By Jason Mount
Musical theatre students inspired empowerment and freedom with this weekend’s performance of Revolt, a musical cabaret which told multiple narratives about liberation and confidence within oppressed groups.
One of the most memorable moments was the second song, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister, performed by the entire cast. It set up the energy for the rest of the show and entertained audiences while conveying the main message of the show: revolution.
After the energetic number came “Talking About a Revolution” by Tracy Chapman, performed by junior Kadrea Dawkins, followed by “Try” by Colbie Caillat, sang by senior Mariah Lotz.
Lotz’s performance held the attention of the audience. The room was filled with only Lotz’s voice and the accompanying music, highlighting her talent and vocal ability.
“The song reminds me of the days I used to straighten my hair, work so hard to change parts of myself to fit in and feel like I was never quite pretty or sexy or cool enough,” she said. “For me, it feels completely empowering to sing the song because I’m at the point in my life now where I completely believe and live by the idea that who I am naturally is all I need to be and I don’t need anyone to like me except myself.”
Following Lotz was one of the themes throughout the show, a duet of Katy Perry’s “Roar” and Sara Bareilles’ “Brave,” sang by junior Eleni Kontos and sophomore Elise Shangold, respectively. In the duet, it was clear that Shangold’s words are meant to empower Kontos, eventually spurring the latter to sing, “You’re gonna hear me roar.” It is also clear that this motivation was meant for the audience to speak their mind without fear.
After the duet, junior Abeba Isaac brought humor to the show with “Miss Byrd” from the musical Closer Than Ever, a song that conjured many laughs from the audience as she sang about sexual encounters that remain hidden from public knowledge.
Another moment that focused on oppressed groups was the performance of “Freak Flag,” originally from Shrek the Musical. The lyrics described not being ashamed of oneself for what sets them apart, with the students exemplifying this by waving a rainbow flag, representing the LGBTQ community.
Countering the upbeat and celebratory tone of “Freak Flag,” junior Jack Gerhard played the guitar as he sang “Leave,” an emotional piece.
Next came an interaction between freshman Steven Gagliano, who sang “Marry Me” from Rink the Musical, and sophomore Lucy Bobbin, who performed Leslie Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me.” The clear story between the two conveyed Bobbin’s independence from Gagliano’s controlling words, a message of standing one’s ground when others try to be manipulative.
Sophomore Joey Maher then took the microphone and sang “I Am What I Am” from the musical La Cage aux Follies, yet another song to express self-acceptance without shame.
After Maher’s solo came a song sung by the women of Revolt, Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her” led by Isaac, followed by Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song,” another all-female number, this time led by sophomore Jordan O’Brien.
“I felt so liberated and free to just live in the songs and the messages in them,” Isaac said of the production’s message. “‘He Thinks He’ll Keep Her’ had such an empowering message of finally realizing you deserve better, despite how scary it might be to leave the familiar.”
Closing out the show was the emotional “You Will Be Found” from the musical Dear Evan Hansen, fronted by freshman Michael Ricciardone. The entire company joined together to lend their harmonious voices with Ricciardone’s, evoking feelings of strength, comfort and togetherness.
After the show, freshman technical theatre major Nicole Nilsson had nothing but wonderful things to say about the cabaret.
“My favorite part of Revolt was seeing all of my friends in one room having a great time to powerful and upbeat music,” Nilsson said. “I thought the show was phenomenal and the audience loved it. The raw talent of the cast and the brilliance of the song cuts proved to pump up the audience.”
The cabaret proved effective in conveying the theme of revolution, with sung notes and accompanying instruments, ringing in the ears of all who cared to listen. Not only was Revolt an uplifting performance, it was an inspiration.
Printed in the 2/14/18 edition