BLOOMFIELD, NJ - The NiCori Teen Performance Ensemble presents “Moments” at 'Don't Tell Mama' in New York City on May 20. The show’s theme focuses on capturing various moments in the lives of different characters in a cabaret setting.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Nicholas Adler and Corinna Sowers-Adler first moved to New Jersey because of its close proximity to Adler’s new job as House Manager of Jazz at Lincoln Center. The pair has now been running NiCori Studios & Productions, now based in Bloomfield for 10 years and at the Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center for eight, since 2001. The company provides performing arts classes and vocal lessons to the locals with goals to educate, inspire, and entertain.
The NiCori Teen Performance Ensemble consists of students age 12 to 19. NiCori uses this age range as an opportunity to help give the kids a voice.
“Part of working under the guise of cabaret is that we try to encourage that you are valuable. You have something to say. You are the only ‘you’ in the world, and that’s to be celebrated. It’s beautiful and important,” says Sowers-Adler.
“Moments” is comprised of numbers by established singer/songwriters and cabaret entertainers such as Meg Flather, Garry Novikoff, and D.C. Anderson, and original pieces written by the teens.
“A lot of our students wrote monologues, scenes, and songs for this piece that all have to do with a pivotal moment in a character’s life or in your life,” says Sowers-Adler, “You’re going along in life and then something happens and you’re no longer the same. It can be a small moment or it can be an epic happening in your life. But we just wanted to take a look at those kinds of moments and see how they affect us. There are a lot of great songs written about that kind of situation.”
Sowers-Adler has her own cabaret career in the city inspired by her personal interests and activities in musical theater. Though she has always been a performer that loved to engage directly with the audience, it was through her husband’s involvement with The Mabel Mercer Cabaret Convention at Jazz at Lincoln Center and appearing in it herself that she was able to put a label on it.
“I was like, “Oh! That’s what I do! That’s me!’” she laughs, “Even the roles I’ve played in musical theater, a lot of times they are characters that break the fourth wall and talk to the audience. It just fits my personality.”
However, Sowers-Adler explains that cabarets differ from regular musicals and revues. With cabaret, lyrics are the most important.
“Like if it’s a song from a musical, you’re taking it out of the context of the musical and it becomes its own conversation with the audience. It takes on a life of its own,” she says, “There’s less of a fourth wall in cabaret performance. It usually works best in a smaller setting where you can talk directly to the people. In a cabaret, you’re really getting to know the performer on a more intimate level. The performer is opening their vulnerabilities up to the audience.”
This in turn could help audiences tap into their own vulnerabilities as well.
Tickets cost $15 and can be purchased at nicoristudios.com. There is a two drink minimum and the venue only accepts cash.