As life proceeds as usual on the Hill, the theatre and dance building has been bursting with life for the past two months preparing for the latest Gustavus Musical, Cabaret. For a show like this, all kinds of talent need to come together in order to make the production run smoothly.
From costume designers to actors, directors to technicians, many students had their hands on this show.
The show takes place inside the infamous Kit Kat Club, where Sophomore Ryan Huxford, Senior Clay Sletta, First-year Elaina McRath, ‘21 and numerous ensemble members take the stage every night to forget their woes amidst pre-WWII Germany.
While the world may be in turmoil outside, life is beautiful in the Cabaret ‒ right?
One factor that makes this show so incredibly alluring is the choreography, done by Senior Emma Hunt. This is the first show Hunt has done choreography for, which was a new challenge for her to tackle.
“It’s been stressful to choreograph so many dance numbers for multiple different groups of people, some of which have never even danced before,” Hunt said.
“I don’t have theatre experience, so it’s been difficult to immerse myself in a different kind of production that functions so differently from the dance side of the department.”
While Hunt has been immersed in the dance aspect of the show, first-year Jenn Sorvick has been working as an assistant stage manager. The countless hours that she’s invested have given her a deeper understanding of the show, and what theatre is like at Gustavus.
“One of the reasons why I love Cabaret is because the political tension in the show is just as prevalent in America today,” Sorvick said. “The audience will reflect on what they have or haven’t done to support causes that are important to them and what they can do to make an impact.”
Additionally, Sorvick has found that the casting plays a heavy role on the show’s overall tone.
“I also find it incredibly interesting that Amy Seham chose to double cast the emcee. Ryan Huxford and Clay Sletta have two completely different interpretations of the emcee, but they both provide stark contrast to some of the unsettling parts of the show,” Sorvick said.
The musical started as a J-Term experience. Additionally, they worked after classes and during the weekends once Spring Semester began in order to finish the final details of the show.
The costumes in this show are just as fascinating as the story. Senior Georgia Bebler worked hard to design historically-accurate costumes for all the characters, right down to the bright red Nazi armbands. While the political undertones of this show are strong, the cast has remained optimistic and friendly.
“The cast is such a wonderful, diverse group of people who come from different majors and backgrounds and are coming together to create such a complex and exciting show,” Hunt said.
“Every person sitting in the audience will enjoy this show, no matter their age, background, circumstances, and beliefs. It has something for everyone, and we’ve worked hard to make this the best production possible.”
From a performers standpoint, this show is a unique experience in that it allows them to experience a different era in time, as First-year Emma Goebel saw.
“Cabaret is super interesting because it gives me an opportunity to basically be a part of a time that was very controversial,” Goebel said.
Overall, Sorvick is proud of the work that the cast has done, both in their acting and making the historical background of the show as accurate as possible.
“The cast is incredibly hardworking and insightful. They’ve done a lot of dramaturgy work to create characters that are true to the Nazi era, but relatable to an audience in 2018,” Sorvick said.
Hunt also had great things to say about the show, and it’s overall effect. “I would say the most difficult part of bringing the script to life is creating movement and gestures that add something new and different without disrupting the intent of every line,” Hunt said.
Cabaret runs in Anderson Theatre February 23-24 and March 2-3 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 25 and March 4 at 2 p.m.