Review: Cabaret Troupe performs contemporary music


The Newtonite

by Maddie Griswold

Talent and earnest passion radiated from the voices of actors in Cabaret Troupe’s “Reasons To Run,” directed by junior Juliet Roll and sophomore Peter Diamond.

The show runs Thursday, Jan. 10 through Friday, Jan. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium. Tickets are on sale during lunch, on and at the door for $7.

The show consists entirely of contemporary musical theatre songs, introducing the audience to new and memorable theatrical favorites. Even though the cast establishes no clear plot, the theme of security is delivered through a medley of carefully chosen songs, ranging from comical to melancholic.
The show opens to 21 silhouettes arranged in groups of three in front of a line of microphones. Senior Chris D’Agostino opens the show. His voice rings out clearly as he sings the first few notes of “Reasons to Run,” a song from a musical called “Fugitive Songs” by Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen. This opening song features a range of cast members, highlighting the strong vocals and harmonies of Cabaret Troupe.
As the first act continues, the troupe performs many delightful numbers. Senior Madeline Murphy, junior Isabel Rivero and freshman Ethan Smith sing of a case of the “Pretty Girl Blues” from the musical “Tales from the Bad Years” by Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk. In addition, Diamond sings about the story of a man’s new life in Alaska, and junior Will Champion sings a humorous piece dedicated to a pot-smoking madman.

The highlight of Act I is the showcase of freshman Rowan Morrissey in “Hourglass” from “The Daughters” by Shaina Taub with junior Joyani Ghosh. Morrissey’s bluesy voice harmonizes flawlessly with Ghosh’s soprano tones, creating a beautiful balance.

Act I is carried off by the entire cast with electric high notes in “Exiled,” a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay set to music by Carmel Dean.

After intermission, the cast greets the audience with a costume change from the brighter colors of Act I to all black. This clever switch and sophomore Abby Rowe’s tasteful lighting choices reflects the haunting tone of “The Ballad of Sara Berry” from “35MM” by Ryan Scott Oliver, the opening song of the act, and other darker songs that are to come.

In the high point of the night, sophomore Aiden O’Neal belts out “Mama, mama, mama” in “The I Love You Song” originally from the musical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” by William Finn. The song is a reflection of two parents’ pressures on their young daughter. The piece delivers “an incredibly beautiful three-part harmony,” as promised in an earlier interview from Roll.

The lyrics “I think Dad is angry, Ma, and I do not know what to do . . . I think he takes out on me, what he wants to take out on you,” truly strike a nerve. The singers, O’Neal and seniors Sam McCall and Anna Nemetz, touch upon the topic of abuse through the eyes of an innocent child. If there is not a tear in the audience’s eye already, there is now.

To lighten the mood, senior Nora Elghazzawi tells the story of a kidnapped neighbor in “Darryl is a Boy (and He Lives in my Closet)” by Michael Mitnick. Her commitment to the role of the “overly attached girlfriend” is refreshing.

The final showstopper of the night came in the form of sophomore Jonathan Gomolka. D’Agostino, Diamond, Gomolka, Smith and junior Danny Thibeault shine in an clever uptempo song that keeps audience members at the edge of their seats. As the boys shimmy and harmonize perfectly, Gomolka’s commitment to his role as the flamboyant and fabulous student and his impressive riffs truly steal the show.

The cast comes together one last time to sing “Traffic Island Song” from the musical “Island Song” by Sam Carner and Derek Gregor. The featured singers belt out their lyrics with zeal, especially Nemetz, and the melodic harmonies dominate. At the end of this piece, the music fades into the background in the best way possible.

It was the directors’ ability to spotlight individual talents, while still keeping the focus on the group, that largely contributed to the success of the production.

A truly enjoyable experience, “Reasons to Run” certainly gives the audience reason to stay.