By Samantha Brandbergh
Students can expect to enter a time machine and be transported back to the 1960s while experiencing Rider’s Fall musical theater Cabaret, Flower Power, which will take over the Yvonne Theater on Oct. 23 and 24 at 7:30 p.m.
Directed by professor of musical theater Mariann Cook and musically directed by Wendy Feaver, this vibrant and uplifting cabaret with an all-female cast is sure to have audiences dancing in their seats, organizers said.
“I chose the theme of 1960s pop music because I thought it would be fun for the women to explore the song styles and performers of this era,” Cook explained. “It is enough removed from their pop music history and knowledge that I thought it would be informational as well as inspirational.”
For sophomore musical theater major Sarah Caldwell, performing in and preparing for Flower Power has proven to be an enlightening and liberating experience.
“The ’60s were such an important decade, and so many of the songs that were popular then had really important messages behind them,” she said. “Performing these songs with a group of 14 girls is really cool and empowering.”
The production will focus on a variety of music genres, from folk and rock to soul and “surf,” making it a multifaceted and enjoyable event for all music lovers, performers say.
Dance “crazes” nearly took over the pop music scene in the 1960s, which is why senior musical theater major Maria Garvey is looking forward to bringing her dance and choreography skills to the stage.
“As the dance captain, I was lucky to choreograph some numbers myself, but, out of all of them, I am very excited to perform the ‘Car Medley,’” she said. “Our musical director [Feaver] made an arrangement of all songs from the ’60s that deal with automobiles. It is a lot of fun to do and has such a high energy to it. I’m sure the audience will feel that energy as well.”
Although the 1960s have come and gone, the numbers that will be performed in Flower Power will still resonate.
“I’m excited to perform ‘Everyday People,’” Caldwell said. “There is a really strong meaning behind it that is still relevant to some of the things going on in our country today.”
Despite having only a month to prepare, the cast of Flower Power has managed to persevere through setbacks.
“The most fun part [of this production] has been the lovely and talented women I am working with,” Garvey said. “When something can be stressful, we all find a way to have fun with it and we bring that into our performances as well.”
For Caldwell, performing music from the decade has been both a blessing and a curse.
“The most challenging aspect of putting together this cabaret is how iconic so many of these songs are,” she said. “A lot of the songs we do are songs that everyone already knows and loves, so we want to meet everyone’s expectations.”
Garvey reassures audiences that although the songs may be 50 years old, this cabaret will have something for everyone.
“Whether they think so or not, there is going to be at least one song in the show that they can sing along to,” she said. “It is fast-paced and you never lose your interest, thanks to the fun and witty interludes between songs.”
Flower Power is planned to be a one-of-a-kind cabaret that touches upon the themes of the 1960s, while still relating them to the current culture in 2015.
“[The cabaret] is unique in that I have incorporated videos, photographs and commercials from the ’60s to be projected during the presentation on a giant television set piece,” Cook said. “The videos clearly display the changes in tolerance that have slowly developed over the past several decades.”