A Weekend of Special Events: Again!

 I felt like some people were missing my terrible photoshop jobs and blurry show pics, so I tried extra special on this post. 

I felt like some people were missing my terrible photoshop jobs and blurry show pics, so I tried extra special on this post. 

WE BACK, Y'ALL! Just like Jim Carrey turned into NPH, this year's weekend of special events features a whole new cast. Between genderbent song selections and the inner workings of several distressed humans, you've got 2 jam-packed days of immense talent and artistry. Here we go!

Cabaret really demonstrates the entire scope of theatre, from sketch comedy to main stage musicals to original play festivals. Hell, the day after this irreverent genderbent concert is a completely different production that poignantly tackles the topic of panic attacks in a really tangible, arresting way. And both of these productions are valid, and necessary, and amazing.
— Ajit J. Mathews (Accounting, Junior)

Role of a Lifetime: A Miscast Concert 

This Friday, January 27, a cast of 10 hilarious individuals join together *FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY* to put on an insightful concert style event called Role of a Lifetime: A Miscast Concert. Those funny songs you know and love from famous musicals across the spectrum will be performed by the opposite gender in this attention-grabbing performance. To preserve the secrecy of the set list, I've hidden all of the song titles and character names. LEEYYGGOOOO

From an actor's perspective, it might be a challenge to accurately portray the message of each song without the traditional gender to back it up. That wasn't an issue for these folks, at least according to the ever-present Benji Sills (Communication, Senior). "For each character I did some research to figure out how they might move and sound based on previous performances and interpretations! I think [traditionally female character name!] has some things in common with other characters, but her voice and body are different in other ways, some of which are dictated by the frustration she feels at her situation." Hint - he's feeling a little *under the weather* ;) ;) ;) ;)

Come see the gender bent concert here at Cabaret Theatre because what is gender amirite?
— Shayna Carney

Rachel Horner, fresh from a semester abroad in Spain, was super excited to be back in the states (obvi bc i live here), and jumped right into rehearsals at Cab for this show, and talked to me more about the challenges of gender swap aspect. "It was definitely a challenge to find an appropriate key for each song, because the songs had to fit each of our voices while still maintaining the integrity of the original song. We also had to make sure that we conveyed the characters of each song without relying on its melodic features or its typical sound. It's hard to try to portray masculinity while singing in a female's range, but it was an exciting challenge as a performer, and I'm glad to have had an opportunity like this!"

From the audience's perspective, this cast isn't having any issue with conveying the proper messages - the songs are all funny and so are these performers. Here's a live conversation between me and Shayna: 

Me: you're funny. how do you work on being funny? i need to know. for science.

Shayna: I'm not funny. It's an illusion. If anything I do during the show makes you laugh, it's not me. It's the song. Or Ajit's direction. But definitely not me.

Fun fact: this is a lie. 

Later, I asked Tyler Conroy the same question. He said "Haha so I mean, if there's one thing I've learned it's that if you're trying to be funny on stage, you're not going to be. You've gotta just go out there and have fun, and make sure that you're prepared. Humor comes from the writing, so as an actor, you've gotta just understand what it is that your character is trying to get, and find the humor in that. I guess maybe I'm a little funny too."

Paolo Arceo dazzles the stage with his vocals and original choreography, which was a brand new experience for him, which *spoiler alert* may include some "low key" "sexy" things. This was a pretty uncomfortable thing for me to type on this sort of a platform and probably was weird to have to read in your head, but trust that the dancing is better than the way I described it. 

Not only does our Miscast cast and pro staff have a blast flip flopping the conventional gender roles in this concert, they're diffusing society's gender norms at the same time. 

People are people, regardless of gender, so it shouldn’t be too hard to make that switch. It’s important though to have an understanding of gender before you go being offensive. Lastly, Maya has really done a great job adjusting these songs, while keeping the sound almost entirely the same.
— Tyler Conroy (Journalism and Media Studies with Sports Specialization, Senior)

Ajit J. Mathews, our talented associate producer, is the mastermind behind this concert and has done a wonderful job of breaking down these barriers. "Two main things inspired me to create this Miscast concert. First off, I love the idea of 'nontraditional' casting, because I think it’s unfortunate that things like gender or race or hair color can actually prevent a talented person from playing a role that they’re otherwise perfect for. I think that all the individuals in this show are terrific at the songs they sing throughout the concert, from the way they portray the character to the way they interpret the text and the music, and for something as trivial as gender to prevent them from singing these songs is silly to me. This concert lets us break down those boundaries. The second reason is that I think it’s funny to have a girl sing about her erection."

^That was a spoiler without an alert! Throwing you some curve balls to get you to come see this show - which again, is ONE NIGHT ONLY. 

I decided to audition for this show because how often do you get to full out perform opposite gendered songs to audiences? Most of my dream roles are female anyway so I am LIVING.
— Paolo Arceo (Psychology and Theatre, Junior)

The music in this concert was hand picked by Ajit, who worked really closely with Maya Mitterhoff (Music Education - Voice, Sophomore) to work on getting the keys correct as well as fitting the correct voices into the roles. On the song selection, Ajit said, "What makes this concert funny and interesting is that every song was originally written as very “ladylike” or “feminine” or as very “manly” or “masculine.” Having the “wrong” gender sing these songs lets us reveal and poke fun at how gendered some of our favorite show tunes are, sometimes in ways we’d never really consciously thought about before. Show tunes about men sexualizing themselves are few and far between, but the sheer number of songs written for women that put them in this same situation is almost... comical." As a girl who spent the last 2 years singing the bass part in an all female a cappella group, I feel dis. 

Bottom line, if you are a person who loves theatre, loves laughing, and wants to see a bunch of college kids sing songs that definitely weren't written for their voices, this is the show for you. Reserve your tickets here! 

People should come see the show because it reinforces an important topic which is that gender doesn’t exist. Our performance showcases that anyone (however you identify as) can perform these songs by still staying true to the meaning—just in a different key! All they are are songs with messages that ANYONE can connect to!
— Paolo Arceo (Still Psychology and Theatre, Still a Junior)

The Panic Attack Play 

On the very next night, Cab is opening their doors once again for the public to witness yet another work of art called The Panic Attack Play, directed by Celine Dirkes and Sarah Ferreira, both of whom also perform in the cast! A production that was written by its talented cast, The Panic Attack Play hopes to "[increase] empathy for those who suffer panic attacks, as well as sharing information about what causes them and coping tactics." <--I stole this from the facebook event description because I definitely couldn't have said this any better. 

I proposed this show because panic attacks have affected many of the people I care about the most. I believe very firmly in the power of sharing narratives and resources to build a community of empathy and information, and I hoped that this show could do that and make the world just a little safer for those of us who experience panic attacks.
— Celine Dirkes (Theatre and English with a Creative Writing Certificate, Junior)

This show reaches the audience from a variety of different platforms - from it's speech, to carefully thought out movements, and even a musical number, any audience member, no matter their experience, will be able to come out of this show having made some sort of connection. 

Celine Dirkes, Cabaret's own General Board Representative, first proposed the show and talked to me a little about how the rehearsal process worked. To my surprise, being the director of a show you're also performing in wasn't as difficult for her as I would have thought. "The experience of co-directing a show while being in it at the same time didn't feel very different for me than it feels to direct. My major philosophy of directing is that we are a team, not a hierarchy, one single ensemble working towards making the best possible show. I feel like that extends logically into the devising process with just a shift in responsibility. Now the roles we all perform in making the show work are less defined, but we still shared the same goal."

As for writing the actual script, the cast worked together to create a show that reflected their experiences with panic attacks, as well as provide the audience with an opening for understanding and empathizing, which all stemmed from a strong foundation of trust in self-expression that Celine and Sarah fostered from the very beginning. "At the beginning of the process Sarah and I taught several movement and improv based exercises that encouraged people to access their bodies and become comfortable sharing personally created narratives. As the process continued we brainstormed concepts as a group and used improv to explore potential directions before coming to a consensus and finalizing a script. In some ways our script still isn't "finished" because we have passages where cast members "riff" like a jazz musician would. The exact wording is not our priority, but rather communicating the essence of the skit."

Jillian Hanna is no stranger to Cabaret, but she was telling me how The Panic Attack Play really helped her get back to her acting roots. Since the rehearsal process only spanned several of really long, intense days after the end of winter break, this cast of 6 really had to get the ball rolling right from the beginning. "For me, the biggest takeaway is understanding that it is indeed possible to create something out of essentially nothing. all we started with was the seed text. we literally came together over winter break and created a show in just days, which is pretty impressive to me. All you really need to perform something is an idea and the will to get it done."

They've got lights, they've got choreo, they've got some dope seed text stuff going on, all put together into an incredible show that Cabaret is holding for literally one night - EVER. Don't miss out, reserve your tickets now! 

This show is super vital in understanding mental illness from the perspectives of all different people. not everyone experiences it the same way. and not everyone has the resources necessary to deal with it. I hope someone in the audience comes to our performance and says “holy shit — it’s not just me,” and is able to either come to terms with their own struggles or get the support and help they need to begin to deal with it.
— Jillian Hanna (Theatre and Psychology, Senior)

If you've made it to the bottom of yet another one of my lengthy blog posts on this thing, then you DEFINITELY don't have any better plans this weekend. And let's face it, even if you did, these would still be way cooler. Buy your tickets before it's too late! 

Hold Still and Focus on Purchasing Your Tickets for 35MM This Weekend!

The coolest collaboration of photography and music is coming to Cabaret Theatre for one weekend only! 35 MM: A Musical Exhibition is our first mainstage musical of the year. With songs inspired by a series of original photographs taken by our very own Paolo Arceo, this 90-minute production gives each photo a story, a life, a song. Director Ajit J. Mathews and his incredibly talented cast of 5 takes us through a new groundbreaking theatrical concept in 35 MM: A Musical Exhibition.

Cabaret Theatre’s 35MM is new and exciting and like nothing you’ve ever seen. At the crossroads of photography and music, this song cycle delves into so many different dense, rich stories as it brings to life and sets into motion the frozen moment of a photograph.
— Ajit J. Mathews, Director

The Photography

In my opinion, the collaboration between the photographer and the director is what's most intriguing about this show, because otherwise there wouldn't really be a show. Paolo Arceo (Psychology and Theatre, Junior) worked with Ajit over the summer to get on the same page in terms of vision and the breakdown of each song, regarding the individual message and interpretation that Ajit wanted to convey. "Ajit wanted me as the photographer for quite some time now. This kinda had me scared because all I had was an expensive camera I didn't know how to use and a 99 cent iPhone editing app with no experience of real photography. This PUSHED me to know what I was doing and eventually create the photos I did today. So you can say I thank Ajit for my photography transformation in less than a year." Cabaret Theatre: Where Dreams Come True TBH.

Picking a favorite song or photo from the show is so tough and really changes every day. The artistry of the actors and Paolo’s photography really gives me a new reason to fall in love with each song and photo each day.
— Ajit J. Mathews, Director

It's one thing to have a vision, but it's another thing to be able to communicate it accurately to another person with the intention of collaborating with one another. On working with Ajit, Paolo said, "We kept good communication and exchanged thoughts, but I think that the looseness was important so I could incorporate my own style and creative freedom still having him as an aid. He's one of the smartest people I've EVER met in my life (intellectually and artistically), so it was good to have someone as genius as him there to help me out."

If we're talking about the actual process of taking the photographs, he had a system. "What I would do is just listen to the songs over and over, study the lyrics, and read Ajit's vision and perspective of each song. I would then narrow the message of the song to three adjectives and try to find a scene/object that embodies it. " I can't reveal any pictures specifically here, partly because I know I'm not supposed to but mostly because you should come see the show and look at them with your own eyes, fam. Seriously, it's so worth it. 

Photography is such a big part of our lives today with apps like Snapchat and Instagram where people are taking pictures every single day and sometimes we start to forget how much meaning and life a picture can hold. This production demonstrates that precisely and really brings truthfulness to the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
— Andres Moledo, Voice 3

The Music 

 numbah 1 stunnahzzzz

numbah 1 stunnahzzzz

As a listener, 35MM is probably the most challenging score I've heard performed in Rutgers Student Theatre. As a musician, even more so. I get to study with some amazing and talented people, and 35's co-music directors are two of them. Andrew Moore (Music Education [Voice], Senior) and Thomas Silkowski (Music Education [Saxophone], Senior) are the dynamic duo of music directors this season, which is only emphasized by the vocal quality of their musical numbers. 

When you come see the show (which I know you'll definitely do because why else did you click this link besides wanting to see what typos I made this time), you'll notice that each cast member is i n c r e d i b l e. Not just as people, but as vocalists. The ranges are just insane. This isn't without a poop ton of work from both the performers and the music directors. As a future music educator and good friend of Andrew and Thomas, I wanted to know what the cast members thought.

Brandon Conti, who plays Voice 4 said, "Music rehearsals with Tom and Andrew have honestly made me a stronger performer and every critique they give is to help me develop my skills and be the best that I can be every time. They are fantastic people, who have been an amazing influence on me throughout the process."

Voice 3 is played by Andres Moledo, who said "Rehearsals were intense vocally because this particular show is loaded with obscure harmonies and strong belty parts so I really had to step out of my comfort zone and push myself to reach the level that the show demanded. The music directors really helped me to reach that level and I thank them both very much for their guidance."

Maya Mitterhoff, Voice 1, spent a lot of time working on her different characters, which Tom and Andrew really helped out with. "Our music rehearsals involved a lot of focus on story telling as well as technique. Tom and Andrew are so good at helping us get all the notes and rhythms down while at the same time teaching us technique and helping us properly emote through the songs. It's an intense process, and it's almost like we each had two private coaches throughout the rehearsals. We could not have done it without them."

They even had some great words from the director. "I could not imagine this show without Tom and Andrew as the music directors. This is by far the hardest vocals in a show that I've worked on, and the masterful hand with which Tom and Andrew led their music rehearsals was absolutely integral to the success of the show. The two of them pushed the actors to rise to the occasion and really gave them the tools to succeed with this score."

 Ryan Scott Oliver thinks they're OK. that's it, though.

Ryan Scott Oliver thinks they're OK. that's it, though.

Before Tech Week, Cabaret Theatre did this awesome thing where they invited Ryan Scott Oliver, 35 mm's composer and lyricist, to the Brunz for a masterclass with this cast of 5. Sitting in the audience and hearing him announce, "These are some of the tightest harmonies I've ever heard a group do with this show" only further emphasized what a special place Cabaret Theatre is, and how lucky Rutgers is to have quality student theatre on their on campus.

This show is unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of. It allows the five of us to tell a different story for every song, but the themes of photography and film ring throughout. They pose questions like, “Will I always be with the person that I love, or will I only have this photograph as a reminder of what once was?” We are exploring whether or not photography/film are the only permanent ways of capturing moments; of capturing a lifetime. And that is pretty damn fascinating.
— Jillian Hanna, Voice 2

The Voices

I got some dope sentiments from a few of the cast members and honestly they're so cool, here are the words so you can read them for yourself.

 this is the box song, clearly.

this is the box song, clearly.

Andres Moledo (Theatre, Freshman) is a noob to Cabaret, and we are so glad to have him! Playing Voice 3, he has a lot of different characters to play and a lot of singing to do. I know that as a freshman, I wouldn't have had the you-know-whats (guts, duh) to audition for a show in general. He didn't throw away his shot, though. "I originally auditioned for this show because I wanted to take a chance. The audition info called for strong singers which intimidated me and I couldn't find much info on what the show was about, but I really wanted to get involved in the theatre programs here at Rutgers so I decided why not give it a shot?"

From watching him perform, or watching any of these ungodly humans perform really, you'd never guess that he had any issues doing the thing. However, he found that the most difficult part of his role was being able to convey emotions without sacrificing his singing. "The cast is required to play many different characters throughout the show, so to jump into that character for this song has always been a struggle for me, but I eventually found a way to make the emotional transition work." Guys, real talk here, he literally sings a song where he's sitting in a chair holding a cardboard box and I felt feelings. 

Screen Shot 2016-12-01 at 2.40.56 PM.png

Voice 2, aka Jillian Hanna (Theatre and Psychology, Senior) absolutely slays the game in this show. Definitely no stranger to Cabaret or Rutgers theatre in general, Jill takes the stage as one of two strong and amazing women who belt notes that I only accidentally produce when I trip and fall in public, and that's not even considered singing. Her favorite photo in the set is "Hemming and Hawing, which is a collage of one of Paolo's friends taken at different angles. He's wearing makeup that makes him appear completely lethargic, bruised, broken. It seems like a symbol for the trials and tribulations of love - and not just romantic love, any kind of love. To me, it also shows how stress and hardships can take a physical form." Jill's investment and dedication to the story of each photo and song is so evident in her performance.

Voice 1 is played by Maya Mitterhoff (Music Education [Voice], Sophomore). I swear, every time I see this girl onstage I melt. She's got SO much talent and you've all gotta experience it. I asked her about her favorite parts of the show. "I am a sucker for a love story, and this song [The Seraph] is so beautifully romantic. It also has a lot of references to religion, and no matter what your beliefs are, everyone can relate to that heavenly feeling of being in love. My favorite song to perform is Leave Luanne. It's a thrilling story that has an ending I think we all can get behind. My favorite photo is Cut You A Piece because it's so cinematic and really a part of the world created by the song. It's an important part of the story telling. "

Brandon Conti (Communication PR Specialization, Senior) plays Voice 4, which *hint hint* might end up wearing a cape and pretending to be a vampire for a hot second (!!!). With high tenor vocals, Brandon tears up the stage (and backstage) with his dulcet tones and groovy dance movements. No surprise here since they had such a great conversation about crafting, but Brandon's favorite part of the rehearsal process was the masterclass! "The best moment in the rehearsal process was the Master Class with Ryan Scott Oliver himself! To listen to and learn from the man himself who created this work of art was very surreal. I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I first met him, but as I sat there and learned more about his life and his influences, it generated this new drive to try and make my performance better every time I go on stage."

The Director

 it's this guy. he's the director.

it's this guy. he's the director.

Ajit J. Mathews (Accounting, Junior) is lajitimately one of the dopest dudes I've met at Cabaret, as well as one of the most talented people, on and off stage. With his fancy socks and long-sleeve shirt no matter how hot it is in the space, Ajit has transformed a black box and 5 singers into an unbelievably stimulating production in a few mere months. 

If you're still on the fence about seeing this show, get ready to be inspired and intrigued. 

"I think my biggest challenge as a director for this show was trying to make each song as distinct as a unique photograph. Paolo provided a set of beautiful and particular photos, and this show demands the same of each musical number, which is something I'd never faced as intensely with any of the other shows I've worked on. Unlike a musical, there are no constant characters or plot or themes that tie it all together, so I had no real safety net or handicap when creating each song's vision. I'd say the two keys to overcoming this were: the lyrics and Mary Berko. By picking apart the content of the song, I could find its heart and really craft a story and a setting inspired by the core of the music. And having Mary Berko as a collaborator in building the landscape of this song cycle was a huge blessing and her artistry and talent undoubtedly lifted this show to new heights."

The whole theme of taking pictures, photography, stopping time, focusing, holding still... it reminds me of square, angular, sharper shapes, so I think that’s what the choreography mimics.
— Mary Berko (Journalism and Media Studies, Senior), Choreographer and Assistant Director

35MM: A Musical Exhibition is the must-see event of this 2 week season before you drown in finals, so what are you still doing staring at this thing? BUY YOUR TICKETS. The photography is dope (way better than mine, tbh), the singing is fantabulous, and the dancing is fire. Don't miss out. 


 I totally thought of this idea. I'm also totally lying. (@emily thanks fam)&nbsp;

I totally thought of this idea. I'm also totally lying. (@emily thanks fam) 

You’ve got a lot of great actors, people who are passionate and love being here and working with Cabaret. The work will speak for itself. You’ll come in, you’ll see them perform, and they’re gonna blow your mind. 4 Skits. It’s an hour. AND it’s 5 bucks for students, it’s cheap. I don’t see WHY not.
— Roni Banerjee (Theatre and Cinema Studies, Junior)

A rooftop gathering. Post-Wedding threshold shenanigans. 2 office bros talking about their lady colleague. A panicked subway ride. We got some good ish for you guys in Cabaret Theatre's annual event, The 2016 Directors' Showcase!

Cabaret Theatre offers so many opportunities for students to perform and create art, and the Directors' Showcase is one of our biggest events. Four first-time student directors get to pick their show, pick their cast, and put on their very first play in our lovely black box theater, all led by their fearless leader, Directors' Showcase Coordinator and spearhead of the Directolution, Lauren Burcheri!

I'm not tryna spill a bunch of spoilers because I definitely don't wanna clean all that up, so we're gonna dive right into my interviews. 

The Wedding Duet by Lauren Wilson

I like that we’re able to address 4 completely different things that I think are all incredible stories with incredible life and depth, yet they’re all really fun in a way - even the ones that aren’t. Everyone was able to put their all into what they did, so each of the individual parts ended up being the best that they can be and everyone is proud of the individual work that they’ve done.
— Emily Woods (Theatre, Sophomore)

Who doesn't love weddings, though??? I would be lying if I said I wasn't waiting for my late 20s so I could partake in "Wedding Szn"...that's how the kids these days spell, it right? 

Screen Shot 2016-11-17 at 3.21.18 PM.png

Anyway, we've got a pair of lovely newly-weds consisting of a beautiful, shoe-less bride and a pajama-less Benji. No, he is definitely not wearing pajamas...I think.

Are you superstitious? For me, I'm only kind of stitious ;) But when it comes to symbols and signs and fate and stuff? Can't get into that on this post, but you can come see The Wedding Duet and hash it all out in your head while you watch these two great actors do their thing! Directed by Cab's very own General Board Representative Celine Dirkes (Theatre and English with Creative Writing Certificate, Junior), this show is a rocky roller coaster of emotions that keeps you on your toes - or not, for some people involved. 

While at a summer program, Celine came across this script while using it for a bunch of different exercises. "The format was so simple and so focused I immediately thought 'hmm, that would be a great show for Directors' Showcase' and I guess I just couldn't let it go!" 

This piece talks a lot about the age-old tradition of a husband carrying his wife over the threshold, thus launching them into a prosperous and long-lasting marriage. How do you feel about that? Celine says, "I think the need to carry a wife through the threshold is very silly. Like all superstitions, it's a comforting way to believe you have power over something that really isn't affected by that thing at all--ie a healthy marriage and picking someone up. It makes a for a great performative metaphor though!" 

Screen Shot 2016-11-17 at 3.21.38 PM.png

Emily Woods (Theatre, Sophomore) gave me her thoughts as well. "I think that symbols are what you want them to be and I am a big fan of making things that aren't a  big deal into a big deal. In actuality, I probably don't believe in it. But in my mind, totally. If I get dropped in the threshold, the world will end."

In such a small cast, it's important to be able to connect with your partner onstage. While Benji and Emily are far from strangers to Cabaret, they still needed to get comfortable with each other for this piece.  "Other than being friends with each other on Facebook, we didn't know really know each other. But Celine is actually brilliant and super cool and my hero, and she had us do these contact improv exercises, and I feel like sort of going in and out of really committing to that and afterwards being able to say 'Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry, my hands are so dry like a lizard person - just the slow progression to make it where we needed to be for the actual show helped us to build a relationship in and out of character."

What We're Up Against by Theresa Rebeck

Lately, we've heard a lot about "locker room talk" and what that exactly means, but this show brings you Office Space Talk! It's like the locker room, but people almost definitely have clothes on ;)

We've got two of our Cab favs starring in this piece as two office co-workers. Rafael Lozada (THINGS) and Oren Merhav (Biomedical Engineering, Sophomore) discuss how their office handles project proposals from different groups. In a show with such a  small cast (two is company!) (I googled that saying to make sure I didn't look dumb. it still looks dumb, plz don't correct me, I already know), each actor is responsible for knowing a poop ton of lines. Oren's character Stu has a bulk of them, and I'm honestly impressed when anyone can memorize things because I barely remember what day it is. "To help me memorize my lines, Katherine made noises or motions for lines that I frequently forgot, and she would do them whenever I forgot them to help me remember. If you ever look to the back of Cabaret and see a dark figure doing weird dances to no music, I probably forgot a line. Katherine is weird."

Who is Katherine, you ask? Why, she's their director! Katherine Freedman (Vocal Performance, Senior) made her Cabaret debut in last year's Original Play Festival, and has joined us once again to direct her very first show. She is also my roommate. We live together. No big deal. 

People should come see DS because the shows are incredibly relevant. These authors have something to say, and it’s theatre is such a cool and interesting way for people to fully understand issues that are going on - whether it’s sexism or racism, etc. People experience these things everyday but it’s very taboo to bring them up. In theatre, they take these taboo things and bring them up and make them real for the audience.
— Katherine Freedman (Vocal Performance, Senior)

"I like this script because it wasn't so obviously about women since there are no females in it. I also wanted something that would be relevant for our audience. Something that's happening right now is that women don't get paid as much as men, but it's something that is often shrugged off and that the women are exaggerating - it's very frustrating as a woman. I wanted to pick a show that would make people more aware from the other side."

The rehearsal processes for DS shows is usually unconventional because of all the craziness going on inside the space, but Oren seemed to have a great time in my kitchen. "The rehearsal process was really exciting. Instead of being at Cabaret, we did nearly all of our rehearsals at the house of the infamous Filipino Four, or Filipino Three plus Emily if you want to be a stickler. We woke people up from naps, scared passers by, caused a tear or two, and, may have even started a fictional business. If you ever see the words "Initiative: How the System Works" on a t-shirt, you know it started here."

Come see the show that made me realize just how often I go in search of snacky snacks, but ultimately didn't stop me from doing so~*~*~*

Moving Shortly by Sheri Wilner

PLEASE STAND BEHIND THE WHITE LINE WHILE THE BUS IS IN MOTION. Does anyone else get motion sickness on the EE? Is it just me? Dang. 

I feel a little better on subway trains, and that's where this play takes place. In a more serious, yet still somehow funny, show, 2 riders are stuck underground while they try to fix a couple kinks. Fear is running rampant among many Americans these days (wow I wonder why because nothing super major happened in this history of our nation, everything is hunky dory and everyone loves each other yay), and Moving Shortly definitely emphasizes this by exposing the thoughts of a white women and a man of color sitting near each other on a subway. 

Rafael Lozada (Communications, Second Year) plays a Sikh man on his way home from the grocery store. Having been in multiple productions here, and in 2 pieces in DS, he finds that his favorite part of being here is the grounded intensity. "Both shows feel super real, like you can possibly know these characters; but both demand to reach pretty intense emotional territory."

Director Madhu Murali managed to make me laugh, make me cringe, and make me want to see more without them ever actually saying words on stage. Come find out what I mean by seeing the show for yourself!

Zealot by Julie Marie Myatt

What would you die for? If you stand for nothing, what would you fall for? @Burr

Set on the rooftop of an apartment building, several tenants discuss mortality and the worth of life after the most recent passing of a former tenant. Would they die for what they believe in? Would it be worth it?

Roni Banerjee (Theatre and Cinema Studies, Junior) is joining us in DS for the second time, after spending a lot of time with our friends down at the College Avenue Players. What does he think of Cabaret? "It's a really great environment. Meeting new people, getting a different kind of working environment at the same time. It's very professional and comfortable - I just love everyone here. And David - he's very very passionate, very professional, very serious about his work - as I am, as everyone is. We feed off of each other, and it's amazing."

David Novis (Political Science and Economics, Junior) directs this cast of 4, and has had experience directing films. "I've been getting really into theatre recently, and I wanted to take this great opportunity that Cabaret offers for directing plays. I feel like Cabaret is the place to do it because there's an intimacy with this smaller theatre. Everyone is very willing to collaborate and it's very community oriented here." 

Yeah, we're pretty great. nbd.

David talked to me about how the theme, though it's pretty morbid, is what drew him to the script. The show talks about death and goes into each character's values and ideals. "I thought each character represented a different perspective on death - it's pretty interesting to see how they all collide with one another in real time."

There’s definitely a gap between film and theatre - people playing things out in real time. You can’t edit and you can’t redo things, but you have to make sure your actors are ready to think on their feet and act. That’s what makes this so cool.
— David Novis (Political Science and Economics)


ps - we're so cool and hip, our cast and crew made one of those viral videos with the number signs. Check out our mannequin challenge ###!!!!


Time to Start Going Going to Boeing Boeing!

 I had fun with this one.

I had fun with this one.

People should be going going to Boeing Boeing because it’s hilarious and outrageous and there’s a lot of doors that people come in & out of and there’s not a single pun about airplanes in the actual show so you really can’t get any better.
— Shayna Carney (Theatre Arts, Senior) aka Gretchen

Merry second day of the holiday season, fam! I hope your lives up to this point have been sufficiently spoopy and full of candy. Now, we can get super revved up for our first mainstage of the year - Boeing Boeing, directed by Kenneth Laboy.

They're flying us back to the 1960s, to Bernard's cozy little apartment in Paris. Bernard, played by Mario Gambino, is quite the charmer, and is super sweet with his lady friends - all three of them. Three's definitely not a crowd for him! These three lovely ladies not only have the same sloppers, but they're all flight attendants who have restricted schedules. Lucky for Bernard though, because with his trusty calendar, his life has enough room for all three of them - and Berthe! Add his old chum, Robert Lambert, and it's an all-out party. All of the pictures I'm adding to this blog post will be very ambiguous, so you're gonna have to show up to Cab to find out how this all plays out. 

In my primetime VIP seat during my exclusive tech week viewing, I got to watch just how awesome the cast dynamic is among these 6 actors. In my usual effort not to spoil too much in my posts, I'm gonna tell you guys what the actors say to me off the stage. 

 this looks like a candid from some sort of musical number.

this looks like a candid from some sort of musical number.

Mario Gambino (Communication, Senior) has a sh*t ton of lines, so much so that I asked about it first in my list of questions. "It was horrible. I was in a show with even more lines last year, but this was harder because of how random and all over the place they are. It was just lots of running them over and over again." I mean honestly, if you're trying to juggle 3 women, there's going to be a lot of talking, so kudos to you, Mario. 

In regards to Mario's actual character, I'm not his number one fan. Luckily, Mario has spent a lot of time with him and makes him kind of likable with this explanation. "My favorite part of Bernard is that he's got this slimy confidence that is really fun to play. And it's fun to see a guy like that lose all that confidence the second something goes wrong. He's a sweaty beaten down mess by the end, which is a far cry from the guy trying to get his friend to be polygamy buddies with him in the first act. His arc is just so obvious and I think it's really fun to play." Polygamy Bros. Multiple Marriages Men. These are words I never thought would be a thing in my life, yet here we are. Only at Cabaret Theatre, I guess. 

 this is actually me everyday, except i'm in bed and also sleeping

this is actually me everyday, except i'm in bed and also sleeping

Speaking of Polygamy Bros, I talked to Benji, too. Benji Sills (Communication, Senior) plays Robert Lambert, Bernard's childhood friend who just rings his doorbell in Paris, stays for a few days, and ultimately becomes the ultimate polygamy wingman for Bernard, whose life is spiraling out of control. When I asked him about his plethora of lines, his answer was pretty similar to Mario's. "When you make sense of a line and think about why a character says it (and what they're thinking and doing when they do), it helps to make it easier to remember. That as well as lots of repetition and a little bit of prayer." I feel that.

As mentioned before, this show has 3 fantastic women who all want to marry Bernard (for some reason, lmk). Gabriella from Italy (Kim Bollard), Gloria the American (Alexis Dewland), and Gretchen from Germany (Shayna Carney). While all three actresses aren't onstage together for most of the show, they do a great job as the team of women who drive Bernard insane, with a little bit of Robert on the side. We've got accents, we've got fancy air hostess outfits, we've got mouth stuff (that's also intentionally ambiguous - come find out what I mean) - we've got all the makings of that soap opera your grandma used to love!



We've even got an irritable French housekeeper Berthe, played by Madhu Mohanmurali. Although she's not tryna marry Bernard, she's also giving us a great accent, some real fancy outfits, and mouth stuff - if you count her mouthing off to Bernard for his ridiculous lifestyle choices.

All 6 actors play so well off of each other, there's no way you won't find yourself LOLing (laughing out loud, fyi) at these lines. The easiest and most prominent connection to spot is between Bernard and Robert, and Mario gave me some insight on that as well! "I've worked with Benji on every show I've done at Rutgers, weirdly. So, I think you just start developing a dynamic by sheer experience with each other. Benji's just an all around nice guy so that helps with the whole 'being friends in real life which extends to having real chemistry on stage;. I also have a theory that Benji is a sociopath and that's fascinating so I'm trying to stay as close to him as possible, so as to conduct my research." As a person who has done 2 shows with Benji, I am very interested to see his case files...and add to them. 

 sometimes I am Shayna. sometimes I am Madhu. there is almost never an in-between.

sometimes I am Shayna. sometimes I am Madhu. there is almost never an in-between.

None of this would be possible without the direction of Kenneth Laboy (English and Theatre, Senior), a newcomer to directing mainstages at Cab. Kenneth specifically proposed this show for its strong ensemble feel, as well as its large number of females for a straight play. With strong female and male actors, he's really happy that they all get almost equal stage time. 

This show is a comedy. Have I mentioned that? Kenneth did a great job of exploiting the funny sides of his actors, and it really shows onstage. "Making it funny was never something I actively tried to do. I didn't want to tell my actors how to make it funny. I didn't want to presume I knew what people even find funny. So getting that out of my mind and focusing on the characters and their dynamics was definitely the hardest part. Hopefully we managed to not lose that humor completely." Believe me - it is very far from lost. He talked to me more about the pro-staff to cast dynamic, saying "Just talking about me for a second (because of course, this is all about me) I love them. And I am grateful that they put up with me and my scattered-brain antiques."

 What happens next??? #ambiguity

What happens next??? #ambiguity

At this point in my time here as the blog lady, there is no doubt in my mind I've already convinced you to join us this weekend for some hardy laughs. See you there!


This play is great escapism. The characters are entertaining, the actors did a great job bringing them to life, the set is beautiful. I have so many reasons to love this play and I just want to share that love.
— Kenneth Laboy, Director

Fun Facts! This show is about planes and traveling so I asked the 3 boys about their travel experiences. 

Ken: I am from Puerto Rico so I travel there a lot to visit the family. England and Canada have also been memorable touring spots in my life. Most importantly I've been to Paris twice, which is relevant.

Mario:I've been a few places but nothing crazy. I went to England and Italy a few times when I was young because my grandmother and dad are from their, respectively, but I don't really remember nigh about them. I'll say Sicily because there were wild dogs everywhere and that's amazing for a little kid.

Benji: I'm pretty lucky, my parents used to take me on vacations all over when I was a kid. I've been around a good portion of North America and Europe, although I've never been to Wisconsin (where my character is from) and I've never been to France (where the play is set)!

Anna: I've been a bunch of places in Europe, including Paris. I've been up and down the east coast of America, mostly from driving up and down to Disney world. I've also been to California, Tennessee, Michigan and Canada! No Wisonsin, though. If I ever did go, I think it goes without saying I'd need a cheese hat. Those look dope as heck. Nothing compares to Jersey, though :)

Missing Your Dignity? We Gotchu - It's At Cabaret!

 i drew all of those images by hand, i swear

i drew all of those images by hand, i swear

Even if you expect the unexpected, this show is, simply put, even more unexpecteder than you expect.
— Oren Merhav (Biomedical Engineering, Sophomore)

It's that time of the semester! Rutgers Night Live XIII is comin at ya THIS WEEKEND ONLY with the dopest, the dankest, and the freshest shi* their beautiful, funny, and most woke minds can ooze out of their eyelids: The Curse of the Missing Dignity. I don't know what I'm writing, but I think you get the gist. They've got so much stuff ready for ya - laughs, smirks, horrified looks, some more laughing and it's all been nicely photographed on my new phone!!!!! *fireworks* We did it fam, we made it. No more blurry pics. 

In an effort to keep things a surprise for you lovely people who are planning on attending this fantasmic event, I will say random things about some of the sketches and also post pictures of the cast doing and wearing questionable things in the sketches. Here we go!

 same, girl. same.

same, girl. same.

Community College. Gotta love it. They even have that one show about it. HOwever, come take a tour of the Evil Community College, where only the best students are admitted! 

Love Rugrats? Same. But what if that show wasn't so PG? What are their real opinions on the world? What do they think about Brangelina splitting up? We'll tell ya!

Real talk, I need to go to the salon to change my hairstyle because I'm bored with it. RNL's got this new stylist at their salon, who's gonna blow you (and your hair) away!!

Bathroom etiquette is weird. We all go through it. Where do you look? I have no idea. Maybe it's best to close your eyes? I'll try that tomorrow. 

Are you a kat person or a dog person? Lmk.

The cast of RNL loves feminists. Join their book club!!!!


If any of you tells me that you've never gone through an awkward family dinner, especially one where you bring a significant other to, you've gOTTA come see this sketch. It's real. stay woke, fam. 

Now that your mind is spinning with questions like "Does Anna think she's funny or something?", "What does she mean by 'questionable'?", and "Oh, do people not usually keep their eyes closed when they pee? Awkward...", we can dive into the nitty gritty of an RNL production. 

As a member of the Cab Gen Board, I can say without any sort of bias that it is indeed "lit". Part of that is our brandy new RNL Representative, Kim Bollard (Theatre and Journalism/Film Certificate, Senior).

 emojis are my fav

emojis are my fav

She opens up each rehearsal with some sort of improv game that gets their bodies in motion, their minds a-flowin, and their *sses in gear. "The best part of this job is getting to pour my heart and soul into comedy, and working with such an amazing and dedicated cast. I'm glad I get to work with people who are down for anything and everything. They're all so flexible and it makes my job significantly easier. "

And honestly, this cast is fire. There are so many different characters happening in this production it's almost hard to keep up - and their performances are just so spot on!

"Some people have more of a dry humor, while others are more loud and animated. Some people (Oren) are perfect for dad characters, and some people are perfect crazy uncles (Mario). Everyone has taken the sketches they were given and have directed them with such finesse. They've made me very proud." 

 not completely sure her face is *supposed* to be green here, but you do you, girl

not completely sure her face is *supposed* to be green here, but you do you, girl

One of my favorite parts of RNL is the Weekend Update. When I talk about this entire show being "woke", this is usually what I'm thinking about. Similar to that other show, (what's it called, SNL? yeah, that one) they produce some pretty dope jokes about the failings of our current society. When I asked Kim about how they pick which topics to poke fun at, she said that she's actually working off of the articles she reads as a journalism major. Then she just writes a bunch of jokes about the ones that stick out to her, and then pick the best ones. Amazing.

Last Year, RNL took in a buuuunch of fresh, hot, new actors into their cast. Rafael Lozada (Communications, Sophomore) is one such newbie. "When I moved to America from the Dominican Republic, I stumbled upon an episode of SNL where they were impersonating Dominicans. Sofia Vergara, Kristen Wigg and I think even One Direction,all people who I fan girl over, were a part of it. Everyone was super committed to the sketch and it looked like they were really enjoying themselves. As a result, I became a fan of SNL so when I heard there was a version of it at Rutgers, I didn't think twice to audition."   Admittedly, I am not a huge SNL fan, although I have seen some episodes. This one such episode KILLED ME. I freaking dIED it was so funny holy crap. HOnestly I just watched it again. RIP in peace, Zayn.

Just like that other show, RNL has a host and a musical guest. While I can't talk about the surprise musical guest (it's dope, I swear), I cAN talk about their awesome host!

 you good tho?

you good tho?

Julianna Pica (English/JMS, Junior) is this year's fantabulous hostess with the mostest! Spoiler alert: she does an accent and I asked her about it."Oh my gosh, that accent? That's just the accent of my mother's entire family. I grew up with a lot of weird voices around me. A lot of my family is from NY, my grandma is Sicilian, my grandpa grew up in Jersey City, my aunt is Colombian. Voices have always come naturally to me, and that one is probably the first voice I ever heard. Then I came to school as a kid and was like, "wait a minute, why does everyone sound like they are from Full House?" 

This girl's done some time in the stand-up world, and her opening monologue is all about that. I won't give it away, but she's a vegan.

 fam bam

fam bam

As for her fav stuff in the show, she's granted y'all with some spoilers about a sketch called Family Dinner: "I love it because it's true. We laugh when things are funny and it makes us uncomfortable. Aziz Ansari does this thing where he's like, 'I'm great! All the racist grandmas are dying.' And he's right! Our generation and those to come care a lot more about race, gender, and class, and the social inequality that they bring along. I'm kinda tired of the foreign, person of color being the butt of everyone's joke. That's why I love this sketch. The ignorance is the joke. As a white person, I think we need to make a lot more fun of white people." Ah, white people. As a brown-skinned female who is NOT voting for the failed businessman, this really resonates with me. 

 @allie where did you get your onesie

@allie where did you get your onesie

The Dignity That is Missing and Therefore There is a Case Where We're Looking For It but I Just Told You It's at Cabaret

So I asked Kim about it. "The second you come on board the RNL team, all of your dignity goes into a toilet. Very dignified people wind up losing all of their inhibitions throughout the rehearsal process. If we had dignity, we'd be doing something else with our time, like trying to save the world. Instead, we're making dic* jokes and hope they stick. "

Do you like my censoring? I'm trying really hard. 

COME THRU FAM - IT'S LIT, IT'S FIT, IT'S ANYTHING BUT SH*T! Buy your tickets, you won't wanna miss it!

People should come see RNL because it makes makes you feel things. Sometimes, (actually a lot of the time) its uncomfortable, but thats what is so great about RNL. It forces you to feel things you never even thought about... and I hear Craig Dilliplane takes his shirt off so...
— Allie Ambriano (Journalism and Media Studies and Theatre Arts, Senior)