Virtual cabaret gives student performers the chance to shine

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by Rachel Ducran
 
Despite the current inability to hold live productions, the Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School music department has found a way to provide student actors and singers the opportunity to put on a show. On Wednesday, Nov. 25, staff members Morgan Knight and Jan Allen published a video of multiple student performances for the entire SPFHS community to view. The project, put together with the help of senior student director JJ Dionisio, consisted of students in full costume, dancing and singing at several different spots around town— all while following coronavirus regulations.
 
The theme of the video was the Golden Age of Broadway. Songs performed by students were from the 1940s and 1950s—  musical arrangements that are presently classics in the theater world. Auditions were held earlier in the year with students required to sing a song of their choice from the time period. Songs included were from Cabaret, Funny Girl, The Music Man, and many more sensations from Broadway’s golden era. Senior and performer Ally Vlkovic shared her feelings about the coronavirus’ impact on her senior year.
 
“I really enjoyed being able to participate considering all of our activities have been cut this year so far,” Vlkovic said. “It made me emotional not being able to perform around my friends, because my favorite part about performing is being able to do it around my friends and being able to have fun with them. However, I appreciate all the efforts made for the showcase.”
 
Although the project wasn’t exactly reminiscent of a true on-stage production, it enabled students to express themselves and show off their talents. It also allowed students to have the freedom that they wouldn’t usually have in organized productions. Another performer in the production, Riya Kishen, junior at SPFHS, feels that although the cast was limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was a wonderful opportunity.
 
“Students got to solo on songs of their own choice, something we don’t usually get to do during fall and spring productions, which are scripted,” Kishen said. “I had the privilege of being able to accompany my own voice on piano, which I’ve never gotten to do before, and I absolutely loved it.”
 
While it is disheartening that the students  can’t gather and experience the camaraderie they usually do while on stage, thanks to the virtual cabaret, they are still able to watch and support each other from home.
 
“It’s so fun to see everyone’s hard work come together despite not physically being with each other,” Kishen said.
 
To watch the virtual cabaret and donate to the SPFHS repertory theater program, visit spfrep.com.