Rapidly Approaching Opportunities!!!

Hey, hey, hey! I’ve got a bunch of updates for you about our beloved Cabaret Theatre, as well as some awesome opportunities! So make sure you pay close attention because there will be a quiz at the end!

Not really. They didn’t allow me to put a quiz on here.

Sadness.

Anywho! First thing’s first: The General Interest meeting!

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Yeah, that’s right. Our meeting was rated TV-14.

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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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A Letter To The Class of 2012

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

Chocolate Kitty. So February 2012.

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

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

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Dearest Cabbie Class of 2012,

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

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

Cabaret is a community of creators committed to being better.

And to being adorbz.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best of luck, and be excellent to each other.

From New Brunswick with love,

Joey

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

Be well, true believers, and stay tuned!

Photos, as always, via the fantabulous Rich Kowalski.

And for old time’s sake:

YES.

The Ladies of Eleemosynary: Jasia Ries

Happy Wednesday! The opening night of Eleemosynary is close at hand and final preparations are underway to make this amazing show come to life!

As you may have seen over the past few days, we have been chronicling the lives of the cast members of this beautiful production.

Last, and certainly not least, is Jasia Ries, the youngest member of the cast, playing the oldest character in the show, Dorothea.

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Fierce.

A first year student at Rutgers, Jasia made a very big entrance to Cabaret, appearing as the passionate Juror #11 in Twelve Angry Men last fall.

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Inside Cabaret: You’re only a freshman and you’ve already rocked the Cabaret stage twice! How’s your first year at Rutgers treating you?

Jasia: Crazy right? My first year has been wonderful, and Cabaret is largely to thank for that. I actually can’t even imagine what my year would have been like without it. I feel so lucky to be a part of this beautiful place.

IC:How do you feel playing an old lady, especially since you are technically the youngest member of the cast?

J: I don’t feel very young. But it’s funny, isn’t it? I’m actually pretty close in age to Echo, who is 16 when she is narrating, but even from the auditions I knew immediately I understood Grandma the best of the three. Age has very little to do with empathy, I think. Something about Dorothea just speaks to me. She is so full of life and she refuses to change for anyone. She tries her best to find good in people. She spends her entire life searching for the extraordinary, and encourages others to be extraordinary. She is so brave. But there is also an element of entrapment, a desire to escape, a dissatisfaction with reality. She’s an extreme case, but I think we all find our ways to escape. And we have all dreamed of flying, in one way or another.

IC: Most places I see you, including in most of the shows I’ve seen you in, you have been wearing one of many stylish scarves. Do you get to wear a scarf again? You wore a scarf in your first show. If yes, do you plan to make it a habit? Perhaps only doing Cabaret shows when scarves are involved?

J: Perhaps, perhaps. I am a fan of scarves. We shall see. I might not even audition unless I am promised a scarf. Or perhaps a dialect in the absence of a scarf, because I do that too sometimes.

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To see if Jasia is wearing a scarf or not, make your reservations now!

Want to reserve tickets to a performance?

Please e-mail cabtheatre@gmail.com with the following information:

1.) Your full name

2.) The Date and Time of the performance you wish to reserve tickets for.

3.) The quantity of tickets you wish to reserve.

** See our Reservation page for policies and additional information.

The Ladies of Eleemosynary: Sabrina Blackburn

The seats have been rearranged. The lights have been moved around. The sets have been built. And, on Friday, the next Cabaret Mainstage will open!

Eleemosynary is a play by Lee Blessing that tells the story of three generations of women – grandmother, mother, and daughter – all with extraordinary gifts and ambitions.  Through their collective memories, they explore the path of their lives both together and apart at a time when Dorothea has suffered a stroke and her granddaughter, Echo, faced with losing the only mother she ever knew, reaches out to Artemis, the mother she never knew.

Since there are only three lovely ladies gracing the stage, Inside Cabaret is going to dedicate a day to each of them.

Up first is Sabrina Blackburn, a senior, playing the role of Echo. She made her debut at Cabaret in Cloud 9, and recently appeared in Twelve Angry Men. She will probably go down in Rutgers Theater history for creating the character of ‘Booty-Drop Girl’ in LTC’s most recent ’24 Hour Musical.’

I couldn't find any photos of the booty dropping, but dramatic pen clicking will work just as well.

Inside Cabaret: So Sabrina, the past two shows you’ve done at Cabaret had relatively large casts. What is it like to work with only two other people? Did you have to change your approach?

Sabrina: This was such a unique experience to work with not only a small cast, but a small cast of women. With a small cast, you can really delve into each others relationships and history. You have to learn to accept, trust, and rely on your other cast members for there is only 3 of us on that big Cabaret stage.

IC: Tell me about Echo. What role does she play in the story? What do you think the audience will learn from Echo?

S: Echo is such a beautiful person inside and out. Through the rehearsal process, I have really fallen in love with this character. She is the central force binding her mother and grandmother together. The audience gets to see Echo’s journey from a 3 month old to womanhood. No matter what hardships Echo has to endure, she approaches them with an open heart.

IC: You’ve played a few diverse roles, each of which has shown a different side of Sabrina (little boy, lesbian, cereal promoter): what side will the audience see of you this weekend?

S: Haha! Yes, I have played quite an array of eclectic characters in college. I think you will see a genuine side, a subdued side, a side that sees the positive side in any situation. I see a lot of myself in Echo.

Eleemosynary opens Friday at 8:00pm at Cabaret Theater on the corner of Suydam and Nichol Avenue on Rutgers Douglass Campus. Make your reservations by emailing cabtheatre@gmail.com! There are only three performances and tickets are selling fast!

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

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

See it!

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

Maddie Orton. Producing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maddie and Ben "acting."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Upcoming here on Inside Cabaret:

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

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

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

Stay tuned!

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The Ridiculousness of Paula Vogel

A Self Serving Blog Post by an Obsessed Director

Paula & Me

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

Her plays are fast paced, vivid and exciting.

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

I'M COMING FOR YOUR BRAINZZZZ

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

Really, though.

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

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

1. The Oldest Profession

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

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

2. The Long Christmas Ride Home

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

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

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

3. And Baby Makes Seven

A family prepares for the arrival of their newborn children.

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

4. Hot N’ Throbbing

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

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

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

Heart. Bonus: Bear.

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

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

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

Also, it has boobs.

Boobs.

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

-Jordan Gochman

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

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