MTD students reveal true selves in nightclub cabaret

Students took on center stage and performed original one-man shows at the Nightclub Cabarets Acts event April 5-7 at the Flagstar Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts in downtown Pontiac, giving the audience performances they might never forget.

“I think any type of art is important, but I think this in particular is important because the kids get to express themselves as themselves,” said Don Brewer, visiting assistant professor of theatre. “Usually, they’re on stage at Oakland playing characters. In this, they’re themselves telling a story, and it’s really whatever story they want to tell. I think the hardest character to play sometimes is yourself, and it gives them the opportunity to do that.”

Nightclub Cabarets Acts is a class, THA 4051, musical theater and acting students at Oakland can take with permission from an instructor. The class can count for zero or one credits and is the process of preparation for this event. Auditions for the class are held before the the beginning of each semester.

The performances ranged from personal dialogues, to storytellings and songs. The students took all genres of music such as pop, rock and opera songs to tell a story about their lives or experiences.

Some songs featured were from “Wicked” and “Fiddler on the Roof.” Some students also performed hit pop songs, such as “thank u, next” by Ariana Grande and “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus.

There were two different shows and two different casts altering each night. On April 4 and April 6 the acts were: “Tony’s Game Show Xtravaganza” by Tony Sharpe, “The Return of MIss MIdland” by Erica Rose, “Problebatic” by Kristin Rebera, “Vertically Challenged” by Hannah Faith Stevens, “Two Peas in Bond” by Emily Grossutti and “Finishing the Dress” by Matt Carlsen.

Brewer said the original stories students came up with were able to be told in a fun and comical way using jokes and popular songs.

“The kids just really come up with the shows themselves, and I help guide them through it,” Brewer said. “Just find creative ways to tell the stories, like you saw tonight, one can be about somebody who has to come out as being homosexual to their parent or another one’s about two of the girls becoming best friends even though they hated each other at the start.”

On April 5 and April 7 the acts were: “Keep it in the Family” by Will Dunn, “America’s Sweet Heart” by Stephanie Gettings, “I Can Do That — and it’s NOT Dance” by Sammy Boria, “I Can’t Believe They Let Him Have a Third One” by Aaron Fox, “Confession of a Catholic Schoolgirl” by Grace Rosen and “The Clayton Diaries” by Clayton Sallee.

Students can use this performance opportunity and apply it to their future careers, according to Fox.

“It’s a different kind of theater than doing a play or a musical because you write the show yourself, and it’s a chance to do a theatrical performance while telling incredible interpersonal stories,” Fox said. “It’s a really important self-fulfilling thing, and of course you can translate that into comedy and you can go out of your way to make it about something you believe strongly, but it’s a really personal performance.”