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Going Green with Gusto
Posted Feb. 15, 2008
Seanette Garcia
Junior theater arts major Sam Guzik presents a song titled “Wonderful” in the theater arts department’s production of “Green Cabaret” on Feb. 6. Focused on environmental and other world issues, “Green Cabaret” was developed from student pieces worked on during the January interterm. The class was devoted to raising awareness of several environmental and social concerns.

“Green Cabaret,” an original student piece at the University of La Verne, hits on a variety of serious environmental and social issues.

Among them are animal rights, water pollution, global warming, destruction of forests, dependency on oil, immigration, war and human rights.

The purpose of the show is to make the audience “feel empowered to do something,” junior theater arts major Sam Guzik said.

In the beginning of the performance, the audience is asked to keep an open mind.

This is what the students involved in the production were hoping for when working on the piece.

“We want to show messages, to open minds,” Natasha Velasco, sophomore theater arts major, said.

The musical was written and staged by students enrolled in a January interterm course taught by director of theater Steven Kent.

Students were asked to find issues they felt strongly about and perform songs about them.

“There is so much to write about,” Kris Bicknell, a junior theater arts major, said. “When choosing the issues we had to leave some out.”

At the beginning of the course, the students had different issues they were interested in and issues they did not all agree with. Toward the end, however, they all felt strongly about the show and all the issues involved, Bicknell said.

The show is “different views blended together,” Velasco said.

“They caught the fire,” Kent said. “I’m really proud of them.”

“Maybe (the audience) found out something new,” Bicknell said.

With this new knowledge Bicknell hopes that the audience members start feeling deeply about issues and decide to take action.

Audience members enjoyed the combination of music, comedy and interesting facts.

“I really liked the show,” audience member Marcie Baldridge, sophomore liberal studies major, said. “It addresses a lot of issues we are facing.”

“It was really cool,” Maribel Chimalpopoca, a junior economics major at Cal State San Bernardino said.

“I especially liked the song ‘What did they do?’ It was fun and it spoke about all the issues in one song,” she said.

“It had this message of stop complaining about your own problems and do something about the bigger issues,” Chimalpopoca said.

“If the show had a soundtrack I’d buy it,” Jodi Baldridge, sophomore history major, said.

Students wrote 10 of the songs in the show, and one of them was written by Kent.

One of the original songs is “Alaska,” a catchy comedic tune about global warming, written by Adria Bar­bosa-Torregrosa and Michael Fredrick.

“Consequences” speaks about the fact that every action has a reaction, and it was written by Kent.

Since some of the students had no previous singing experience, vocal director Carol Stephenson helped move the production along.

“Green Cabaret” will continue to run 7:30 p.m. this Friday and Saturday at the Jane Dibbell Cabaret.

Maria J. Velasco can be reached at mvelasco@ulv.edu.

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