Story by Ben Rueter

This is the 33rd annual production of Cabaret at Eau Claire.

“We chose broadcast because we thought that it provided a lot of opportunities for different songs and a lot of variety,” said Lauren Schell, co-director of Concert Choir II.
The broadcast theme is something the students have never attempted before. Designing the broadcast show allowed the cast to offer different styles of music and dancing.
“The main thing about Cabaret is to have a wide variety of genres,” said Timothy Mattson, co-director of The Singing Statesmen.

Each chapter of the Cabaret performance is broken down into separate sets of something you would find on your local news broadcast. The sets include breaking news, weather, sports, economy, crime, traffic, politics and celebrity gossip.

“It takes a broad idea to come up with good songs,” Schell said.

Breaking the show down into these separate sections of a news broadcast gives the song selection some variety.

“I went looking online and around archives of music for what would sound good for a mixed group … what would be entertaining in a show, what would sound good in a band,” Schell said.

Each set highlights the performer’s specialties. For instance, Lauren Panos, a Women’s Concert Chorale (WOCO) singer and dancer for the show, said that WOCO has sets designed with them in mind.

“The song selection was definitely very empowering for women,” Panos said. “We picked songs that were very girly and songs that were very strong.”

Over the summer, the directors plan what songs are going to be in the show.

“They took a look at their cast and tried to see how we would fit into it,” Panos said.

Preparation for the show is a long process that started over a year ago. This past spring, directors for the production were selected. Over the summer months, the directors arrange their sets and select which songs are appropriate for any set.

Once school starts, the cast takes a class to arrange songs and dance routines. Practice for the show started back in October.

The cast practices for about two hours every week once a week, Mattson said. Then a few weeks before the opening the entire cast has rehearsals every day from 9 a.m to about 10 p.m.

“You get really close with all the people because you are spending 12 hours or more with them,” said Phil Reilly, a Singing Statesmen performer in
the show.

The Cabaret production also raises money to hand out scholarships for those in the cast.

“I received a scholarship from it for the last year. So if we can keep getting more money for scholarships that would be really cool,” Reilly said.

Outside of scholarships, the Cabaret show gives the cast a chance to meet new people and do something they haven’t been able to try before.

“We get to mix all the choirs together with Concert Choir, Statesmen, and WOCO and it’s like we are all one unit. That’s really fun because I have yet to do that until now,” Panos said, who participated in her first Cabaret here at Eau Claire.

Plans for future Cabaret productions are still up in the air. As soon as the curtain drops on this year’s Cabaret, planning for the next year’s Cabaret begins.

“It was a really good experience the first time and I’ve done it ever since,” said Mattson about the show.

“No other place I would rather be than hanging out with my friends for a week,” Reilly said.