Cabaret: Bringing Broadway Back

Students+at+Westside+got+the+opportunity+to+audition+for+a+solo+with+a+song+from+a+musical+of+their+choice+at+our+school%E2%80%99s+performance%2C+Cabaret%3A+Broadway+Is+Back.

Tanatswa Chivero

Students at Westside got the opportunity to audition for a solo with a song from a musical of their choice at our school’s performance, Cabaret: Broadway Is Back.

Broadway came back to Westside High School on Sunday, Nov. 7 for Cabaret. Soloists got the opportunity to showcase their singing abilities by performing a song from a musical of their choice. All of the choirs also prepared songs from well-known musicals like ‘Mamma Mia’ and ‘The Wiz’ to showcase to the audience. 

At the end of October, all students enrolled in choir had the chance to audition for a solo spot in Cabaret. 

Senior Jenna Liakos explained what song she chose and why she connected with it.

“I sang Alyssa Greene from ‘The Prom,’” Liakos said. “I worked on that song during my private voice lessons at SNJ Studios, and it’s just kind of a song I connect with about fighting against personal struggles and feeling like you have to be perfect all the time. I just really like the music of it; it’s a fun song.” 

Liakos explained that she prepared for the big night by working with Accompanist Denise Millard.

“I had Mrs. Millard play the piano for me so I made sure I went in with her, and worked on lining up with the music [so] we didn’t get off kilter,” Liakos said. “I also learned more about [Greene], like looking more into the musical since the theme was Broadway, just so I could figure out more about Alyssa Greene herself.”

On stage, Liakos said she wasn’t nervous to perform because she knew the people that attended Cabaret were there to hear everybody’s solos.

“I know a lot of people feel really nervous when they’re singing by themselves,” Liakos said, “but I think I realized there was no reason to be nervous when I was up there. All those people wanted to be there to hear us sing, so they weren’t going to judge when they wanted to hear you in the first place.”

“I know a lot of people feel really nervous when they’re singing by themselves,” Liakos said, “but I think I realized there was no reason to be nervous when I was up there. All those people wanted to be there to hear us sing, so they weren’t going to judge when they wanted to hear you in the first place.

I know a lot of people feel really nervous when they’re singing by themselves, but I think I realized there was no reason to be nervous when I was up there. All those people wanted to be there to hear us sing, so they weren’t going to judge when they wanted to hear you in the first place.”

— Jenna Liakos

Vocal Music Instructor Doran Johnson organized and conducted some of the songs that were performed that night. He explained how this year’s Cabaret was different from last year’s performance during COVID-19.

“The performance was kind of a restart of Cabaret since last year we did it in a different format,” Johnson said. “We only had one live group on stage last year, so it was exciting to get all of the groups back together performing live, we didn’t socially distance the audience so it felt a lot closer to normal.”

Johnson also explained how the set up of the stage looked different from past years, and how they ran into several challenges in the process of making the best decisions for the performances.

“I always like the solos, and I like the way the audience and especially their peers respond to those solo moments,” Johnson said. “I also love seeing people audition for those spots and get them and then have their moment in the spotlight [with] their friends there supporting them. It feels like a big pep rally for our talent.” 

“We tried to think of ways to be as safe as possible, and in the past we really piled a lot of bodies on the stage,” Johnson said. “This year, our choirs are a little smaller, so that gave us more space and we went with a different set up at the beginning. At the time it was sort of a logistical challenge, how to safely get everyone on stage. We thought of having the choirs sit in the audience rather than sit on the stage at all times, so that was sort of the piece we wanted to think through. It did present challenges, but also gave an opportunity for us to rethink how we do things.”

The most rewarding part of the night for Johnson was seeing the response that the soloists’ peers had during their performances. They all supported each other during their moments in the spotlight.

“I always like the solos, and I like the way the audience and especially their peers respond to those solo moments,” Johnson said. “I also love seeing people audition for those spots and get them and then have their moment in the spotlight [with] their friends there supporting them. It feels like a big pep rally for our talent.”