Q&A with Student Director Shelley Farmer, BC ’14

This weekend the Crown and Scepter Theatre Company will be putting on Cabaret. Nine Ways talked to the show’s director, Shelley Farmer BC ’14, to find out more.

Nine Ways of Knowing: What inspired you to direct this show?

Shelley Farmer: I love ‘Cabaret’ and am really interested in the Weimar period, so I wanted to offer my own interpretation of the piece. Further, I knew I would be working in the Thalia at Symphony Space. It’s a small theater, so I wanted to do a show that would lend itself to a minimalist production. Unlike most musicals, Cabaret really benefits from a small, intimate space like the Thalia.

9WK: Have you had any experience directing theatre in the past?

SF: I directed in high school, but this is my first musical. It’s definitely a challenge, particularly in a piece like Cabaret, which is so clearly split between the narrative scenes and the cabaret scenes. It’s a balancing act, trying to figure out how to make the show feel cohesive.

9WK: What’s been the most challenging part of this process?

SF: The show is, essentially, about the rise of Nazism, so Nazi imagery is pretty central. Obviously, it’s a sensitive topic and the imagery can be triggering. So, the challenge has been how to do justice to the political message of the piece, without alienating the audience.

9WK: How did you get started in theatre?

SF: It all started with my cousin’s high school production of A Christmas Carol. I was the only child they managed to find, so I played Ignorance and Want and a violet seller. I have never topped that performance.


“Mein Herr,” from Cabaret performed by Rachelle Rak on Broadway

9WK: What else do you do on campus?

SF: Recently, I sang in the first performance of “Encounters”, a wonderful new song cycle by Alex Porter, CC’14. I also write for Double Exposure, a new film journal. Honestly, though, Cabaret hasn’t left much time for other commitments (including homework…oops).

9WK: If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have three CDs with you, what would they be?

SF: At the moment, I’d say the Merrily We Roll Along soundtrack by the original broadway cast, The Rake’s Progress conducted by Gardiner, and the Silsila soundtrack. I have the least cool iTunes library ever.

9WK: Sondheim or Webber?

SF: There is no god but Sondheim.

9WK: Describe Cabaret in five words.

SF: Intimate, dark, immersive, tawdry, chilling.

9WK: Most importantly, how can students get tickets to Cabaret?

SF: The cast and crew will be ticketing in Lerner, but they can also be ordered at symphonyspace.org. Use the code “cabr8off” for $10 student tickets!



Image courtesy of  Crown and Scepter Presents Cabaret.

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