SpotLight Program and School of Rock students turn it up!

Some people grab a hairbrush and an air guitar to rock out—but for 15 students this summer, the hairbrush was traded in for a microphone and the volume was turned up to the max.  From August 6-18, students from our SpotLight Musical Theatre Program and the School of Rock combined forces to create their own show culminating in a one-night performance on Monday, August 20 at the New Century Theatre.

The Cabaret Camp students walked away with real life skills in directing, writing, arranging, movement/choreography, technical skills and more knowledge about the business of the arts. The goal of this program is simple:

Empower the students.

We believe that in giving the students 100% creative control they will grow as artists and people.  Following the performance on Monday night, I am proud to say: mission accomplished.

The cabaret, Eras of Love, was born out of several brainstorms of songs and bands and heavy discussion between the students about how ideas connect. What I continue to find most interesting about the young artists I work with, is that when given the choice, they don’t shy away. Death, abuse, addiction, divorce, war, homosexuality—all of the “heavy topics” were exactly what this group wanted to tackle. (One of the many ways I am reminded that the next generation is going to be just fine.)

School of Rock Music Director-St. Paul, Adam Durand, said his favorite part of the experience was watching all of the students elevate their musicianship to a new level.

“This performance was really one of a kind and broke new ground for the education community,” said Durand.

If you weren’t in attendance, here’s what you missed:

The Show: Eras of Love—a series of vignettes exploring relationships, conflict and of course love.

Elizabethan Era: A re-telling of Romeo and Juliet had us see the couple battle
their family feud (quite literally with a nod to the game show featuring the Capulets vs. Montagues)

1940’s: Robby and Janet believe in love and their country—until war takes Robby away and they battle distance and eventually post-traumatic stress disorder upon his return.

Late 80’s/early 90’s:  The ladies took to the stage as we watched a daughter search to find her place after her mother’s death and a young woman in an abusive relationship reflects on making the choice to leave her boyfriend.

Present Day: Two brothers share their story of living life with their parents on the road to divorce. One discovers he is gay and through the challenge finds a new, stronger, relationship with his brother.

The Singers:

Claire Clauson (South St. Paul High School), Corrine Nugent (Shakopee High School), Kayla Peters (Chaska High School), Will Tipping (DeLaSalle High School), John Jamison (Southwest High School), Emily Nies (White Bear Area Lake High School), Caleb Richards (Shakopee High School), Tate Shepard (Eastview High School), Lexi Johnson (Benilde-St. Margaret’s High School), Chaos Bebault (St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists) and Maggie Cramer (Washburn High School).

The Band:

Mat Lentz (Guitar), Ben Pauls (Bass), Sedona LaMarre (Piano) and Zack Adelman (Drums).

The Playlist:

Seasons of Love (Rent), Just Another Day (Next to Normal), Dying Ain’t So Bad (Bonnie & Clyde: The Musical), Love Song (Marilyn Manson), My Heart Will Go On (Celine Dion), Gunslinger (Avenged Sevenfold), Letterbomb (American Idiot), Mama Who Bore Me (Spring Awakening), Holding Out for a Hero (Footloose), Family Portrait (P!nk), I Kissed a Girl (Katy Perry), Left Behind (Spring Awakening), Times Like These (Foo Fighters) and A Change is Gonna Come (Sam Cooke).

We’d like to offer special thanks to our partner, the School of Rock, and Adam Durand, Music Director from the School of Rock in St. Paul.

Check out photos from the final performance here.

Looking for more? View the Cabaret performances from last summer: “7 Deadly Sins” and “Croon & Swoon.”

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