WEST CALDWELL, NJ – The James Caldwell High School Music and More Booster Club presented its third annual Cabaret performance on June 6. The event featured more than 20 song and dance numbers from Broadway musicals performed by both students and faculty of James Caldwell High School.
The Music and More Booster Club, headed by president and parent volunteer Rachel Bell, is an organization comprised of parents and faculty that supports the high school’s music and theater students through fundraising events.
“The goal of this event is two-fold,” said Bell. “The primary one is to give the students another venue to perform, but it also is a fundraiser for the Music and More Booster Club. For all of our events and efforts throughout the year, the money that we raise goes to directly support all the music and theater kids at the school.”
The club has raised money to hold workshops, provide concert attire for students and fund scholarships for graduating seniors.
The Cabaret was a student-driven event, according to Bell. The students auditioned by performing individual or group songs from Broadway shows, then rehearsed largely on their own to showcase their talents.
“One of the really neat things is that there are kids performing together that wouldn’t necessarily do so,” said Bell. “They found each other and said what if we do this duet or this trio, and that’s really nice to see.”
The faculty was not to be left out, however. Although the format and guidelines stayed consistent with the previous years’ Cabarets, this year’s saw a twist: Vice Principal John Bertollo and history teacher Suzanne Broffman acted as the entertaining Masters of Ceremonies. Other faculty members lent their voices to the night, including math teacher Jon Olsen and West Caldwell Detective Paul Mazzeo.
Leading the students were assistant directors, presidents of the Theater Arts Club and senior students Anna Rizzotti and Dante Savanello.
“I’ve been auditioning for years and it was so interesting to see all the kids I know and I’m friends with come in and see how they are in the audition room, and the process that really goes in to seeing the different strengths and weaknesses of people and what they really bring to the table,” said Savanello of directing. “It was so much fun; it was a great experience.
Savanello, who will be attending Marymount Manhattan College to study acting in the fall, performed in multiple group numbers throughout the night and helped end the show with a fitting rendition of “Goodbye” from the musical Catch Me if You Can.
The Cabaret marked not only the final performance for the seniors, but the end of a successful first year for new drama teacher, choreographer and theater director Kerry Baglivio. After directing and choreographing shows at the Spring Lake Theater, Baglivio moved to James Caldwell High School to helm performances of The Game’s Afoot and The Addams Family. She provided a guiding hand by choosing the opening, closing and ensemble numbers of the Cabaret, suggesting new songs and grouping students whom she thought would work well together. She also showcased her own talents by performing a song from Little Shop of Horrors.
At the end of the night, a shining Baglivio reflected on her new experience in what she called the “James Caldwell High School family.”
“This is an exceptional place that supports the arts and helps students enhance their talents,” she said.