“We are totally sold out for all eight shows and we have requests for tickets that we cannot fulfill,” Dr. Michelle Filling Brown, chair, department of English at Cabrini College, said. This year the Cabrini Theatre chose “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying” for their spring musical.
“We start the planning process in the summer prior to the academic year, so summer 2015 I started putting the wheels in motion for this year,” Filling-Brown said. “We select the shows about a semester in advance, which is a process because we have to apply for the rights to the show and the rights are not always available for every show.”
George Nave, a senior history and political science major stars in the musical as J. Pierrepont Finch, the lovable, ambitious and mischievous young man.
“We got the scripts in December, the cast was expected to become familiar with our characters,” Nave said. “It was the best role I’ve ever played in my entire life. The character is really just fantastically written. The thing that separates him from anyone else is that he’s a really nice guy. It was fun to play the role because he was fun, genuine and very cunning,”
The theatre department had a huge obstacle to overcome this time around. Dr. Thomas Stretton retired last year after a decade of service and dedication to the theater.
“I am indebted to Dr. Tom Stretton for the foundation that he built in this sacred theater space. He poured his heart and soul into not just the theater, but the theater students. “Doc” always says ‘it’s the people that make a theatre. I hope to honor his legacy and continue to grow our theatre program,” Brown said. She is the now head choreographer and artistic director.
“They posted the cast list on the front door of Grace Hall. So it was around 1:00am in the morning the other girls and I texted everyone from auditions and ran to Grace Hall to see what part everyone got. That was when I found out I would be playing Hedy LaRue,” said freshman psychology major Annie Gorski said.
Gorski shares her love for the character she played.
“What I liked most about my character Hedy is that she has so many layers to her. She’s sassy but she’s sweet, ditzy but clever. She is also so different from who I am. She’s sexy and flirty and has confidence through the roof about it all. I have never played a role like her before and I struggled with that. It was hard for me to be comfortable in the clothes that she wears, the way she talks and how she walks. I loved the process of becoming her; Hedy has given me so much confidence in myself and my ability to perform.”
The role of J.B. Biggley, the President of the world wide wicket company is played by sophomore Matthew Harshberger.
“J.B. is an incredibly motivated businessman. People labelled him ‘Least Likely to Succeed’ in his college days, but he turned that into motivation to become the president of a massive corporation like World Wide Wickets,” Harshberger said.
About the cast and process he had this to say, “The typical rehearsal schedule is Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings from 7:15-9:30, Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., but it isn’t always all of those times every week. All of the hard work and all of the good and the bad nights are instantly validated when we nail the show in front of an audience,”
Nave will be graduating this year but will not forget his time at Cabrini or in theater. “Working with the cast has been great. They really want the audience to have fun. I’m going to miss all of them very dearly they made my last show very special,” Nave said.