Theater stage with red curtains and spotlights.
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Howell HS presenting cabaret show of popular songs from past productions

The Howell High School Performing Arts Department is presenting “The Forbidden Cabaret” April 15-18 in the Howell High School Rod Bushey Performing Arts Center.

“The Forbidden Cabaret” is a musical revue featuring popular songs from several different musicals and shows. Guests will be treated to an evening of music, dance, and performance. Musical numbers include “Holding Out for a Hero,” “December 1963 (Oh What A Night),” “Pinball Wizard,” and many more.

Showtimes are 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 15-17, and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 18. The April 16 performance will also be live-streamed.

There is no charge for admission, however, donations are appreciated. In accordance with state guidance and to allow for social distancing, seating will be limited, and masks are required for all patrons. Seats should be reserved in advance at https://bit.ly/2ZGF1HK.

“Rather than performing a traditional musical, this year, we have created our own cabaret show. ‘The Forbidden Cabaret’ will feature several talented musicians performing great songs from popular musicals,” said Joey Burgam, the show’s director. “This unique approach will allow the students to perform multiple styles of music while we follow strict COVID-19 safety and mitigation protocols.”

The cast of “The Forbidden Cabaret” includes Morgan Bertovick, Jordyn Chapman, Sarah Craig, Samantha Derry, Devin Douglas, Hailey Douglas, Joseph Esper, Lydia Garcelon, Erin Gubala, Carson Harris, Alexandra (Ally) Johnson, Emily Kasprzak, Haven Kuncaitis, Josie Madzik, Danny Maura, Juliette Mayeux, Izzie Melton, Elayna Mockbil, Ava Moore, Lucas Nolen, Ethan Norton, Zane Phillips, Valerie Ramirez, Caleb Royal, Kaydence Schantz, Kylie Seabaugh, Brendan Shepard, Lucas Somers, Madison Steudle, Kayla Stevens, Briget Stolz, Brooke Studebaker, Emily Studebaker, Dominic Richard Taylor, Sophie Taylor, and Laine Wyatt.


We interviewed some of the cast of “The Forbidden Cabaret”:

Joseph Esper

Joseph Esper, 17, is a senior at Howell High School, where he’s involved in choir and drama. The son of Lisa and Matt Esper, he has a brother, James. He enjoys biking, singing, writing and video games, and his future plans are to go to Lansing Community College.

We asked him a few questions:

1. How did you get involved with the production?
I really wanted to be involved in the production so I auditioned. Thankfully, I made it.

2. Have you been in any other theatrical productions? If so, what roles did you play?
“Twelfth Night,” “Guys and Dolls,” and “Secret Garden.”

3. What do you most enjoy about being part of the production?
All of the songs I’m in are a lot of fun to be in. I really enjoy all my soles as they are really fun and challenge my vocal range.

4. Who is/are your inspiration(s)? Why?
My inspiration has been to experience as much as I can. I really love being in productions like this and want to do as much as I can.

5. What’s your favorite part of the experience of being in the production?
When the songs finally come together. The best feeling in the world is when we finally have a perfect run of the song.

6. What can audience members expect when they see the show?
They can expect a high energy show that will make them laugh, cry and fill them with excitement.


Erin Gubula

Erin Gubula, 17, is a senior at Howell High School, where she participates in A cappella and the Highlander Chorale. She is the daughter of Kristin Gubala and Victor Gubala, and she has three siblings: Lindsay Simpson, Emily Simpson, and Gwendlyn Warner.
Her hobbies include singing/songwriting, guitar, piano, drawing and cooking, and her plans for the future are to make more music and go into the food industry.

We asked her several questions:

1. How did you get involved with the production?
I’ve been looking forward to this year’s musical and auditioned virtually.

2. Have you been in any other theatrical productions? If so, what roles did you play?
I was in “Guys and Dolls” ensemble and part of the mission, and “The Secret Garden” as a dreamer.

3. What do you most enjoy about being part of the production?
I enjoy learning new music and being in this cast. Every cast has a unique energy and this one is energetic and gives me hope for the future of performing arts in Howell.

4. Who is/are your inspiration(s)? Why?
My inspirations are my close family and my boyfriend because those are the people who encouraged me to stay involved in the arts when I was the most discouraged and anxious about continuing after the roadblock that was 2020.

5. What’s your favorite part of the experience of being in the production?
My favorite part is seeing everything fall into place in those couple weeks before opening night. The set, lighting, costumes, and finally getting to perform with the band makes the production so much more alive.

6. What can audience members expect when they see the show?
The audience can expect a rollercoaster of moods throughout each number. The cast’s energy has been building up, and for my fellow cast members of The Secret Garden who couldn’t perform, it’s safe to say that we are so happy to portray the beauty that we couldn’t last year to the audience.


Madison Steudle

Madison Steudle, 17, is a senior at Howell High School, where she participates in the HHS Music Seminar/RockBand; she was formerly involved with the A Capella choir.

The daughter of Jennie Steudle, she has five siblings: Sarah Orstadius, Blythe Pollack, Britney Jirasek, Julie Steudle, and Donovan Steudle. Her hobbies include musical performing arts, recreational lacrosse, collecting succulents, reading, yoga, and cycling.

We asked her several questions:

1. How did you get involved with the production?
I have always been interested in being a part of a show in our community. This show stuck out to me because it has such an eclectic array of music. I think in our most recent COVID-19 pandemic, where we’ve lost communication from our facial expressions, we can gain communication through collectively hearing impressionable music.

2. Have you been in any other theatrical productions? If so, what roles did you play?
This is my first show! I am so excited to be a part of such a wonderful experience.

3. What do you most enjoy about being part of the production?
I love to come to rehearsals and experience the camaraderie of our cast, the amazing vocals and musical talent we all share, and build memories with my peers.

4. Who is/are your inspiration(s)? Why?
My family is my biggest inspiration. All of my family members have done their part to influence me and push me to strive for greatness.

5. What’s your favorite part of the experience of being in the production?
All of the face to face interactions between the cast members has showed me how wonderful people can be. After taking these types of interactions for granted for a long time, I feel so blessed to have this opportunity.

6. What can audience members expect when they see the show?
When seeing this show, audience members can expect amazing displays of dance, vocals, and costume design. Such an interesting, wide-ranged show always provides new and eccentric moments for the audience to enjoy.


Briget Stolz

Briget Stolz, 17, is a senior at Howell High School, where she’s involved in choir, and Classicality publicity, newspaper, and community volunteer.

The daughter of Suzanne and Chuck Stolz, she has two siblings: Kati and Luke. Her hobbies include reading, art, graphic design and writing. After graduation, she plans to study journalism at Belmont University.

We asked her several questions:

1. How did you get involved with the production?
I’m the only cast member who’s been a part of all four HHS musical productions. I was really into theater my freshman year, so I thought I’d try out just for fun, and I was hooked for the next four years.

2. Have you been in any other theatrical productions? If so, what roles did you play?
I was in the ensemble in “Addams Family”; then I was cast in the ensemble for “Guys and Dolls.” For that show I ended up being an emergency fill-in for one of our minor leads who got sick. Then in “Secret Garden” I was cast as Mrs. Medlock, which was
unfortunately cancelled.

3. What do you most enjoy about being part of the production?
I’ve gotten really close with this cast, closer than any other cast I’ve been in. It’s been really awesome to meet and work with our younger performers, and I like that I’m able to be a mentor to them since I’ve been through this process so many times. Even for
some of our older performers it’s their first show, and I’ve been able to support our newest members inside and outside the theater.

4. Who is/are your inspiration(s)? Why?
My biggest inspiration is Taylor Swift. I’ve loved her music since before I can remember, and it helps me connect with my parents. They always said I might be the next Taylor Swift. She puts kindness and care into everything she does, and I always try to remember that treatment when I speak to others.

5. What’s your favorite part of the experience of being in the production?
Seeing other people grow. I’ve known one of our juniors ever since he started at Howell, and he’s always been unapologetic about who he is and what he likes, and he has a leading role in some of our songs. When I saw him performing again, it made me so happy to see that he’s come so far.

6. What can audience members expect when they see the show?
A lot of fun times! There’s a little bit of classical, a little bit of contemporary, and even some pop. It’s going to be an awesome night.

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