The 7th Annual Coffeehouse Cabaret

Ian Soriano performing "Always a woman" and opening the coffeehouse to guests.

By Emily Mendieta, Staff Writer

Last Fri. and Sat., the 7th annual Coffeehouse Cabaret took place in the black box theater showcasing the theatre department’s wide range of talent. The Coffeehouse Cabaret takes place each year and is the only fundraiser for the theatre department. Online tickets cost $15 for a student and $20 for adults, while tickets at the door cost $25. Although these prices may seem steep, the cost includes a coffee mug (which you keep) for refillable drinks as well as food provided on the tables outside the blackbox; Not to mention the entertainment of talent that is showcased throughout the night.

The crew, overall, did a fantastic job transforming the blackbox into a coffee house. There were multiple round tables on the floor, which faced a rather small stage giving the overall atmosphere a sense of intimacy that you would find at a real coffeehouse. The audience was able to comfortably enjoy the show by bringing their deserts as well as their mugs to the tables.

As the lights dimmed, the emcee, Andrew Sinclair, came out to introduce the show and present the silent auction items. The items ranged from front row seats to The Little Mermaid to a Hamilton vinyl signed by Lin-Manuel Miranda. There were also raffle items such as wireless Beats headphones and a dinner with the directors or designers. He also spoke about his appreciation for the acts playing that night and for the audience supporting the theatre department.

Performances not only showcased raw talent, but creativity. Some students played original songs, while others did covers of popular pieces. There were duets and solos that all looked well rehearsed, but not all people sang. Some of the other talent included choreographic routines, a monologue, a slam poetry reading, skits, and an improv routine. Some performances were very serious, and some were purposefully comical adding a light feeling to the room. Personally, I enjoyed the original pieces the most because they showcased personality as well as talent.

In order to present all the talent they possibly could, the line ups for Friday and Saturday were entirely different, allowing around 50 different acts to be shown over the course of the weekend. On Saturday night there were about 27 acts divided by a 15 minute intermission where the audience could refill their mugs and bid on the silent auction items. After the break, act two commenced.

It’s a coffeehouse tradition to have teachers perform at the end of the show. Several adults in the program did acts, including a rousing rendition of “Satisfied” by production manager Hannah Luthringer, who also performed a duet Friday night with her husband and sound designer LJ Luthringer. Another adult  duet was also performed by improv coach Lisa Bany and lighting designer Charlotte Rathke. For both nights, Sinclair and new theatre teacher Sam Rosenfeld performed unique renditions of musical and pop songs. The crowd enjoyed each performance and the night proved to be quite a success from the audiences’ reactions.

This was my first time attending the Coffeehouse Cabaret at Niles West and I was overall extremely impressed by the showcased talent and organization of the event.