It's Lit: The Musical

 when Justin took this photo, his camera didn't capture any of the fire so i enhanced the pic a bit ;)

when Justin took this photo, his camera didn't capture any of the fire so i enhanced the pic a bit ;)

People should see this show because there’s a lot of talent in it, that’s for damn sure. It’s a cool way to start the year - and also there’s no work to do this weekend because it’s syllabus week so...what else are you gonna do besides see this show?
— Ajit J. Mathews (Junior, Accounting)

The Back to School Revue is upon us once more, with a cast, pro-staff, and pit that is most definitely 12 fire emojis out of 10 fire emojis. While today's media is focused on all of the troubling aspects of the world, the e-boards of Cabaret and LTC, as well as the Rutgers Theatre Community in general, wanted to shine some light during a particularly dim time in society. In darkness, we can always find light, and for this weekend only you'll be able to find some light by watching Illuminations: A Musical Revue, co-directed by Emily Reineke and Julia Mendes.

Yesterday, I had my first creative writing class of the semester. We analyzed a poem by Maggie Smith entitled, "Good Bones", and discussed whether the speaker was an optimist or a pessimist when she writes about the world being "fifty percent terrible". Completely unrelated to the fact that it's the middle of tech week, my mind kept drifting back to the revue and it's constant back and forth between songs with positive emotions and those with negative emotions. We as humans on this beautiful green and blue (well, kinda) earth have so many things to talk about. However, our newspapers and media outlets seem to only be discussing the bad parts. War. Riots. Racism. Hunger. Death. Dirty Politics. Donald Trump's existence in general. We need some light.

 candid of [cast member] doin some "dramatic looks"

candid of [cast member] doin some "dramatic looks"

Our insanely talented cast will take you through the many different emotions that we all must be feeling - except we do it through song and dance and dramatic looks. 

In case you didn't know, I am a co-music director for this show, which means that it's not super weird when I go up to people, shove my phone in their face, and ask them to answer my questions. We have an insane amount of talent and character and lovely lookin faces in this cast and they had a lot to say about this show and about the different social issues our society is trying to work t

One of the coolest parts about Illuminations is the choreography. Alex Albanese (Senior; Theatre Major, Music Minor) worked his butt off (literally) to get our cast into shape. Since the revue is a smorgasbord of songs from different genres, he pulled from his experiences in different shows and even conducted his own research on different time periods to make the dances accurate. In pieces like "Til It Happens to You" and "In", he even tries to bring in gestures that make you think about today's social issues. It's pretty awesome, you'll see when you watch it.

My lovely co-music director, Liam McGeary (Junior, Jazz Education)  and I had an awesome time learning the ins and outs of the songs and rehearsing it with this killer cast. It's been an extremely rewarding experience for the both of us. When I asked him about his initial thoughts about the setlist for the show, he said "I heard about the setlist before I even accepted the position, and Emily told me that Fix You was in it, and I said 'Yes, I'm in' because that's my favorite song in the world. I was familiar with a few of the songs; The songs I knew, I loved, and the songs I didn't know, I now love."

For those of you who don't know, my very talented friend and colleague, Taylor Rehe, arranged 7 out of the 20 songs that are in this show. Just another example of how much talent this school and this theatre company has. I was very lucky to have worked with these two musicians and artists during this entire process. 

These "Issues" That Everyone is Talking about

Clearly, our world isn't perfect. We def got some stuff to work out not only as Americans, but as a human race. I asked some of the cast and pro-staff of Illuminations about social issues that were important to them and why.

"Our Voice Isn't Silent". I feel like this happens a lot in the LGBT community that there are all these amazing protesters and people who go out for Pride, but that's only so few of our community. I feel like there are a lot of us who don't get the chance to speak out and if they try to, it's squashed immediately - depending on where they live, their religion, etc. I'm lucky enough that my voice isn't silent, and I want to acknowledge those whose voices are. -Alex





"Stand For the Silent" When I was growing up I was bullied a lot, and I always think it's ridiculous how people are still being bullied today and people don't really talk about it. you hear about these people who commit suicides all the time and there has to be someone, a voice out there for everyone and I want to be a voice for people who can't stand up for themselves. -Brandon Conti (Communications, 5th Year)




"Rape is Rape. No Means No." This is an issue that is very present on college campuses today, especially with certain universities and people in power who aren't always handling it correctly. For instance, Stanford recently banned alcohol in order to deal with the issue of sexual assault. I want people to know that Rutgers University, especially people among the student theatre community, is not going to stand for that. We stand with victims and hope for a better future for victims of rape and people who are close to them. -Maya Mitterhoff (Sophomore, Music Education)

Illuminations is a great display of overarching talent and everyone can see how well we all work together and how much fun we have doing what we love.
— Ben Weise, Guitarist (Sophomore, Music)

The Directing Team

Musical revues are unique in that they are completely made up by the directors and the production staff. Both of our directors, Julia Mendes and Emily Reineke, spent a lot of time choosing songs and finessing the set order and making sure each song was relevant to the universal message of Illuminations. After a long rehearsal, I sat with Emily in our kitchen (ya, we're still roommates) to talk about what this process was like. 

"I saw a video on Facebook of the Gay Men's Chorus of New York City and they were singing 'Light' from Next to Normal on GMA. They were performing as a tribute to the victims of Pulse night club in Orlando and it was very powerful. I was with my sister at the time and we knew that me, Julia, and the rest of the e-boards of both companies would be writing the revue, and so we went to work. We literally sat there for three hours putting pieces of songs together, knowing that 'Light' would be the final number of the show and that would the inspiration for the whole thing."

Most of you reading this probably haven't been to any rehearsals, but I can tell you right now that I cry every time this cast sings this song. 'Light' is my 'Fix You', and it's a huge reason why I joined this production staff to do this show. That being said, please dear loRT do not turn around during this song to watch me cry - it would make me feel v uncomfy and you'd also be missing out on the art that is right in front of you. 

Screen Shot 2016-09-09 at 1.29.41 PM.png

For you curious minds, I asked the directors what their favorite songs in the show are. Julia Mendes (Senior, Music Education) says that 'The Times They Are A-Changin' is hers. "Even though it was written decades ago, it's endlessly relevant. Just take a listen to the lyrics, you'll hear it immediately. As for Emily, she had a couple. "I love Til It Happens to You into Fix You. The whole cast is so committed to them. The dance is beautiful - Alex did a great job - the vocals are literally so on point and everyone is really connected to the reason why we're doing this show, and it really comes through in the performance."

The Ghost Light

Our directing and technical teams put a lot of thought into the set for the show. One very important component is the ghost light, which was built by skilled and very talented technical directors. 

"The ghost light in a professional theatre stays onstage to protect the theatre from ghosts, or ward off spirits, and it's become a thing so the theatre always has a light in it. when Julia and I were talking about things for the show, we thought a ghost light would be a perfect representation for us not only because we are two theatre companies coming together, but also because no matter what's going on, you could be in a dark place but there will always be some form of light you can look toward to 'ward off the demons'." -Emily Reineke (Senior, Music Education)


And with some wise words from Albus, I leave you. This show has been an incredible journey for everyone involved. Come join us, it's lit.


A special thanks to Justin Jajalla for all of these amazing shots of the show. Check him out!

Guess who's back (back, back), back again ('gain, 'gain)

HELLO AGAIN, THEATRE LOVERS! Your friendly neighborhood Anna is back and ready for action in yet another jam-packed year at Cabaret Theatre! I'd first like to extend a warm welcome to any freshies who might have already received some good fortune by stumbling upon this blog. We here at Cab can't wait to see all of your n00b faces at our first gathering (date TBD, but it'll be v soon!), set builds, auditions, and of course, the audience! Check out our table at the Fall Involvement Fair for more info, some awesome people, and a spinning wheel where you might win a balloon hat from yours truly ;)

Here's how my summer went: I worked at a summer camp and spent a lot of time outside. Yes, I now have a shorts tan, sock tan, and a lopsided watch tan (I can't wait for sweater weather). I finished season 11 of Criminal Minds on Netflix and am so confused as to how there could be another season of an already long show. I saw 3 fantastic shows: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Waitress, and the Off-Broadway show Green Card. I also joined the pro-staff for Illuminations: A Musical Revue as a co-music director! Things that didn't happen include: not getting funnier, not learning how to properly photoshop pictures, getting a better quality phone for better quality blog pictures. Sorry, fam.

Speaking of shows, we have some AWESOME ones happening this year! First one is right around the corner, and tickets are selling fast!

As a Cabaret Theatre/Livingston Theatre Company collaborative production, the Back-to School Revue will be kickstarting our year! Directed by our very own Producer, Emily Reineke, and the LTC Managing Director, Julia Mendes, this show is sure to shed some "light" on the darker parts of life. Not being biased or anything, but I hear it's pretty #lit and you shouldn't miss out. The show premieres this weekend *only* - check out the new online ticketing system to get yours today! For a sneak peek, check out our performance at the Involvement Fair tomorrow at 3:15 on the Brower Steps!

Quickly following the revue are our auditions for Boeing Boeing! Check out the event page on Facebook for more info on the show itself and the audition information. We'd love to see you next week - September 12 - 14!

For updates on the season, make sure you're following our Facebook page, Twitter (@RutgersCabaret), Instagram (cabaret_theatre), and our brandy new SNAPCHAT account (@rutgerscabaret)!!! Of course, I'll be here making posts throughout the year about all the cool stuff happening, blurry photos and bad jokes included.

Miss my posts and already can't wait for my next one? Don't fret, internet peoples. I'll be back in just a few days to tell you about Illuminations and how many fire emojis I would rate it with. 

OH ALSO - your favorite black box theatre has just undergone some new renovations, so you most definitely have to come hang with us and check them out ~*~*

Peace, luv, n chicken nuggets, 

Anna :)

This is New Brunswick - Bohemia is Very Much Alive, tyvm

 awww s'cute :) 

awww s'cute :) 

How RU gonna pay this year's Rent (tickets)?!

Get ready for my final collection of Really Freaking Blurry PIctures Taken At Cabaret - Rent Edition. As one of the most popular musicals of our generation, Rent takes us through the lives of a group of some cool cats in New York's East Village in the days of Bohemian Alphabet City, where they're trying to get through life as young artists, and some with the struggle of HIV/AIDS . Whether you've somehow never seen a stage version or the movie version or if you regularly have sing alongs with your friends (it's not lame and you know it), I know for a fact that you've never seen Rent at Cabaret! I should tell you, I should tell you - do NOT miss out on your chance. 

Rent, in the shortest possible terms, is about the celebration of life.
— Kyle Buchanon, Director

I am a huge fan of the show myself, so seeing it on a Rutgers stage with many of my talented friends was amazing. This post in particular is great because instead of trying to concentrate on understanding the storyline during their rehearsals, I got to sit back and really watch them perform - and then I got to talk to them about it offstage, too! Get ready for many feelings, something that is rare coming from me. Here we go -  


One of the biggest take-aways from the show is its incredible message. Through songs like Seasons of Love, I'll Cover You, and both Finale numbers, Jonathon Larson makes audiences aware of how short life can truly be, and how we have to take advantage of its opportunities before its too late.

In talking to the cast members, I found it so awesome that they had such inspiring messages to send to their audience.

Fam 4 Lyfe

 *insert one of the millions of awesome lyrics from la vie boheme here*

*insert one of the millions of awesome lyrics from la vie boheme here*

Something that's unique to the performing arts is the close bond that is developed among the cast members, the crew, and the staff. This specific group of people has never been assembled before that show, and after it ends, nor will it ever be again. Asking the performers "What do you think of your cast and crew?" is one of my favorite things because everyone, without fail, gets this really cute smile on their face while they think about all of their great memories together, and then they ramble on and on about how undoubtedly fantastic they are. Dominick Scalera (Food Science, Sophomore) is in the male ensemble, and said "This cast is incredibly talented and each of them have some type of note/riff that they kill me with at every practice. Kyle and his vision are absolutely amazing. Every time that something beautiful hits in the show, he makes a face that makes him look like a toddler that just wet his diaper and I think it's adorable."

[please take this moment to imagine what that face might look like]

[I am laughing]

The nature of the show lends itself to getting the cast to be super close and tight-knit group. We don't have a lot in common, but we just get along so well. It's such an awesome group, and when we come together it's a really great time. -Liam McGeary (Music Education, Sophomore)


Dreams Do Come True in Cabaret Theatre!

 deep in thought

deep in thought

Rent is mad popular, and is probably the favorite musical of every 3rd person you meet (#science). This is both awesome and not that awesome at the same time, and Jonah Levinson (Chemistry, Junior) who plays Mark will tell you why: "I grew up listening to Rent. It's one of my all time favorite musicals. Getting to be in the show was a dream come true. The thing that's always difficult with being familiar with a show is having to separate yourself from previous portrayals of the character. No one wants to be or watch a carbon copy of an actor who has played the character before."

Like I said before, you're never going to be able to see Cabaret Theatre's production of Rent after they close next week, so why regret it later?

 tfw u wanna open a restaurant in santa fe

tfw u wanna open a restaurant in santa fe

Speaking of dreams come true, sooooo many of the cast members have expressed how grateful they are to be playing their dream roles. Justin Luckenbaugh (Math and Economics major, Physics minor, Senior)says that Rent has been his dream show since middle school, and Collins has been on his list for "FOREVER". Jillian Hanna (Theatre and Psychology, Junior) has been waiting to play this role since she was a kid. "I was in complete shock when I saw the cast list. I was like 'Pinch me, there's no way this is real.'  I never expected this opportunity to come so soon, and I'm just so grateful and ecstatic." Bernadette Burke (Music Education, Senior), or DJ Bernadizzle on the weekends (her words, not mine), commented on how "a dream come true" is a cliché that she just couldn't avoid when it came to this show. "I've been in love with Rent for the last 10 years and it's awesome being able to bring it to life in one of my favorite spaces."

 rt if u cri evry tim

rt if u cri evry tim

Paolo Arceo (Psychology and Theatre, Sophomore) says that Rent is one of his favorite shows of all time! "I became familiar with it because my vocal coach was actually the Original Joanne in the 1996 Broadway production! Knowing the show and having her as my coach made me so excited and honored to be part of this production."

[please take this moment to reflect how how fREAKING COOL THAT IS, LIKE WUT]



I have been listening to the Rent soundtrack for the last 3 days, in between watching the dress rehearsals and writing this blog post, and I gotta say - it's very distracting. The amount of times I've accidentally typed out song lyrics is ridikulus, and I just stopped caring about people looking at me weird on the bus - because lets be real here, seeing the squirrel man on the bus is weirder than a sleep-deprived girl intensely mouthing song lyrics in the back.

Favorite Song? This is difficult, since this is my favorite musical. I’m gonna go with Goodbye Love, I’ll Cover You (Reprise) and Will I? because apparently, I enjoy being sad.
— Jillian Hanna (Theatre and Psychology, Junior)

My favorite song in the show is "Seasons of Love" because 1) I'm basic and 2) I sang it in the sixth grade for chorus, and it was the first musical theatre song I had ever been exposed to, so it holds a really special place in my boxy and frigid heart :')

Dom's favorite is "Out Tonight/Another Day". I could describe why, but I think y'all need the exact wording: "Even though I'm supposed to remain frozen in the loft, my body wants to do some dank dance moves, primarily with my booty [am I allowed to type this? let's find out!]. I wanna pop, and lock, and [jam and break!] dab like one of the cool kids. Also, the way Liv hollas at Liam 'There's only yes' just fills me like a cannoli, except with feels instead of cream." Oh, Dom. You kill me. Make sure you all stare him down during that number, because I sure will be.

I think my favorite song is “Without You”. It’s where the show makes its turn in mood and is such a delicate moment in the show for so many of the characters, especially Mimi, who is watching her best friend die and her boyfriend slowly pushing her away.
— Olivia Accardo (Biology, Freshman)

Totally Kyle

Warning: Kyle Buchanon (Music Education, Senior) is amazing and has written really beautiful answers to my interview questions, and I don't wanna leave any of it out because I legit teared up while reading it so I'm just gonna copy and paste this ish. You're welcome.

Describe your love for this show.

 just doin some tango

just doin some tango

I saw the touring production with Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal (original Mark and Roger) for my 15th birthday and immediately fell in love with the show. I saw it with my parents (some awkward moments lol) and my very dear friend, Da Ye. Shortly after, I found out Da Ye would be moving, making the show's "no day but today" mantra so much more relevant to my life. Those next 2 months I will always remember as the summer of Rent. I couldn't tell you how many times we watched the filmed live on Broadway DVD. Since then, my love of the show has grown. As I've gotten older and experienced my own loves and losses I'm able to appreciate the show even more. What I love most about the show is how honest and forward it is. Nothing is sugar coated, there really isn't a "happy" ending, though it is hopeful, and there's a certain rawness and edge to it that makes it resonate with everyone in some capacity.

Describe your love for this cast, crew, and pro-staff.

 2 seconds after the run ended

2 seconds after the run ended

This pro-staff is very near and dear to my heart. I've worked with all of them on multiple occasions and in various capacities. Ajit and I have been a part of 8 shows together in less than 2 years, same with Tyler. I think between the 7 of us on the production staff, we've done something like 40 shows total. I'm able to communicate what I need from each pro-staff member and they do it and do it well. Everyone on this staff is great at what they do. Take Allie (or choreographer). I don't do choreo. At all. I can't dance. I'm an awkward mover just no... Yet somehow Allie understood literally everything I wanted. For example, for Santa Fe I told Allie I wanted something fluid, flowing and I did a little awkward Squidward-like interpretive dance with my arms. Somehow with those three bits of information Allie created exactly what I had in my head. And this happened for literally every choreo number. I'm convinced Allie can somehow see what's in my mind.

 fantastic ensemble peoplez

fantastic ensemble peoplez

The cast situation is really cool because I've worked with most of them before. Some I've known of for a while. Others are newcomers. What I particularly love about this cast is their ability to collaborate with me and Gina for blocking, crafting, all that jazz. We would have a framework established for them, and then we would work together to make it their own. It's been really fun to work with all of them to make this show our own.

What's your favorite line in the show?

How am I supposed to pick a favorite line?! There's so many gems..... I really can't decide. If I had to choose I would probably say "I'm used to relying on intellect, but I try to open up to what I don't know". This line never really resonated with me much until this year. I've always been a pretty methodical person, but up until this year I've learned to kind of just live and let things happen. There's no sense being afraid of the unknown. I've embraced it and taken many leaps of faith this year and each time I feel like I've landed on my feet.



Or of course "measure in love". The love we give and the love we receive really should be how we evaluate our lives and time. Ajit actually did this "measure in love" project for me as a Christmas gift. In the box were 100 slips of paper, rolled and tied shut. I was to read one slip each day from New Year's Eve to opening of Rent. Each slip contained a memory of me from a different person each day. The whole thing really gave me time to reflect on all the people who have come into my life. So yeah.. The whole measure in love thing really hits me. (Your slip, Anna, was actually one of the most touching ones I received. You wrote about your MGSA audition and how I helped you feel relaxed and calm before the audition, something that just seemed like an ordinary thing meant a lot to you.)


There are so many other great things that these beautiful people talked to me about, but I can hear the sound guys in the back playing the transition music in attempt to cue me off the stage. Bottom line is that Cabaret's last mainstage is the bomb-diggity, Kyle is an inspiration, and Rutgers has some of the most talented people in the universe (#morescience). Get your tickets.

You should come to EXPERIENCE Rent. This show is about celebrating life. Therefore, anyone with a heartbeat should see this show. But if you don’t have a heartbeat, don’t come because you’re a zombie and I’m not caught up on The Walking Dead yet.
— Dom Scalera, aka Squeegeeman

Support Student Theatre - Come See OPF!

Welcome back, Rutgers! I hope all of your spring breaks were filled with sleep and food and happiness and freedom and a lot of netflix! Spring break may be over, but the fun doesn't end there - Cabaret Theatre has your weekend planned out for you once again!!

As we all know, Rutgers has some of the most talented students in the universe, and Cabaret Theatre is proud to produce a show that is *completely* student run - our 8th annual Original Play Festival has shows that were written, directed, and performed by students. This means that this is the first time anyone will have seen these plays onstage, and this weekend has your oNLY 3 chances to see them. 

Are you still reading this? Hopefully you've just come back from clicking our box office tab at the top to reserve your ticket. If I haven't swayed you yet, I'm gonna do that thing where I talk vaguely about the show for a really long time in an attempt to convince you to spend your money on us!

People should come to see OPF because this is the future of theatre. We often look back to great works by great artists and playwrights, however we often forget that there is a new generation which will serve as the great works in years to come. It’s exciting to present new works by Rutgers students and have the opportunity to showcase the future of theatre.
— Emily Reineke (Music Education - Voice, Junior), OPF Coordinator

Here Now, Maybe Later

Alright so don't lie to me right now, or to your computer screen - y'all have either once had an account on a certain firey online meetup app and used it, or know about it and are mildly curious as to what's it's all about. I know, we've all been there, it's fine, we're getting past it. 

Kenneth Laboy takes us through a story that's just the right amount of awkward to be funny in his play Here Now, Maybe Later, directed by Jacqueline Malzone. Jacqueline (Political Science, Senior) is a first-time director who was working with 2 newbs in Rutgers Theatre, and said her biggest challenge was during the audition process. "I'm horrible at making decisions, so it was a struggle trying to choose among some really talented actors who came out to audition. It was really great, though, because I had the support of the e-board to sit down with me and help me figure out what was going to work best with the show." 

Speaking of talented cast members, Ryan Morey (Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science, Sophomore) described his experience working on a show about an online dating meetup with 2 people he's never met before joining this cast. "It was a little awkward at the beginning; you're sitting down with a script about a tinder meetup with someone you don't know and are still getting to know. It's a small cast, and the 3 of us bonded really well. We got a good flow going, so it quickly went from something pretty awkward to something a lot more comfortable and I had a lot of fun doing it."

Look at Jennifer Ngandu hanging out on the couch looking so warm and comfy. Do not miss your chance to come see her and Ryan in OPF!



Molly's Path

Does it really matter which path in life you take? Do you believe in destiny? Do you wanna watch a show that asks both of these questions? I only know that the answer to the third question is "duh". 

Alex Albanese (Theatre and Communications Double Major and Music Minor, Junior) directs Molly's Path, written by Shayna Carney, which is a show about life and dreams and whether you fulfill your dreams in your life and all those other great parts about growing up. As director, Alex faced the challenge of trying to schedule rehearsals around the 3 other shows he was a part of. Luckily, his cast is fire and they got through it in a short amount of time. "Rehearsal was very nice and we all had great ideas for the show, and it was a very open environment. I really enjoyed it!"

Jon Dawson (Voice Performance, Sophomore), who plays Patrick, is new to the Cabaret stage, and was talking to me about how his first experience in our house was very close-up. "I've never performed in a small setting like this before, so it's kind of daunting performing and having everyone so up close to you, but it's a lot more personal and I really enjoy it, so I'm excited to perform."

Come get up-close and personal with Jon and the rest of the cast of Molly's Path!

Three Flowers

What is Love? *as haddaway plays eerily in the distance* Hell if I know. Join us in Alana's journey of love and happiness and discovery and self-acceptance in Kelly McCarthy's original play, directed by Kat Beliavski. 

Kat, who has only ever been on a Cabaret pro-staff once before, has had a blast working with her amazing cast. From the thrills of late night rehearsals in random lecture halls and having to change the blocking a mere 48 hours before opening night, she's had a whirlwind of an experience. "I didn't get to see the transitions into and during the play until two days before opening night...and that's when I realized none of them were working out the way I would have liked. So at 1 in the morning, less than 48 hours before our audience is set to come in, I decide to re-stage, re-design, and re-light the entire show. Thankfully, Emily - the OPF coordinator, the tech crew, and the entire cast were extremely supportive and worked together to help change the production to fit my new vision. Having such a great group of people willing to put in the extra work is something I am incredibly grateful for because it really shows how dedicated they are to their art. I can't thank them all enough for all of their tremendous help." I was there when this happened, and I can honestly say that I was very impressed at her taking this risk, and then at how smoothly the changes were executed among the cast and staff. Brava to all!

Selina Garcia (Economics, Senior), who funnily enough plays the character named Selina, was talking to me while this blocking change was happening (I'm not a distraction, I swear) and talked to me extensively about how she got to know her character and her backstory, which involved a lot of introspection about her character's sexuality. She loved the process and working with the cast and Kat. She even shared a funny memory-

"There was one time where Emily and I were rehearsing the smoking scene and a police officer came into the room and actually asked us if we were huffing the highlighters that we were using as a proxy for the actual joints - we swore we were acting, but he totally didn't believe us. He just gave us this look and said 'just make sure you turn the lights off when you leave.'"

Look! Cabaret's got some rebel actors apparently - highlighters will totally the next new cool thing, just you wait. 

One of the things I love most about OPF is the ability to have your playwright right there with you whenever you need, and I think that’s a great way to enhance the production because that’s not usually a luxury you get in the theatre world.
— Kat Beliavski (Theatre Arts, Junior)

Dear Dashboard

I'm sure none of you are strangers to the classic deep car talks with your life long best friend - ish can get real. This play definitely gets real deep, while still keeping up with some comical moments about music and movies as well. 

Kelly McCarthy (Theatre Arts Major and Music Minor, Senior) directed Dear Dashboard, written by Justice Hehir, and this was her first time ever directing a show. She sought to guide her actors in a direction that was "as real as possible". "I wanted it to be not so much a production, but people looking into two people having a conversation. I did a lot of character work, and drew from my experiences with other directors, as well as having my actors connecting with each other through the mind and body."

Toni Pollitt (Theatre Major and Entrepreneurship Minor, Senior) talked further about all the character work they did, and said "The way it's written, the way Justice writes, is very 'slice of life' and there was a lot of room to fill in the blanks, so we did a lot of work on backstories for our characters, and that was really fun!" 

Pick your own slice of life with this cast and the rest of OPF by coming to hang out with us this weekend!

The Museum at Clifton Park

Are you into art history? Are you into delinquent shenanigans? Then this is the show for you! It's got all the drAma you crave - lying, arguing, stealing! 

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 12.13.06 AM.png

Written by Cody Beltis and directed by Dalton Zogleman, this cast of four new Cabaret actors takes you through two different stories that end up meshing together in an art museum. I caught up with Dalton (Theatre, 5th Year Senior), who said that this rehearsal process was pretty interesting because there were a bunch of revisions that were made throughout the whole thing. "It was really cool to work with the playwright as the piece was developing, because we were able to talk about what works and what didn't work. As he came in with new things, we were able to mix it up and implement new stuff!" 

 One of these four cast members is Katherine Freedman, who plays Cecile. A newbie to Rutgers Theatre, this is also her first time being in a straight play. We discussed how much she enjoyed her first time at Cabaret, especially in working with Dalton. "I feel privileged to have him as a director! It's only a 20 minute long thing, but at the end of every show we get notes, and he pays attention to even the smallest details. The other day he told me 'Ya know, your foot sometimes hits your cup. You hit it a couple times and I got anxious.' It's really helpful and I've really appreciated it."

I feel like you've all gotten the gist. Come to OPF. 

It’s unique because it’s a small theatre, really intimate, and these shows are about things that a student was passionate enough about to wanna share. You get to learn about people’s stories that they want to convey to you.”
— Katherine Freedman (Voice Performance, Junior)



Hoping to "Get It"? SAME - if you're talking about getting a ticket to A Chorus Line!



Hello again, internet peoples! I hope you're all surviving the gross, rainy weather and that you're pumped to read more of my bad jokes and look at my unbelievably blurry iphone 5 pictures - all in an attempt to get you to come to Cab to watch some more great theatre!

The craze this weekend is A Chorus Line, directed by Shayna Carney! A timeless classic in the musical theatre repertoire, A Chorus Line takes us through the lives of aspiring dancers and performers trying to make it big and land one of the 8 coveted chorus spots. After the first group is cut, the audience has the chance to delve into the lives of the remaining dancers and see just how many different ways they came into this business. They give you laughs, they give you tears, they give you moments where you don't really know what face you're supposed to be making, and for all of you fellow performers, I'm sure it won't be the first time you hear some of these stories, or something similar. 

A Chorus Line teaches us that in order to work, act, and be as one, we must embrace each other’s different personalities. Without them, our world would be nothing but boring.
— Lee Mamolen (Music Education - Voice, Senior), Co-Music Director

So, with my crappy iphone 5 voice memo app out and at the ready, I bothered a bunch of actors and asked them to talk to me because I'm needy like that - but also because it's my job so yeah

It’s a lot more than just this moment in time with these people at an audition, it shows how it’s such a huge moment for them, whereas for you it’s just peering into their lives.
— Shayna Carney, Director

I think my favorite part about these little interviews is talking to the actors about their characters, who have become both their biggest supporters and great friends throughout this crazy intense rehearsal process. One such friendship is between Alex Albanese (Theater and Communications, Junior) and his portrayal of Bobby Mills. "This show, even though I'm a character, is one that I can relate to very closely, if not the closest. This is what I want to do with my life, and I've already been on so many auditions where I don't say anything. I just dance. So, portraying this very real experience to me has set it apart from other shows I've been a part of here." Coming to watch the show is an awesome experience, because you get to see Alex act as the "bitch" of the show - "[Bobby] doesn't have time to listen to everyone's 'story'. He's come to the audition to show his skills, and he's determined to get cast in this production."

It’s interesting because this show is all about the strong ensemble and that’s just exactly what this cast has become. And now we can’t get enough of each other! People should come see this show because it tells a story that is often not told enough: the story of the dancer.
— Allie Ambriano (Theater Arts and Journalism and Media Studies, Junior), Cassie


A little down the line from Bobby Mills is Kristine Urich who is being played by the brilliant Kim Bollard (Theater and Journalism and Media Studies with a certificate in Digital Filmmaking, Class of 2017). No stranger to the Rutgers stage, Kim's biggest take away from this show is her newfound dance skills. "I was never a dancer. I had taken a few dance classes in the past, but nothing serious. It has been very challenging for me, but extremely rewarding. I now feel more confident in movement and dancing, even though I am still not very good. I feel that my new confidence in dance has made me a better actor than before as well. Dani was a great choreographer, and believed in me every step of the way."

People aren’t coming to see one person, they’re coming to see the ensemble because they’re amazing - at dancing, singing, acting, everything!
— Daniela Stefanelli, Choreographer
The funniest part of the rehearsal process was watching all of these perfect dancers around me. And then I’d attempt to dance and I would look like a horse wearing ballet shoes
— Kim Bollard (Kristine)

A Chorus Line is a HUGE dance show - so the choreographer, Daniela Stefanelli (Psychology, Junior) has played an important part in the success of this show. More experienced dancers like Alex Albanese and Larrej Drayton (Music Education, Freshman), who plays Richie, get a chance to really show their shtuff onstage. "My favorite part about being in this production is the choreography. I love to dance and I've never had the chance to do such an extensive amount of dancing in different styles. The choreography for this show is a lot more difficult because it has elements of all different types of dancing. There are sections of jazz and ballet and super fun moves as well as acrobatics that are just out of this world." The praise that I heard about Dani as the choreographer was never-ending, and I'm sure you'll all see why when you come see the show!

A cool part of the show is the "Cut Ensemble", or the "Cute Ensemble", which is a correction given to me by its members, and one I am very willing to accommodate. They're a part of the initial group of dancers who show up to audition, but unfortunately do not make the cut and are therefore sent home. One Cute Ensemble member, Craig Dilliplane (Math and Physics, Sophomore) who plays Frank, talked to me about how his favorite part of any rehearsal is when the whole cast is warming up, they're all in the music, and you can "feel the camaraderie and everyone being themselves - it's just a really comfortable environment to be in." Peep them in the beginning during the small group combos, and at the end waving hats and stuff with the whole cast. 

We bond.....and sing.
— Gayle Fuentes (Music Education - Voice, Junior), when asked about her time in the Cute Ensemble
 this was during a real run of the show, and if I'm being honest, I'm not sure he knows this picture exists so uh.....suRPRISE...?&nbsp;

this was during a real run of the show, and if I'm being honest, I'm not sure he knows this picture exists so uh.....suRPRISE...? 

So one unique part of my interview process this time was offering people strawberries before I asked them to be interviewed. A person who actually accepted my fruit is Oren Merhav (Biomedical Engineering, Freshman) who plays Zach, the daunting Director running the whole she-bang. When asked about the most rewarding part of this whole process, he talked to me about the appreciation he has for working with such a talented cast. "There are some people that when they go up and do something, I no longer feel like this is student theatre - it feels professional just because of all of the other people around me. I sometimes walk away from a scene and I'm just like, 'WOW - that was something! I got some emotions going on there!'"

Exciting. Tits-and-Ass. Blurhibohiaosprihow. Musically-Brilliant. Talent (swag).
— Oren Merhav, when asked to provide 5 words to describe the show

If I haven't yet convinced you of how awesome this show is going to be, let me take you through a part of my conversation with the director, Shayna Carney (Theatre Arts, Junior). Why should you come see this stellar cast, you ask?

"Because we're telling stories of real people. Because the music is beautiful and the dancing is incredible, but in the end these are real people and whether you're in the arts, or if you're a science major or a business major, it doesn't matter - this one thing is so important to you and you might not get it but that's okay, but it's really telling of human nature and everyone can relate to it."

I'm hoping that none of you have made it to the end of this post on the first read because you were so overwhelmed by the urge to reserve your tickets that you just HAD to click on the box office tab at the top of this webpage, or that you scooted on over to the facebook page to reserve your tickets from there. Take a break from wringing out your soaking wet hair and clothes, or from studying for that awful exam you have next week, and treat yo self to some quality entertainment. We're running this show for two weekends, so you have 6!!!! chances to come see it!