Slippery Rock’s Musical Theatre Society staged a production titled “The Moulin Rouge Cabaret” on March 17 and 18, that breathed new life into familiar songs from musicals such as “Moulin Rouge,” “Cabaret,” “Jekyll and Hyde,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Chicago” and many others.
The cabaret was completely student-run and co-directed by Carina Iannarelli and Jessica Patterson.
“We always want to give any people from all different majors the chance to do the things they want in Musical Theatre Society,” Senior co-director and emerging technology and theatre double major Carina Iannarelli said. “The Society was asking for a ‘darker and sexier’ show to do. They wanted a challenge! So we gave it to them and I am very proud of all that they have accomplished.”
The show had been in production for a total of five weeks before opening on Tuesday. The cast of 30 students, regardless of skill level, learned new songs and how to perform the choreography.
Elements of the show, like the interactive set and special lighting effects, would not have been possible without the work of the ten pit-members and stage crew who helped the directors vision become a reality, Iannarelli said.
Junior cast member and secondary education social studies major Ryan Logue said everyone who participated was challenged in one way or another.
“We chose [the cabaret] to give everyone who auditioned for it a chance to really challenge themselves musically,” Classic songs from “Sweeny Todd” were juxtaposed with selections from recent revivals such as “Into the Woods” and “Burlesque”. Highlights of the show include the opening scene of “Willkommen” from “Cabaret”, featuring Phil Bova and the ensemble.
The song created and captured the mood that would set the stage for the rest of the evening.
Samantha Christou and AJ Newman’s performance of “Think of Me” from “The Phantom of the Opera” was the first duet to take advantage of the layout of the Swope Recital Hall. Later performers would remove aesthetic distances by singing within the audience.
The show in its entirety included an array of emotional solo performances, expressive group dance numbers, ensemble selections and an ovation-worthy closing group number of “Come What May” from Moulin Rouge.
All of this was accomplished with minimal but effective set pieces and lighting effects. The show was well received by audience and cast alike, with bountiful, encouraging and approving applause following each song.
“The thing I love most about this is that it requires a different type of acting than what most of us are used to,” Logue said. “It has been a good challenge for all of us to overcome.”
“This Cabaret has definitely been my favorite this year,” freshman cast member and hospitality, event management and tourism major Emily Anuszek said.
“Coming in as a freshman, I wasn’t sure what to expect joining this society, but it truly is a place to call home,” Anuszek said. “Everyone is so accepting and it’s like a giant family. My favorite thing about this Cabaret was how it taught us all to be comfortable in our bodies and own it!”