Cabaret Performances Presents “American Legends”

This year’s Cabaret performance honors historical figures that have shaped American history

More stories from Madeline Peterson


Photo by Gabbie Henn

Students perform to generate scholarship money and gain musical experience while paying tribute to important Americans.

UW-Eau Claire’s 39th annual Cabaret performance is took place from Jan. 25-27, and will continue Feb. 2-4 in the Ojibwe Ballroom.

This year’s event, entitled “American Legends,” intends to pay tribute to the historical figures that have shaped this country through a variety of performances incorporating both music and dance performances by students involved in UW-Eau Claire’s department of music and theatre arts.

“American Legends” is separated into two acts, each containing several musical numbers honoring influential Americans.The subjects of the acts are diverse, ranging from the Wright Brothers to Dr. Seuss, and spanning centuries.

The musical performances correspond to the identity of the historical figure. For example, the number based on the life of Al Capone uses music such as “Renegade” by Styx and “Jailhouse” by Elvis Presley.The music selection itself also pays tribute to some American musical legends, featuring renowned musicians such as Woody Guthrie, Frank Sinatra and Stevie Wonder.

All of the musical numbers are performed by the Concert Choir, The Singing Statesmen and Women’s Concert Chorale choir groups.The Cabaret Orchestra, which provides instrumental accompaniment, is comprised of the University Symphony Orchestra and Jazz program students.

Hannah Henry, a second-year student, said she enjoyed seeing the performers demonstrate their unity in an entertaining way.

“Everyone came together to create a production with humor,” Henry said.

Cabaret was founded in 1978 as a way to generate scholarships for music students at UW-Eau Claire. Since its foundation, it has generated $315,000 in scholarship money.

The show also recognizes distinguished alumni of the UW-Eau Claire music program, this year choosing to recognize Wolfgang Calnin and Val Knobloch.

Cassie Klinga, a first-year musical theater student who performed as a part of Women’s Concert Chorale, said she initially became involved with Cabaret as a way to be more active within the music program.

“The more I got involved, the more I realized it was an important tradition,” Klinga said. “It was like being part of a family.”

In addition to generating scholarship money, Cabaret is a production that allows students to gain experience through directing and choreographing the numbers.

Maya Fabian, a senior music education student and student director of Cabaret, said she has been working with fellow students to arrange this year’s performance since the spring of 2017.

“We applied for leadership positions last spring and we’ve been working ever since,” Fabian said.

The students were responsible for choosing the theme and producing the numbers within the show. Fabian said she liked the idea of “American Legends” for its progressive and creative subject matter.

“We wanted to tell the story of how we need to make a change,” Fabian said. “We can’t just sit back and wait anymore.”

The past six months have included planning, production, and rehearsals taking place every night of the fall semester, she said.

“For the last week before performances, we did a lot of rehearsing,” Fabia said. “It’s called ‘Hell Week,’ but I like to call it ‘Heaven Week’… it’s an amazing time for the choir to bond and grow closer together.”

Cabaret will conclude its performance of “American Legends” after this weekend. The shows take place on Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. and on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.