Beginning this Thursday, Crossroads transforms into the Kit Kat Klub for a thoughtful, and anything-but-ordinary, performance of Cabaret.
True to the Crossroads ethos of everyone having a voice, a place, and something to contribute, the musical knits together the talents and perspectives of our school community, with nearly 50 students taking part in the conception and execution of the musical experience.
Students have contributed to all aspects of the show, supported by theater teacher Deb Mein, who recalls walking into the black box during lunch and seeing a student vacuuming the floor.
“I don’t even have to empower these students anymore; they want to do this, they feel responsible for the product and a need to create,” she adds. “There are student leaders across the board.”
For the first time, the show’s choreography was developed and taught by a student, junior Alex Godiner, who has danced and performed for regional (The Muny) and national (Dance Excellence) organizations.
“I’ve been doing theater and dance since I was three years old. I’ve danced with many studios and I love helping others learn,” Alex says. He choreographed 22 songs in addition to his homework load, listening to songs on repeat and finding inspiration from adaptations of the show at colleges and universities with strong theater programs. “Working with my peers has been rewarding,” he adds. “I think it’s helpful to be a student teacher, because we have an understanding about balancing our school work and can get to know each other outside of class.”
Junior Camden Breckenridge has led a team of peers to build costumes for the show. “Costumes are usually the part of the show that people forget; they pay attention to the actors not what they are wearing. But for me, costumes are a massive part of my life,” they add. “I research design and build for hundreds of hours. This process instills such a sense of pride and accomplishment that I will never be able to leave this work behind.”
Deb’s and the students’ conception of Cabaret differs from the typical scintillating version of the show many people have come to expect. Audience members will enjoy an evening of Vaudevillian-style variety acts and wonderful music and dancing, all while keeping an eye on the socio-political climate of German “kabaret” and of 1920s/30s Berlin.
“This musical serves as a dark metaphor for the rise of the Nazi party in Germany,” Deb adds. “Though aspects of the show could be difficult for some audiences, the crew and cast believe it is timely and can provide a great deal of learning about our own humanity and ‘inescapable network of mutuality’.”
Students were able to add their perspectives on the show through the writing and development of an immersive theater performance that the audience takes part in for thirty minutes before the show and during intermission.
“As soon as the audience arrives and they cross through a curtain they will be part of the show,” Deb says. “Actors will be dressed and performing scenes designed to give the audience a balance of the bigger picture of the time — the change of governments and the rise of the Nazi party. It will give the audience a good feeling of the very fraught and dark nature of the second half of the show.”
The immersive experience was written and directed by senior Elena Truman, and it speaks to the degree of collaboration and creative leadership the students have gained working on the show. Nearly 50 students have had their hands in the show – from the cast and crew to the marionettes that feature in the show that were built by students.
“When you think about our school being so small, and see that nearly 50 people are involved –that is a huge percentage of our school working together and devoting countless hours to creating something beautiful,” adds Deb. “I can’t say enough about how impressive their talent and leadership is. It causes me to believe in humanity.”
View the program detailing the cast, crew, and the many contributions of our school community.