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Quick Questions with Rebecca Whiteman

The Talon staff sat down with Rebecca Whiteman, the stage manager for Oklahoma Christian University’s 2020 Cabaret, to discuss this year’s program and how she came to be involved in campus performing arts.

What exactly is Cabaret?

Cabaret is a mixture of Broadway tunes and some popular songs that are on the radio now, but mostly Broadway tunes.

What is special about this year’s performance?

We have a lot of group numbers and a lot of dancing, which is different from what we’ve had in the past. In the past, we’ve had more solos, and we’re moving toward more group numbers where there will be a lot more dancing.

How much practice time goes into an event like this?

A lot of practice. They actually get their music before Christmas break, and they are required to have their music memorized before they come back. When they come back, we start choreography right away. We have rehearsals every night except for Wednesday nights and Saturday nights. It’s a lot of practice and a lot of dedication.

Were you involved in theater and productions before coming to Oklahoma Christian?

I was, for a little bit. I grew up in a very small town, and we had musicals my junior and senior years, but they were like little-bitty versions. It was more along the lines of, “Let’s look in our living rooms and find furniture and get the art department to paint us a few backdrops.”

What led you to take a more behind-the-scenes role?

I’ve always loved helping. I got labeled as a good helper, so now I’m always asked to do things. I wanted to do stage manager because I always admired the stage managers before me. It was something that I wanted to do, so I asked if I could do it.

What are the specific duties of your job?

Stage manager for Cabaret is different than it would be for the musical or something like that. The job of a stage manager for the musical would be actual backstage stuff—calling cues from backstage and managing the cast from backstage. Cabaret is a little different. I am actually doing that before the show starts, and then I will be up in the booth running the light sequences and calling cues while running the lights. It’s a little different and a little bit more stuff has to go on because it’s smaller than the musical, and we have less people doing more things.

How many people does it take to pull off an event like this?

More than you would think. We have the cast, and we have the jazz band. We have our director, our choreographer, tech director. We have Amy, who does all our decoration for the stage. There’s a lot of people involved.

What is your favorite performance or act in the show?

I don’t know. I like all of them. Some of the dancing ones, like “Footloose.” I love “Footloose,” so I jam out with them when they’re down there doing it. And our closer is from “Les Miserables,” and it’s beautiful and so touching.

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