June 4, 2020

TCNJ Musical Theatre hosts cabaret-themed performance

By Alyssa Apuzzio
Staff Writer

The Library Auditorium was in full swing the night of Friday, Feb. 17, with TCNJ Musical Theatre’s Cabaret Night, an event dedicated to students’ passion for music and vocals.

“Everyone auditioned two weeks prior to the show and practices on their own time,” said Sarah Reynolds, vice president of TMT and a junior English and secondary education dual major.

Reynolds, who performed in the show, said the theme is always put to a vote, and TMT elected a cabaret-themed night complete with songs from film, television and Broadway.

The opening number was “Friends On The Other Side,” from Disney’s “The Princess and The Frog.” Beau Aranosian, a senior interactive multimedia major, performed the vocals with the help of two volunteers.

Aranosian portrays a villain from ‘The Princess and the Frog.’ (Natalie La Spisa / Staff Photographer)

Aranosian sang to the audience as well as to the two men onstage, sharing looks with exaggerated facial expressions with them. Aranosian perfectly matched his voice to project deeply and ominously, emitting a sinister charm and even maniacally laughing at the song’s completion.

In the next number, “Cheek to Cheek” from the 1935 classic American comedy “Top Hat,” senior English major Henry Albright channeled his inner Fred Astaire.

Albright’s voice was cheerful and pleasing, while his performance was lighthearted and sweet. About halfway through his performance, Albright walked over to the front row and pulled a girl from her seat to dance with him. The audience laughed and cheered while the two waltzed around the stage and when Albright twirled the girl around multiple times.

Loriana Attanasio, a junior health and exercise science major, has attended TMT’s Cabaret Night in the past and had nothing but rave reviews of the show in the past and present.

“This is my third year seeing the show, and it gets better each year,” Attanasio said. “It incorporates a little bit of everything, and everyone involved is very talented.”

A few numbers later, Brooke Buonauro, a senior communication studies major, and Jonathan Edmondson, president of TMT, a former member of The Signal staff and a senior journalism major, joined forces to sing “You Are The Music In Me” from “High School Musical 2.”

Buonauro took over at the piano during the performance, while Edmondson leaned over the piano as they sang to each other sweetly. With a smile on everyone’s face, it is safe to say the performance transported the audience back to their middle school days.

Albright serenades a volunteer from the audience. (Natalie La Spisa / Staff Photographer)

Kathleen Fox, a senior interactive multimedia major, sang “I’m A Good Person” from  “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” It was a hilarious change of pace, as she interacted with the audience,  pointing at them while maintaining an amusing expression on her face. The song was explicit and generated roars of laughter from the audience. Fox succeeded in making the audience sing along with her during the chorus.

Similar to Fox’s cheeky and hysterical performance, Jenna Burke, a senior English and secondary education dual major, did a rendition of “You Stupid Bitch” later in the show, also from “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” which caused an uproar of laughter from the audience. Both of the comedic numbers were likely stuck in the audience’s heads long after the show.

Right before intermission, Alec Skwara, a sophomore history and secondary education dual major, and Sam Chang, a junior philosophy major, sang a duet to “Lava” from the Pixar short “Lava.” 

Released with Disney and Pixar’s “Inside Out” in 2015, Lava is the musical story of a lonely volcano in the middle of the ocean that yearns for love.

In addition to Skwara and Chang’s soft and sweet vocals, Rachel Zook played the ukulele onstage. Zook, a freshman interactive multimedia major, said she has only been playing the ukulele for a little over a year.

“I come from a family that loves music – my Dad played guitar,” Zook said. “I didn’t pick up the guitar, but I picked up the ukulele.”

Returning from intermission, “High School Musical’s” “Bop To The Top” was performed by Eric Schreiber, a junior chemistry major, and Reynolds, who wore a bright blue dress with ruffles and flair, channeling her character Sharpay’s style and whimsical personality.

Schreiber and Reynolds traipsed around the stage, stepping on the stool onstage and dancing with one another. The number was fun, cheesy and lively, pleasantly mirroring the scene in “High School Musical.”

During the second half of Cabaret Night, two songs were sung from Disney’s latest hit “Moana.” junior nursing major Chelsea Korn performed “How Far I’ll Go,” which was nominated for a Golden Globe and Academy Award and about pushing one’s limit and potential.

Members of TMT perform together. (Natalie La Spisa / Staff Photographer)

Korn’s number was soft yet empowering, while the next “Moana” number, titled “You’re Welcome,” was eccentric and full of entertainment.

Performed by the conceded demigod Maui in the film, Kyle Elphick, web editor for The Signal and a sophomore journalism major, perfectly matched Maui’s confident and arrogant presence, singing with an egotistic tone, exaggerating his hand gestures and making pompous faces.

When the tempo accelerated toward the end, Elphick jumped around the stage and amped up the energy in the room, finishing an unforgettable performance.

Angelica Vanderbilt, a junior English and elementary education double major, truly enjoyed all of the performances.

“A lot of my friends major in music, but there isn’t musical theater or acting major at TCNJ, so nights like this are a cool change,” Vanderbilt said.

Vanderbilt finds the talents of the performers “kind of crazy” and very impressive.

“Shows like this are amazing because we get to see hidden talents that we normally don’t know exist among students in all different majors,” she said.

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