UW-Eau Claire Cabaret ‘Unboxed’ performance celebrates centennial year

Telling a story revolving around Claire’s life, showcasing pinnacle moments

More stories from Alexandria Martin


Photo by Kendall Ruchti

UW-Eau Claire’s Cabaret “Unboxed” performance showcased a variety of student’s skills in dancing, singing and directing.

When the audience entered the ballroom, they sat themselves at elongated tables. The lights began to dim as the music swelled.

The story begins with an elderly woman named Claire. She talks to her grandchildren of her past, unboxing story by story. Each of the scenes that follow focus on a certain aspect of Claire’s life.

UW-Eau Claire’s music department put on the annual cabaret show called “Unboxed” filled with dancing, singing, and an overall theatrical feel on Saturday, Jan. 20 in the Ojibwe Ballroom.

This year stood out from previous years in that the directors decided to change the idea of a themed cabaret to using a real story told by the members of the cabaret. Because it is Eau Claire’s centennial year, the storyline revolves around 100 years of Claire’s life.

“This year, Cabaret is more of a theatrical theme. We had some people write a script. We have characters playing, such as Claire who resembles ‘Eau Claire,’” said Elizabeth Joosten, the conductor of The Singing Statesmen. “That is really the neat thing about it. We can follow great things that our country has been through in the past 100 years and we can feature that within the show.”

A lot of the music that was selected by each director had to follow an experience in Claire’s life. Each number had specific clothing and music to fit the ambiance of the given moment.

One of two acts performed by Women’s Concert Chorale was a segment called Job. It focused on the women’s right movement to enter the workforce. Some of the pieces that were sung as part of the segment were “Takin’ Care of Business” and “Working Class Hero.” Their outfits were based on Rosie the Riveter to symbolize the work ethic of the women during the war.

“We have been working together to figure out the pinnacle moments … that’s why we picked the Vietnam war and a midlife crisis,” said Danielle Braun, one of the directors of Women’s Concert Chorale.

The show had a total of eight segments performed by members of the following groups: Concert Choir, The Singing Statesmen, Women’s Concert Chorale, University Symphony Orchestra and the Jazz Program.

At the end of the day, each director, including student director Lucas Jordan, said they were very proud of their fellow students and the accomplishments made through the hard work and dedication of the students.

“There hasn’t been a night where I felt like it could’ve been done way better,” Jordan said. “It was a positive energy that was coming off the stage.”

Keeping with the tradition of past shows, Cabaret ends this year’s show with the number “We are family.”

“It really brings energy from members of the audience who remember it from past years as well as the cast energy,” Joosten said.

Cabaret has another round of performances Jan. 26-28. More information about the show can be found on the Eau Claire event page.