Sunday, June 12, 2016

Forget Your Troubles, Cabaret at Port Richmond!

Cast of Cabaret 
When Mr. Medugno brought Cabareback to Port Richmond he thought it would be smooth sailing, but soon encountered a few rough patches including a date change, casting changes, and a few costume fixes. Originally the dates of the play were April 15 & 16, 2016 but due to technical difficulties the show had to be pushed back. With the show dates being moved almost a month back, to May 13 & 15, 2016, the cast, crew, and Mr. Medugno got a little longer to work on sets, wardrobe, and to run lines and scenes. The cast and crew also received mentoring from Roundabout Theatre Company towards bringing together the final product.
The two performances received great reviews. Some of the students in Mr. Medugno’s  drama class wrote reviews of the production.  “Eddie Nieves was very entertaining to watch,” “Kaitlynn Gonzalez wowed me with her amazing vocals,” “Everybody was amazing” said student Jayda Casiano from Medugno’s third period class. Two of the cast members wrote about their experience of being part of the production. Christina Bae stated, “...being a part of this production has been an amazing journey. I’ve never been part of a show that has such a serious storyline, so it was cool to have that experience.” Mason Crowley, who played Ernst Ludwig said, “Most might see high school as a stepping stone into college, and that’s where you take the leap into adulthood, but in reality we take leaps with decisions we make in high school.”
EMCEE Posing with Dancers
 (LtoR Top) Sasha Jara, Chloe Roberson, Eddie Nieves,
Alyssa Garcia, and Jennifer Patron
 (LtoR Bottom) Viviana Delgado, Alexa Manno,
Chelsea Romero
When sitting down with the director, Mr. Medugno was said to be very proud of the cast, crew, and band of the show. In the playbill he was interviewed about the show, he was asked a wide variety of questions. Of the questions he was asked how he compared Eddie Nieves playing the role he played (EMCEE) to his performance. Mr. Medugno’s discussed, “There is no comparison, because we both played two different versions of it. Mine was the more traditional version, originally played by Joel Grey, and Eddie is taking on the more modern depiction portrayed by Alan Cumming. Two very similar versions, but also extremely different.” “It is the best! I love being able to participate (as a staff member) in all of the activities I loved so much as a student. Why not pick up where you leave off… right?  It is very symbolic for me.  Actually, it just so happened to work out this way.  I didn’t plan it, but you know what they say, things have a way of working out mysteriously.  When we took our students last year through the Roundabout partnership to see Cabaret at Studio 54, they were so into it. I sat quietly and watched them all become enthralled in this production.  Low and behold, I started to think in my brain about the possibility of putting it on here at Port, and realized, we in fact have the dynamic talents needed to mount it.  I also felt that since I hold this show so near and dear to me, why not come back to where I ended my love for performing at Port Richmond and pick it up from there.  My last role as a student was in fact the Emcee of this production.  Coincidentally, this year marks not only the 50th anniversary for Roundabout (who we’ve partnered with), but it’s also the 50th anniversary since Cabaret first opened.  As you know Roundabout revived it, therefore it essentially is a Roundabout show as well.  So there were a lot of different things pointing me in the direction of choosing this one as my first.”
Myself being the stage manager, and having to run back stage, I felt the show ran very smoothly on the days we performed. The first performance we had a packed house, and the second performance, we had a good crowd with a little less of a crowd than the first. During the week of tech rehearsals, we ran into a few minor bumps and bruises but overall the cast and crew had a great show. The exciting part of the whole experience was being filmed for CTV a local community television station, and going to the American Airlines theatre to participate in the Student Arts Festival. At the festival, the tech team participated in a Tech Challenge consisting of two costume changes, a set change and then tying two clove hitch knots. We ended up coming in first place with a time of one minute and thirty-three seconds. Later that day, we got a quick pep-talk from Zachary Levi, and then the cast was sent backstage to open the festival. The cast did amazing and received a standing ovation for a second year.
Cabaret is a play based off of Christopher Isherwood’s travels to Berlin in 1925. Within twenty years’ time, Isherwood had his travels published in a series of short stories called The Berlin Stories. In the 1950’s the series of books were turned into the movie called I Am A Camera, which was then turned into a musical when Harold Prince obtained the rights to the movie in 1965 and was opened in 1966. The musical starred Joel Grey and Liza Minnelli, and because of the great success Harold Prince’s version was adapted back to film but held closer to the play than the original movie, it also starred Joel Grey and Liza Minnelli. The musical made its way to Port Richmond High School in 2004 where Mr. Stoebling and Ms. Delaney put on a great production. Mr. Vinnie Medugno brought the musical back to Port Richmond High School in 2015 as the Port Richmond High School Spring Musical for May of 2016.

Photos Courtesy of Port Richmond High School Instagram:

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