A talented group of singers and actors performed in InterMission Theatre’s 2019 Spring Musical Theatre Cabaret March 29 and 30 at Mitchell Theatre.
The Cabaret, directed by University of Wisconsin students Josie Brandmeier, Benjamin Liupaogo, Nick Pavelic and Bryanna Plaisir, featured a lineup of songs any theatre nerd would be happy to hear, including tunes from “Dear Evan Hansen,” “The Book of Mormon” and “Rent.” While all aspects of the show were well done, the singers definitely stole the show.
Sixteen incredibly talented soloists among the 20-member ensemble performed beautiful and powerful solo and duet sections to the crowd’s delight.
The Cabaret showcased a number of musicals spanning different moods. From comedic to sorrowful, the singers mastered each and found a way to connect with each piece.
Following the ensemble’s entertaining rendition of “Belle” from “Beauty and the Beast,” Tanner Zocher and Dillon Moore kept the audience laughing with “All for the Best” from “Godspell.” The pair’s voices complemented one another nicely, even when they were presenting the battling viewpoints of Judas and Jesus on why some people fall on hard times.
Actors Lindsey Cardell, Ari Manghera, Carly Serketich, Connor Torpy, Hannah Weibel and Valentino Wolf performed scenes from seven musicals before songs which corresponded to the scenes were sung. While all of the actors gave great performances, Torpy delivered one of the most notable efforts with a scene from “Dear Evan Hansen.”
Torpy’s portrayal of Evan Hansen, a socially anxious teen who has accidentally gotten in over his head in an emotionally-charged situation was spot on, from the way he delivered his lines to the anxious tics he added. The scene blended seamlessly into “Disappear,” also from “Dear Evan Hansen.”
Though “Disappear” is not the most well-known song from “Dear Evan Hansen,” it is one of the most relatable and emotional, and it remained so as it was sung by a group of six performers. Moore and Pavelic, singing the parts of Conor Murphy and Evan Hansen respectively, stood out in this piece not only for their incredible vocal talent but for their performative emotional connection to the song.
Switching from a song like “Disappear” to a song like “With Cat-like Tread” from “Pirates of Penzance,” which has an entirely different mood, is a tall order for anyone, but the members of the male ensemble managed it with ease. “With Cat-like Tread” — a song the ensemble clearly had fun acting out — displayed the strength the singers had as a group leading to an altogether memorable piece.
One of the most anticipated songs of the evening, “Let’s Hear it for the Boy” from “Footloose” lived up to expectations. Soloist Plaisir’s powerful voice brought the house down on more than one occasion, but no more impressively than during this spectacular number.
“Therapy” from “Tick, Tick … Boom!” is funny on its own, but the performance by Hansen and Seamus Fleischman had the audience in stitches between their precise timing and hilarious acting.
“One Normal Night,” from “The Addams Family” was sung by the whole ensemble, but featured Sam Vinitsky, Zocher and Claire Turke as soloists. As a whole, this was one of the most memorable pieces of the evening. Between Turke (Wednesday Addams) belting out killer notes, Vinitsky (Gomez Addams) hitting a near-operatic note and Zocher (Lucas Beineke) playing the role of a nervous teen to a tee coupled by the sheer chaos the ensemble reenacted, it’s no wonder the directors chose to end the first act with this fun number.
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“Song of Purple Summer” from “Spring Awakening” was easily one of the most beautiful pieces of the show. With Brandmeier taking the lead, the ensemble produced a gorgeous song that had a near elegant quality to it.
“No Day But Today/Finale B” from “Rent” had this same quality, and combined it with the powerful voices of Ladue, Fleischman and Joey Ferrito to achieve an ethereal sound that left me with goosebumps running up and down my arms.
Following “No Day But Today/ Finale B” to close the show was “Embrace Your Inner Geek” from “Band Geeks.” “Embrace Your Inner Geek” showcased the strong connection between the ensemble members and was the perfect way to close a very strong and enjoyable show.
Keep an eye on InterMission’s social media for any updates on upcoming shows.