Mason Cabaret to Perform Sizzling Summer Nights, an Evening with Sondheim
July 24, 2018
This month, at a singular cabaret at Arlington’s Signature Theatre, George Mason University musical theater students celebrated the iconic composer Stephen Sondheim with a full line-up of his songs. The cabaret explored friendship, marriage, and all things in-between through music.
The cabaret provided an opportunity for emerging musical theater artists from the Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts to perform, co-directed by James Gardiner and Erin Driscoll. Both Gardiner and Driscoll are from Springfield and members of the George Mason University theater faculty.
“Mason Cabaret is one of the flagship pieces of our musical theatre program at George Mason University (GMU). We’re always looking for ways to give new and exciting opportunities to our students,” said Gardiner.
Gardiner and Driscoll worked with Arlington’s Tony Award recipient Signature Theatre to mount the cabaret. Signature is the leading interpreter of Sondheim’s work in the United States and internationally. “The students totally understand what Signature Theatre means to the work of Stephen Sondheim and they’re thrilled to have this opportunity,” said Gardiner.
“Most of these George Mason University students are aspiring musical theater performers. In addition to all the performance opportunities provided by the University, this gives them a chance to work at one of the top theaters in the Washington D.C. area,” said Driscoll. “This opportunity will give the students real world experience in the profession they are preparing to join.”
The Mason Cabaret at Signature will include a broad array of Stephen Sondheim’s musical numbers. From Sondheim’s magical Children Will Listen, to the hilarious Comedy Tonight, to the poignant Another Hundred People and his lesser known material. More than a dozen students will perform group numbers, duets, and solos. Music accompaniment will be by GMU faculty member Joseph Walsh.
One of the George Mason University students performing is Max Snyder. A Northern Virginia native, he graduated from Fairfax’s Paul VI High School. “Musical theater is my favorite type of storytelling because the audience feels everything along with you. You’re telling a story and the music guides,” said Snyder. “You’re there to entertain. You can make them laugh or cry, but you’re there for them.”
Signature Theatre Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer said: “From performers to designers to technicians, I’ve always felt it’s important to give tomorrow’s talents opportunities at Signature. It will be great to have these students on our cabaret stage and introduce our audiences to these new talents.”
By David Siegel