Last Friday, before the infamous October snowstorm and extensive power outage, the music department performed their annual Cabaret production. The theme for this year’s show was a classic Broadway experience, and the songs featured in the show certainly covered a wide range of musicals.
Wildcat Word went behind the scenes on the night of the performance, and was able to see “The Queen,” also known as Ms. Neville, and her talented choir students do some vocal warm ups before the show, as well as score a couple of interviews with the featured soloists.
The always smiling junior, Kelly Tyra, traded her naturally cheerful demeanor for a mascara-smudged, frizzy- haired, teary- eyed look, complete with a taffeta gown, for her performance of “It’s Raining on Prom Night,” from Grease the Musical. Tyra said that she chose the song because, “it’s a really fun song to sing, and I enjoy acting it out by making my hair look crazy and have makeup running down my face. I love getting into character.” She definitely succeeded in making herself look the part she was portraying, and her amazing voice definitely sealed the deal in creating one of the night’s standout performances. Tyra’s performance made half of the audience want to go up onstage and give her a hug, while the other half was fighting the urge to punch her prom date. When asked how long she had been singing, Tyra said with a shrug and a down-to-earth smile, “Since before I could I guess!” Her love of performing translates when she takes the stage.
Sophomore, Kathryn Kennedy, says that Cabaret “has been a great experience,” and was very excited to have gotten a solo. Her jazzy rendition of “Summertime,” from the musical, Porgy and Bess was definitely a head-turning performance. Kennedy says she has, “always loved the song, and although it’s from an older musical, it is such a classic song that many people will recognize it when they hear it.” Kennedy’s smooth voice took the song to the next level, and showed that all she needs is a microphone and an open stage to wow any crowd with her remarkable vocal talent.
The very talented junior, Kenny Roper, sang the song “Stars,” from the highly acclaimed classic, Les Miserables. He remarked, “Les Mis is gorgeous, and the character, Javert, is perfectly in my range, which is kind of low, so I thought this would be a good song to sing.” He seemed to be very casual and confident when interviewed before the show, but despite this, he admitted to being slightly nervous about his performance. This definitely didn’t show during his piece, and Kenny seemed very in character and sang the song with the amount of emotion it deserves.
The spunky sophomore, Kelly Roper has been singing since she was six years old, and sang “I Know the Truth,” from the musical Aida at Cabaret. Kelly’s infectiously bright and hilarious personality was tangible as she mentioned, “This song is a lot more light and airy than I’m used to, and normally I do big, belty songs, but I really wanted to try something different this time.” Despite her admitted nervousness during the interview, she nailed the performance, and I, for one, look forward to hearing her do more of this style in addition to other genres, because she definitely is a versatile, powerful singer who can probably handle anything thrown at her style-wise.
Natalia Stifano, clad in black leather pants, a tied up white shirt, red heels, and scandalous red lipstick, depicted the tough, saucy character, Betty Rizzo, showing her vulnerable side in singing, “There are Worse Things I Could Do,” from the musical Grease. When the sophomore was asked if she was nervous, Stifano slipped out with a laugh, “I’m actually pumped… More pumped than a bicycle tire!” Stifano managed to completely transform her jovial self in order to capture the meaning of the song. Not only does Natalia have a great voice, but her way of connecting to the song conveys to the audience the exact emotion desired by the character she portrayed.
Finally, sophomore Caroline Renner and senior Nick Damraska performed a duet together from the musical, In the Heights called “When You’re Home.” The up-beat music and lyrics complemented the voices of Renner and Damraska, who both had never performed a duet outside of a musical production. According to Damraska, “Caroline recommended that we sing this song, and I wasn’t surprised because In the Heights is her favorite musical. I really like the song too.” As a duo, these two singers certainly pulled off a great performance of the unique song, which was also a pleasant change-up after hearing a few ballads.