013 Special Project Slot!!!

 

Now for the lighter news:

What is our second main stage of the year, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you!

(But only because I’m contractually obligated to do so.)

It is [title of show] and it has been cast, yay!!!

 

The [title of show] cast is as follows:

Jeff: Justin Brown

Hunter: Gabe Marquez

Heidi: Natasha Sydor

Susan: Kristen Ferris

Piano Player, “Mary”: Lauren Burcheri

 

The Production staff is as follows:

Director: Courtney King

Assistant Director: The Best Person Ever (that’s me)

Musical Director: Rachel Horner

Stage Manager: LilyAnn Foster

Piano Player, “Mary”: Lauren Burcheri (This is a cool half-production-staff/half-role type of dealio. She’s got the best of both worlds!)

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That’s right. Forever.

 

In other news…I am coordinating the 2013 Directors Showcase!!!

What, what?!?!?!

This year the Showcase consists of 4 amazing plays, directed by 4 amazing directors!!!

 

Our directors are:

Kayla Votapek

Christen Demnitz

Steph Van Huss

Jasia Ries

 

And I’d like to make a quick shout out to our awesome Stage Manager, Steph van Oppen!! (She’s so on top of things!)

And yet another quick shout out to Kate Barron (Cabaret’s Artistic Director) for being such an incredible help with this production!!!

 

Look out for more information on the Showcase, [title of show], and Marisa’s Special Project in the blog entries to come!!

 

Allie Kroeps over and out!!!

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Auditions, Auditions, Auditions!!

Hey there again, faithful Cabaret-ers!

I’m back again so soon with really great audition opportunities!!

First up for all you aspiring actors out there: the Directors’ Showcase auditions!

If you don’t know what the Directors’ Showcase is, then no problem! I’ll just tell you right now! (Actually this is a problem. Get out.)

Continue reading

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 – 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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HIL2D, Part 4; An Interview with a Former Producer and Current Audience Member

Tonight’s the night! The second weekend of How I Learned To Drive at Cabaret Theatre begins tonight at 8 pm! Reserve your tickets now by e-mailing cabtheatre@gmail.com!

See it!

If you’ve already reserved tickets are now simply watching the seconds tick away, barreling closer and closer to showtime, take a moment now to read this brief interview with former Cabaret producer, Madeline Orton!

Maddie Orton. Producing.

Maddie was producer of Cabaret during the 2008-2009 season, and she appeared in and worked on several productions before that, including The Wild Party, The Philadelphia Story, and [the] HAIR.

Inside Cabaret was able to ask Maddie a few questions after she experienced the sheer awesomeness of HIL2D last Saturday. She was flanked by equally prestigious Cabaret alumni, Joanna Karausz (of Crimes of The Heart and The Cocktail Hour fame) and Ben Regan (of HAIR, Assassins, Philadelphia Story, and a whole lot more; he also appeared as Officer Lockstock in the Livingston Theatre Company’s production of Urinetown, which this lowly Cabbie saw and loved and dreamed about for years).

Joanna, Ben, and Maddie - in the afterglow of HIL2D

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Inside Cabaret: What was it like being back in Cabaret? How is it different? How is it the same?

Maddie: Cabaret looks great! She’s just like Helen Mirren—gets better with age. It felt really good to be back in the theater. Different because there have been some nice improvements (the lobby looks amazing), but still the same because that great energy that comes with a Cabaret production is alive and thriving.

Much like Helen Mirren, Cabaret also renders John Malkovich irrelevant.

IC: What do you miss most about Cabaret? What have you been happy to do without?

Maddie: I miss the excitement of putting my heart and soul into a project with some of my closest friends. I don’t miss the stress of putting my heart and soul into a project with some of my closest friends. It was almost impossible to have one without the other, but always worth it.

Maddie and Ben "acting."

IC: How was HIL2D? Given your respective stage experience, what’s it like being in the audience? What goes through your head?

How I Learned to Drive was really great. That space is so unique and intimate; it’s a real art picking a show that takes advantage of that. (A great cast and smart set design don’t hurt either!)

My time at Cabaret does affect how I experience the show as an audience member, but in a great way. I performed in 7 shows at Cabaret and was producer my senior year, so I’m very familiar with the challenges of putting up a show with limited funds, time constraints, etc. BUT some of the coolest art comes from having to work around those things. (Did you know the coconut shells in that iconic Monty Python and the Holy Grail scene were used because of budgetary constraints? True story.) Cabaret shows are even more impressive when you know the (far too small) production budgets, how difficult it is to finish course work AND rehearse for a show, and the amount of work that goes into making a show happen. The concepts people come up with and the creative executions of these ideas are always exciting to watch!

Film Noir = An Entire GENRE and VISUAL AESTHETIC based on the premise of "We Have No Budget." Eat your heart out Monty Python.

IC: Other comments: a favorite memory, a life update, shout out, announcement, disparaging remark, inflammatory statement, etc.

Maddie: One of my all-time favorite memories is the leaky roof performance of Crimes of the Heart. There had been this recurring leak above the stage that, as a stopgap measure, we covered with plastic to catch the drops during the performance.

I had just been taught in my acting class that when something goes wrong onstage, you should consider it a gift because it can make a scene you’ve done 100 times feel different and fresh. So, when it became apparent that the plastic might not hold out under the pressure of the drops that had pooled up over the course of the evening, I just kept thinking, ”This is a gift.” [Drip.] “This is a gift!” [Drip.] “This is GIFT!”

And a millisecond after one of the actors moved away from his chair, all the water splashed down onto the chair and the audience died laughing. (It’s hard to explain away a surprise rainstorm in a kitchen.) It really was a gift though, because everyone in the theatre (actors and audience alike) shared this brand new experience at the same time and tried so hard not to laugh—and all failed miserably.

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Special thanks to Maddie, Ben, and Joanna for coming out to see the show. If you’re an alumni and/or an audience member, feel free to submit a review or a manifesto to cabtheatre@gmail.com! It may be published up here on Inside Cabaret!

Upcoming here on Inside Cabaret:

– WTF else are we doing at Cabaret Theatre? Hint: Eleemosynary & Spring Awakening! And a play festival. And surviving.

– WTF else do we do at Cabaret Theatre? Hint: Build things, Write things, Teach things, Dance… things…

– WTF are we doing on this planet? Hint: 42.

Stay tuned!

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

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

Recent Current Events.

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

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

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

TL;DR

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

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

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

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

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

Lil' Bit </3 School

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

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

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

Emotional Restraint.

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's A Metaphor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Cabaret - Challenging the Definition of Love Since 1975

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

For more questions and info, click here.