The first annual Ann Richards Cabaret will begin rehearsals this Monday in preparation for a student written, student directed, and student produced show to be performed on January 13th.
“Cabaret is our attempt to get closer to having a musical on campus,” said choir teacher Millicent Jardine. “And so with our limited resources I decided that Cabaret would be the best option because you can just put a bunch of different songs from different shows together and not need an actual script or anything like that.”
Jardine has specific plans and ideas for the flagship production. She said she envisioned senior directors holding auditions, having her as almost an assistant. Just as Jardine had hoped, two seniors volunteered for the roles of co-directors: Annalise Irby, a fourth year choir student; and Monica Martinez, a seventh year choir student.
“It’s been a really new experience. It’s kind of like its own separate class,” said Martinez. “The beginning process, we first needed to see what did we want to do, what our plot was going to be, and then figure out the songs that we wanted to attach to that, and of course they needed to be Disney themed, and we were also like ‘nobody does evil person songs,’ like the villian’s songs.”
After holding auditions in the last few weeks of September, Irby, Martinez, and Jardine cast Wendy Rodriguez (10) as Megaera, Alexis Segura (11) as Aladdin, Jessica Hess (12) as Rapunzel, Monica Martinez (12) as Ursula, and Guiny Thomas (11) as Simba, making up the central cast.
“I like the dancing the best, however I am not good at dancing. I am injured also,” said Segura. About her character, she said, “I feel like he is actually a spiritual representation of me…He walks into classes without his homework done quite often, he’s incredibly clumsy, which is another thing that I have a tendency to be, and he also steals other people’s food. So yeah, I feel like I relate to him on a spiritual level.”
Not only are they leading the entire production, but Martinez and Irby are taking a unique approach to the concept of Cabaret.
“A traditional Cabaret is just like you pull different songs and do them one at a time, a song from here, a song from there. Our’s is actually a musical, so we wrote a plot throughout all the songs,” said Irby.
Martinez and Irby constructed a script with the help of senior Karrie Newton at the beginning of the school year starring five main characters and a number of supporting roles. All of the characters are based on well-known Disney characters in a high school setting.
“I just started helping Annalise write the script, because they needed help getting things going, so I just did my best to help them with whatever needed to happen,” said Newton, who will also be playing the role of one of the muses. “It was kind of hard at first to take regular Disney characters and put them into high school, or think about what they’d be doing.”
The students will continue to prepare throughout this semester and into the next for their upcoming performance.
“I’ve been in choir since freshman year, and I have no background in musicals at all, so this is like the first time I did anything like this,” said Irby. “But I’m really happy with where it’s going and I’m really happy with the people we auditioned. We have some really good talent.”