Vassar’s only theater group dedicated exclusively to musical theater, Future Waitstaff of America (FWA), is putting on their annual Dessert Cabaret. The performance will take place on Sunday, March 1, at 6 p.m. in the Aula. Tickets will be available at the door, as well as the FWA tabling in the College Center every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until the performance.
“FWA produces two musicals every semester, all of which are completely directed, designed, and acted by students,” says Ryan Eykholt ’17, who serves as the organization’s Public Relations Executive. “I am on the board of FWA as the Public Relations Executive, so I’m basically in charge of the promotion of shows and events on social media and around campus,” he elaborated.
This semester, FWA will produce “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” directed by Mackenzie Cole ’17, and “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” directed by Talia Feldberg ‘16. Preparations for both shows are underway–both were cast last weekend and will debut later in the semester.
In addition to these two routine productions, FWA also holds several special events throughout the semester. Dylan Bolduc ’15, FWA’s Special Events Manager,is in charge of all of the events FWA puts on besides the 2 full length shows. She explains, “These special events include the Cabaret that happens every semester. In past years we have done student written musicals as special events as well as the Beyoncé musical.”
The Carbaret serves as a fundraising event for the organization’s later projects and productions throughout the year. “In order to help these shows reach their full potential, we have a cabaret night once a semester as a fundraiser for our organization,” says Eykholt.
The director of FWA’s Carbaret this year, Elyse Walczyk ‘16, also elaborated on the event’s fundraising function for the organization in general.
“The FWA Dessert Cabaret is an event held early on in each semester as a fundraiser for the semester’s full-length productions. We sell desserts and tickets before and the day of the event, putting the earnings toward these larger projects.” says Walczyk.
Bolduc, who directed the Carbaret in 2014 pointed out the difference between the Carbaret and FWA’s regular productions. “The Cabaret has a pretty short rehearsal process, usually about 2 weeks long. It’s much shorter than full-length productions,” she explained.
Each year, the musical piece will be constructed around a overall theme. “Each semester has a different theme,” Bolduc said, “and the director picks musical theater songs to fit that theme.” This year, Walczyk chose for the Carbaret “songs in the musical theatre canon about sex.”
“We’re playing around with gender-bending some well-known contemporary numbers and highlighting the now-hilarious innuendo in more classic songs,” she said. The raunchy theme is bound to rouse the audience. “People at this cabaret will probably be constantly wondering why it’s so hot in the Aula,” said Eykholt of “Let’s FWAlk about Sex, Baby!”
Audiences will be able to get a sneak peak of FWA’s upcoming shows. The Cabaret includes previews of both “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” Per the name “Dessert Cabaret,” the audience will also have plenty of baked goods to nosh on throughout the show.
FWA is made up of a close-knit group of performers. The group was founded in 2005 and stood out for its focus on musical theater. Bolduc joined the organization during her freshman year at Vassar and has worked in many capacities since. “I have stage managed, production managed and choreographed FWA musicals,” she explained.
Bolduc’s colleagues echo her positive sentiments on their experiences in FWA. Walczyk noted that she chose to direct the Cabaret this year to keep involved within the organization “On a more personal level, I had hoped to get to direct this semester’s cabaret as a way of maintaining my involvement with FWA. As an organization, it’s given me numerous opportunities to explore elements of theatre production I would likely have never encountered otherwise.”
She continued, “FWA has also been the origin of many of my closest friendships at Vassar, so I suppose there’s a bit of a sentimental aspect to this as well. Additionally, during a period in which I’m readjusting from my semester abroad, the cabaret is an excellent way to meet students new to FWA this year and to reconnect with the existing community.”
This year’s Cabaret is filled with taboo and raunchiness, as well as treats. “Come out for an evening of sexy puns, delicious desserts, and outrageously talented vocalists,” encouraged Walczyk.
Ultimately, FWA hopes the Carbaret will not only help support their projects later in the semester, but also draw the attention of more potential audiences. “These productions go up later in the semester and are sure to be excellent, so I’d highly recommend reaching out to the directors closer to the dates of their shows.” Walczyk commented.