Cabaret troupe debuts with miscast concert

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Cabaret troupe debuts with miscast concert

Studens rpesent at the cabaret troupe.

Studens rpesent at the cabaret troupe.

Annie Rubinson

Studens rpesent at the cabaret troupe.

Annie Rubinson

Annie Rubinson

Studens rpesent at the cabaret troupe.

Annie Rubinson, Features Design Editor

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On Friday, Nov. 30, the Masters Cabaret Troupe showcased twelve members and three guest performers in a Miscast Concert in the Experimental Theatre. In their introduction, senior co-presidents Leah Cunningham and Jake Hoffman described the production as an opportunity for members to perform musical theatre songs that they love, but that are typically performed by roles that the actors would not be cast as. For example, several female participants performed numbers originally sung by male roles, and vice versa. Throughout the entire performance, each miscast performer brought a fresh interpretation to their piece, along with incredible musicianship and theatricality.

        First on the program was junior Chelsea Hall, who performed a female rendition of “Proud of Your Boy” from Aladdin. The simplicity of Hall’s performance allowed her emotions to shine through; in addition, her strategic dynamic build throughout the song and her excellent use of the entire performance space kept the audience at the edge of their seats.

        Following Hall was quite possibly the most humorous performance of the evening. Senior member of Cabaret Troupe Marika Brungs, along with her two friends Juliana Luis and Elizabeth Cohen–both guest performers–delivered a hilarious version of “Hey Kendra” from 13: The Musical. The comedy of the performance escalated even further when Hoffman, along with senior and guest performer Jackson Frieman appeared in dresses, portraying generic, dramatic thirteen-year-old girls. With that said, what made this performance stand out was not necessarily the optics, but the obvious comradery of the performers on stage.

        Next were sophomores Iris Pelli-Walbert and Elizabeth Joffe, performing “Two Nobody’s in New York” from Title of Show, originally sung by two male actors. Prior to this performance, I had heard of neither this song nor the musical from which it came, but the two girls’ tight harmonies and adorable interactions with one another–including a hilarious breaking of the fourth wall in the middle of the song–made me fall in love with the piece by the end. I certainly look forward to listening to the rest of the score.

        I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the following performance, given that the song came from Frozen: The Musical, which I have never been too fond of. However, Hoffman’s performance of “Monster”, sung by Elsa in the original production, provided me with a fresh interpretation of the song that I didn’t know I needed.

        Fifth was “Suddenly, Seymour” (Little Shop of Horrors) performed by sophomores Russell Wohl and Elizabeth Oakes. In the musical, the song is sung by Audrey and Seymour, two awkward co-workers that fall desperately in love. But in this version, Oakes acted as Seymour and Wohl poured his heart out as Audrey On the note of Russell Wohl, in addition to performing with Oakes, he beautifully accompanied roughly half of the other performers on the piano, as well as arranging “Two Nobodies in New York”, despite only having played piano for two years.

        Next was Ariana Copland’s performance of “Corner of the Sky”–one of my favorite songs from my favorite musicals, Pippin. Copland is an incredibly strong vocalist with a monster belt, and acting choices that truly brought the performance to life. Wohl’s impeccable piano playing certainly enhanced the number as well. After Copland, Cunningham brought the house down with her performance of “I’m Alive” from Next to Normal. While I enjoyed listening to the vocal aspect of the song, what truly stood out to me was her stage presence and attitude.

        Up next were freshmen Lila Patterson and Patrick Curnin-Shane, along with Pelli-Walbert. The three performers, all of whom first met at performing arts camp, delivered what was inarguably the sassiest, most elaborate performance of the night. Their rendition of “Candy Store” from Heathers: The Musical provided a unique opportunity for Patterson to finally bring out her inner diva in her portrayal of Heather Chandler. What was even more impressive to me, however, was the choreography that was extremely well-executed by all three performers. My one regret was not clicking my camera fast enough to capture Curnin-Shane’s high kick.

        For their musical theatre debut in the Upper School, freshmen AJ Halpern and Avery Sheindlin performed “I Won’t Say I’m in Love” from Hercules. For some of the newest and youngest members of the club, their performance was quite strong, both vocally and emotionally.

        Last but not least was Cunningham and Hoffman’s powerful performance of “Don’t Do Sadness/Blue Wind” from Spring Awakening, where they each played the role of the opposite gender. Both exemplified their musicianship with the various added modulations within the piece, and the complicated layering of both their parts. And, it certainly brought back fond memories for the other cast members of Spring Awakening in the audience.

        The Cabaret Troupe Miscast production certainly surprised me in more ways than I initially expected; whether through the assignments of roles, or the untraditional interpretations of each piece. I look forward to following some of the younger performers as they continue with their Masters theatre careers.

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