Filling the theater full of throwback hit songs

By Megan Lupo

A rockin’ decade of both letterman and jean jackets, scrunchies and wicked music will be erupting from the Bart Luedeke Center Theater from Feb. 10 to Feb. 12.

Rider’s spring musical theater Cabaret, Eighties Explosion, directed by Franklin Trapp, who has worked Rider shows for the past few years, is composed of 15 talented cast members, who will highlight an electric and resonating time in history.

“I was really excited about auditioning for this show once it was announced that this year’s theme was ’80s music because that’s a lot of what I listen to,” said senior musical theater major, and performer of “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper, Margaret Warrington. “Who doesn’t love some good Journey and U2?”

The timelessness of the era, despite the unique fashion, will allow the audience to connect to the show.

“It’s an hour full of going back in time to when it was all about big chords, big dreams, and big hair,” freshman musical theater major Jordan O’Brien, who is covering “What About Love” by Heart, said. “I think people will realize that the problems and feelings we faced in the ’80s are still existent and relevant today. Music has this power to unite others, no matter what time period it’s from.”

And for those who are still concerned that they will not relate to a decade that they were not born in, Warrington relayed the same sentiment as the rest of the cast when she insisted people come to the cabaret anyway.

“Everyone carries headphones with them everywhere they go so they can listen to their favorite songs,” Warrington said. “This show will introduce you to some great music sung by some of the most talented people at our school. It’s like going to a concert, and you will probably be pulling iTunes up on your way out to download that one song you heard in the middle of that cabaret.”

Preparations for the show have been demanding but satisfying.

“Rehearsals have been going very well,” Warrington said. “We have two weeks to learn the music, set the stage and choreograph the numbers, so it’s a lot of work, and we all count on each other to be positive and prepared so we can put on the best show possible.”

To senior musical theater major and a choreographer of the show Taylor Jackson, who is performing “Holding Out for a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler, the rehearsals have been particularly enjoyable to take part in.

“My favorite part of this rehearsal process has been choreographing for the boys who are all part of a posse,” said Jackson. “They are super cheesy and adorable, and it has been nothing but fun working on their numbers with them.”

Musical theater major Forrest Filiano expressed the challenges that came along with the excitement and enthusiasm.

“Embodying the charisma of each New Kids on The Block member while attempting to sing and dance without mistake has been a whole new world that I never thought I would have to take on, but it has been one of the most rewarding parts of this experience,” Filiano said.  “Working with so many talented and kind people in my first show at Rider makes me feel part of something bigger than myself, and I couldn’t possibly ask for anything more than that.”

The audience will not only hear the songs of the time period but will be visually stimulated with the colorful, extravagant clothing that were a staple about 30 years ago.

“Bryce McAllister is a junior musical theater major and costume shop guru, and he helped us put things together, too,” Warrington said. “The first time we all saw each other in our costumes, we couldn’t help but giggle at each other, but it’s worth it because the audience will appreciate it, and hopefully someone will go, ‘Hey, I used to wear those. Their costumes are spot on.’ What we’re trying to do with this show is bring people back to the ’80s, and the costumes play a big part in that.”

The cast is promising a thrilling time because of all the details that have been put into the production to make it as authentic and entertaining as possible.

“From the set to the costumes to the lighting design to the music to the direction to the choreography, it’s all there and ready for an audience to take in. We are having such a rad time rehearsing this, and we cannot wait to share it,” Filiano said.

Eighties Explosion will be performed at the Bart Luedeke Center Theater  Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m., and Feb. 12 at 2 p.m.


Originally printed in the 2/8/17 edition. 

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