“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” in Cabearet musical revue

Musical theater students rehearse for Cabearet’s production of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” After a semester of preparation, the performers will dance and sing at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Jones Theatre to benefit the scholarship fund for musical theater students. Photo credit: Richard Hirst

Baylor Theatre’s Cabearet musical revue, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” makes a one-night appearance Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in Jones Theatre. The show is a series of musical performances by the best voices of Baylor Theatre.

Cabearet is always free, but audience members are welcome to make donations for the Leta Horan and Jerry MacLaughlin Scholarship Fund, which helps pay the way for Baylor’s musical theater students. Each semester’s revue showcases the accomplishments of the musical theater students who benefit from the scholarship fund.

The performers in the show are students in the musical theater workshop class, taught each semester by music director Melissa Johnson. Following last semester’s show, “You’ve Got Male,” which featured male-inspired music, the girls will have their turn with “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” All the songs in the musical medley are somehow about women, and the boys who do make an appearance only sing about their moms and crushes.

Rehearsals are primarily held during class time. The class meets twice a week, for an hour each time. At two hours per week for 12 weeks, students are largely the ones responsible for taking vocal lessons outside class and learning their music on time. Class time is reserved for large group numbers instead of solo acts.

“The challenge is the little amount of time we have to do the show,” Johnson said. “There’s a little bit of it that feels like it’s not in my control, which is hard. We have to do our best to give the students the tools to be able to take it and run with it.”

The class of 15 students is required to audition before entry into the course, guaranteeing that the musical revue will feature some of the best singers Baylor Theatre can offer. Cabearet places an emphasis on students’ vocal skills, with no dialogue scenes to break up the musical action. “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” will give audience members two full acts of solid singing and dancing. The revue also gives theater students who train rigorously in acting a break from the drama classes and a chance to focus on their musical training and round out their skill set.

“Finally being able to be in a class where we can sing all day long is so great,” Pflugerville senior Mackenzie Dobbs said. “I came to Baylor more of a singer than an actor, but I had to focus so much more on acting. As a senior now, it’s prepared me a lot for what’s out there.”

The course gives students a firsthand look at what it’s like to perform in a real-world musical. After a whole semester of shifting rehearsal spaces, only this week has the group begun technical rehearsals in the theater where it will be performing. This lack of preparation is something Broadway actors must also be accustomed to.

“The best thing about the experience for me has been how similar to the professional world it is. So much of it is on us to rehearse and know our stuff,” Boerne senior Cooper Hale said. ”It simulates the professional environment really well. This is what it would be like to learn our music elsewhere, apply it in a setting we haven’t worked in yet, and see how that affects things, because it does.”

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