Theatre Collective puts together sexy fun for Risque Cabaret

Theatre Collective puts together sexy fun for Risque Cabaret

Sounds simple, right? You schedule a cabaret, and all your very talented theater friends bring a song or a monologue — sort of like a potluck dinner — and you’ve got a show. Easy as pie!

Sit through a rehearsal for Theatre Collective’s upcoming Risque Cabaret, and you’ll see just how wrong you are.

First of all, director Stephanie Whitcomb, one of the founders of TCNWA, didn’t intend to cast 23 performers for the two nights of sexy song and dance — which she rates “R,” but not “X.”

“I honestly did not expect the turnout that we had at auditions, mostly because of the adult nature of the show,” she marvels. “We are in a fairly conservative area, after all! But every single person in our cast brings their unique talent to the stage, and they were just too entertaining to pass up.

“And we have some performers who are new to Theatre Collective that I absolutely had to put in the show because they just blew me away,” Whitcomb adds. “You’ll see some acts you’ve never seen from us before!”

For auditions, hopefuls were asked to come to with their piece “at least 50% performance ready,” Whitcomb explains. “Our rehearsal time together is extremely limited, so we rely heavily on everyone to work on their numbers on their own. Our rehearsals together are largely for putting the instruments with the voices and making sure they feel good working together.”

Those rehearsals are terrifying brief — two hours on Saturdays and Sundays for four weeks.

“Some are solo rehearsals, some groups, and some choreography,” Whitcomb says. “We won’t all be together completely as a cast until tech week, which is a little scary, but with the level of talent in this show, I’m not worried.”

Neither is musical director Rebecca McBride, who runs rehearsals with military precision, infinite patience and a kind heart full of praise.

“Going into a show like this there are limited hours and lots of music, so efficient preparation and rehearsal time management from everyone is key,” she says. “Stephanie organized our rehearsals efficiently with two 15-minute music rehearsals with soloists, and two 20- to 30-minute rehearsals with group numbers.

“At the first rehearsal, most singers were completely memorized,” she praises. “I listened for vocal technique, style and pitch, then assigned practice goals, coordinated accompaniment and designated harmonies.

“Second rehearsal I expected everyone to have their work done, I asked them what they needed from me to be their best, and we all did our part to knock out some great music.”

Although Whitcomb wants to keep the song titles a surprise, Madison Tatum opens the show — a challenge she calls “thrilling” — with a classic you might expect.

“I knew that a number from ‘Cabaret’ would fit the theme perfectly, and I’ve always wanted to play the Emcee,” she says. “The choice to put it first in the program was Steph’s idea because, as she put it, opening the show with a big ‘Welcome’ just makes sense!

“I’m so excited to set the tone for the evening and kick off the show with a bang,” Tatum adds. “It’s incredible to see everyone’s individual efforts come together to make something so cohesive and fun to watch. There’s a synergy that occurs when we’re all together, and I can’t wait for people to see it.”

“Still being a new organization, TCNWA is game to take new approaches and explore pieces that might not be performed in the area,” says Sarah Doyle, who is performing “a storytelling marathon of a song … from a newer contemporary Broadway show.” ” Theatre is a collaborative art, and Theatre Collective is successful because of that cooperative effort.

“I do hope audiences leave humming some of the catchy tunes from the show and sharing their favorite moments that wowed them,” she concludes.

“If we can leave a lasting impression and spark meaningful conversations, then we’ve truly accomplished something special,” Tatum adds. “Most importantly, I hope they all have a fun — and sexy — time!”



Theatre Collective NWA:

Risque Cabaret

WHEN — 7 p.m. Feb. 23-24

WHERE — The Medium, 214 S. Main St. in Springdale

COST — $30-$35


FYI — The director rates this production “R.”

Categories: Theater