“I’m looking for the truth. The audience doesn’t come to see you, they come to see themselves,” actress Julianne Moore once said. Carla Thelen Hanson, the Vocal Director of Cabaret shared her words with the cast before the show opened, along with a few wise ones of her own. “Keep it true. Keep it out of your head and into your heart. Now go out and bless some people.”
With no time to prepare an audition piece from the show, I grabbed some church choir music out of the backseat of my car and did my best with, “Still, Still, Still.” The vocal portion of the audition was comfortable. I spend many Sunday mornings singing in front of the church I attend. The dance portion was the hardest. Put a script in my hand and ask me to become someone else – for me, it’s the best part. I was hopeful. And after reading a section of the script, I wanted it more.
One of my favorite parts of acting is learning from the character I’m cast as. Fräulein Kost is a Nazi loving hooker, outgoing when it comes to men, and in control. She pursues what she wants without apology. While I have no plans to become exactly like Fräulein Kost, learning to be less apologetic about pursuing what I want is a good thing. Frenchie, a Kit Kat Klub Girl requires body confidence and being physically comfortable with members of the cast.
All of the Kit Kat Klub girls have been a blessing to work with. During the first rehearsals we talked about diets and exercise. As opening neared, we started complimenting one another and ourselves on our bodies and how good we looked in our scant costumes. It’s sad that it seems such a rare treat to be around women so focused on building one another up.
I’m blessed to work with people I worked with 20 years ago: Greg Miller and Debbie Fuehrer. Back then they were the adults asking about my day and proffering advice. There were things I didn’t do as a teenager for fear a director or choreographer might find out. After all, I always wanted to be in the next show. It made saying no to peer pressure easy. Now, they are people I trust, friends I can laugh with, and share ideas with.
I’ve found more of my truth and become a better person during the show’s run. I’m pretty sure we all have. There’s one more weekend for us to share how much we’ve been blessed with audiences. And then, it’ll be time to audition for another show.
Melissa McNallan is a freelance writer in Rochester who performed in shows at the Civic Theatre a while ago. Now, she is making a comeback on the Civic Theatre's stage, and plays Fräulein Kost/Kit Kat Girl in the current production of Cabaret. Only 4 performances of Cabaret left this weekend. For tickets, call 507-282-8481 or click here.