More than three months worth of rehearsal is coming to an end this week as Elon University’s Music Theatre class of 2020 prepares for its senior showcase performance of “Cabaret.”
The 19 students collectively selected the show last year and began rehearsals at the beginning of September, all in preparation for this week’s performances. The senior Bachelor of Fine Arts music theatre showcase is required for the group’s senior seminar class, which is often spent as rehearsal time. The cast had to create flexible rehearsal schedules throughout the semester to accommodate other productions such as “Damn Yankees,” which ran in October.
“Whenever we get a chance, really, is when we rehearse,” said senior Liv Tummillo. She said life as a music theatre major at Elon is very different from that of a normal college student.
This is especially true for senior Liat Shuflita, who is directing this year’s senior showcase. Shuflita said she has been working from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. all semester, balancing classes with rehearsals and planning periods for “Cabaret,” her first directing experience at Elon.
“Personally, I would say I spend about 25 hours a week on “Cabaret.” Not only am I at rehearsals, but I also attend meetings with our design team and help out in any way I can,” Shuflita said.
Both Shuflita and Tummillo noted that music theatre majors are constantly moving and working in studios, sometimes rehearsing for five hours at a time.
“Music theatre is a very tangible and interactive major that requires a lot of hard work and generosity, utilizing the entire body: our voices, our minds and a great amount of listening,” Tummillo said.
The senior BFA music theatre showcase also serves as a fundraiser. Each year at Elon, the music theatre seniors raise around $20,000 to bring in casting directors and agents during the spring semester to network with and receive valuable feedback from. Ticket sales from “Cabaret” as well as any additional donations will go toward this financial goal.
“Cabaret” is an entirely student-run production and, in the words of Shuflita, “it takes a village.” The entire music theatre class of 2020 contributes to the show, either performing or working on the creative team for production. The show includes four understudies from other music theatre classes, also referred to as swings.
These swings must be rehearsed and ready to take over if anything should happen to one of the leading actors. Assisting on the technical side are several theatrical design and technology majors. These students help run sound, lighting and contribute to the design and creation of the set. Overall, a total of 35 students have contributed to the production.
Tummillo said her favorite part of this experience is that “Cabaret” is something unlike anything her class has ever tackled before.
According to Tummillo, the music theatre class of 2020 self-identifies as goofy and fun-loving. However, this show includes some deeper themes and social narratives that emphasize the unique capabilities of the class in other areas.
“‘Cabaret’ is the culmination of our four years here, and although it has had ups and downs, I am so amazed by what we’ve accomplished and happy to have taken this journey with my class,” Shuflita said.
This show marks an important milestone for the Music Theatre class of 2020, and the work doesn’t stop here. The showcase series continues throughout the spring and culminates in a performance at 54 Below Cabaret in New York City on March 17, 2020. The music theatre seniors will continue to rehearse and perform during the spring semester before they seek real-world experience post graduation.