Every year, the students in the Northwestern theatre department host a Cabaret night but, unfortunately, last year NW transitioned to online classes before the event could take place. This year, junior theatre students Karisa Meier and Angela Wintering have taken on the responsibility of bringing back this beloved event on Saturday, Feb. 6, at 7p.m. in the Black Box Theatre.
Cabaret is a theatrical form of entertainment originating in 1880’s France that resembles vaudeville theater, variety shows and open mic nights. Cabaret performances usually include an assemblage of various acts in music, song, dance, comedy and skit work which is presented in a club or restaurant as entertainment. Traditionally, performers will transition between acts through verbal rapport with the audience called “patter.” NW’s cabaret tradition typically focuses on vocal performance, where students showcase their musical talents by performing musical theater numbers.
This year, Meier and Wintering have given cabaret the theme “Dream Roles and Do-Overs.” Meier came up with the idea after a conversation about future cabarets with a fellow theater student her freshman year.
“I thought the do-over portion would give people a chance to show how much they’ve grown since performing a role for the first time,” she said. “And dream roles are simply that—a role you’ve always wanted to play or a song you’ve always wanted to sing. We’d get to see a little glimpse of people’s love for musical theater and the stories behind those songs.”
Saturday’s showcase will include twelve musical acts featuring numbers from popular musicals such as Waitress, Wicked, The Book of Mormon and Newsies. Wintering and Meier will both be performing songs from the musicals Come From Away and Amelie respectively.
Most acts will be presented by single performers, but several duets will be included as well. Additionally, in order to achieve the classic patter and comedy of cabaret, several members of the Black V will be hosting the event and acting as emcees.
Since the cabaret’s cancelation last spring, Meier and Wintering were both passionate about bringing back the event this year. Meier was unable to participate in a cabaret during her time at NW but has wanted to be involved in the process since for a long time. On the other hand, Wintering participated in the last cabaret at NW in 2019 where she performed a solo act and the famous “Cell Block Tango” from the musical Chicago with several other women from the theatre department. Since she had such a great time, Wintering wanted to be a part of the planning process so others could participate as well.
Part of the magic of cabaret is the atmosphere. Wintering states that when she took part in 2019 it was great to perform in such a casual and fun environment.
“I love being able to sing and not care about how it sounds,” she said.
Meier agrees, emphasizing that cabaret is specifically meant to be easy and low stakes for all ability levels and departments.
“Cabaret reduces the gate keeping around musical theater and the theater department, like how one-acts do,” she said. “It gives people a place who like performing to do it.”
If you like musical theater, singing or just need a break from studying, head to the black box Saturday night at 7p.m. to support your fellow raiders in a wonderful evening of music.