VALLEY gives two thumbs up to the Penn State Thespians for their latest production, “Cabaret,” directed by Chad Poz. This fantastic spring musical took place March 21-23 in Schwab Auditorium.
A Broadway classic and Tony award winner, “Cabaret” is set in 1931 Berlin, Germany as the Nazis began to gain power. The story follows Cliff Bradshaw, an American writer played by senior Reed Callan, who finds himself at the seedy Kit Kat Klub. There, Cliff meets Sally Bowles, an English cabaret performer played by senior Montana Telman. Through Cliff’s perspective and many musical numbers at the nightclub, the audience discovers the dark and tumultuous life of the many different characters. The entire musical is narrated by the gender-bending Emcee at the Klub, played by freshman Sean Terrey.
The all-student cast did an outstanding job putting on such a powerful show. With songs like “Maybe this Time,” “Willkommen” and of course, “Cabaret,” the vocal performances left the audience in awe. The actors were so convincing in their roles, from their confident dance moves to their emotional acting. Thespians beautifully balanced light humor, such as when the character of Emcee decided to dance with members of the audience, with the deeper meanings of the show that dealt with politics, hatred and ignorance.
Camryn Powers, who plays Fraulein Schneider in the show, comments that her biggest challenge was “perfecting the mannerisms of an older woman. The voice, her movements, how she carries herself are all different than my twenty-year-old self. I wanted her to feel real and authentic, not a caricature or a stereotype.”
If you didn’t know, the Penn State Thespian Society is the longest running student organization on University Park’s campus, founded in 1897.
Shayna Farmelant, the current president, speaks on the mission of this organization:
“For over 120 years, Thespians’ continued success has been a direct result of student passion for theater. We put on our productions because we love it and because we believe in the power of theater to make an impact on a community.”
In fact, throughout the year, the club performs an adapted children’s novel at Schlow Library once a semester to promote child literacy and a yearly show benefiting Centre County AIDS research as well as two student-produced musicals!
The musicals, from the rehearsal staff to the cast to the technical staff, are entirely student produced. In fact, there are 53 heads, 73 crew members, and 17 cast members, resulting in a total of 143 students working to put this show together! At the end of every academic year, the organization opens up show proposals to all members of the club. After the top five shows are chosen by a committee, the club votes on the top two for the upcoming school year. VALLEY strongly recommends everyone catch their next show!