UNH PRIDE’s Cabaret 2: Electric Boogaloo

Francesca Fontanez

“I’m sorry, we’re already at full capacity for the evening.” This phrase and similar were relayed to numerous spectators trying to squeeze into Bucknall Theatre on Thursday, March 31, hoping to experience the University of New Haven PRIDE Club’s “Cabaret 2: Electric Boogaloo.”

Photo by Cassie Washington
Photo by Cassie Washington

This year’s cabaret stage show was a compilation of different musical numbers from various Broadway musicals. “Cabaret 2: Electric Boogaloo” featured renditions of 19 different numbers including, but not limited to, “You Can’t Stop the Beat” (“Hairspray”), “Take Me or Leave Me” (“Rent”), and a “Grease” medley. The audience was invited to join the cast of “Cabaret 2: Electric Boogaloo” on a whirlwind of assorted eras, themes, musical styles and more.

The production took six weeks to prepare, which was a challenge on its own, according to director Robert “Bobby” Vaccaro.

“Most of the hardships were in finding time to rehearse with the whole cast, as many of us have classes, work or club obligations outside of the show that we had to deal with,” said Vaccaro. “Also, having the week off for spring break was kind of a struggle for us, but the cast was able to keep up with their songs, and our vocal coach, Dali Irizarry, stage manager, Jessie Brownstein, and myself checked in on everyone to make sure things were going according to plan.”

“The hardest part of cabaret was probably balancing rehearsals,” said freshman Sabrina Williams. “I joined cabaret the second time because they are all like a family to me. When I perform on stage with them, I’m getting to perform onstage with all of my favorite people. Many of their stories are amazing and they change my life everyday. This cabaret in particular was very important because it was through PRIDE and I think it is important that we keep reminding people how important it is to not judge a book by its cover. A person’s sexuality isn’t the only thing that defines them.”

“Cabaret is completely student-run,” said Kate D’Alessandro, a junior Psychology and Theater double major. “We have the support of the UNH Theater Department, which we’re incredibly grateful for, but all of the directing, choreographing, lighting, stage managing, all of it is student-run. We book our own spaces and build this thing from the ground up. It’s one of the most difficult things to do, but seeing it come together in the end and building a family within this cast makes it the most rewarding show that many of us have done.”

In regards to the campus impact, there were numerous comments on the sense of community theatre inspires.

“Theatre is for all walks of life,” said Zachary Fontanez, a Cabaret performer. “On that stage, we have Theatre majors to Business majors to Criminal Justice majors. We have Greeks, we have RAs, we have PRIDE members and so much more. We all have such diverse identities, backgrounds and goals, but we all have one thing in common; a passion for theatre.”

Fontanez also mentioned how he appreciated the audience turn-out. “We loved the audience. They were fantastic! Even though they were from all different clubs, organizations, and/or social groups, they too came together to support the arts. It was a great turnout, and just a lot of fun for everyone, I think.”

For those who were turned away or simply hoped for another chance to catch this innovative showcase, there will be a second and final showing again in Bucknall Theatre on May 2.

“Cabaret can be a chance for people to get their feet wet in theater and know that they’ll be supported for trying something new,” D’Alessandro added. “It’s fun, it’s sexy, it’s emotional, and it’s a chance to have a voice and to silence every person who ever told you that you couldn’t do something. There’s something in it for everyone, whether you’re a theater fan or not, so everyone should definitely come and see it at least once!”