Cabaret brings the best of musical theater to USF

“Out of the Box” opens this Friday at 8 p.m. in Theatre 2. ORACLE PHOTOS /  SEBASTIAN CONTENTO

The lavish and whimsical world of cabaret is coming to USF, bringing everything from singing cellmates to dancing Mormons with it.

“We have stuff from the 50s all the way up to stuff from YouTube that was never on Broadway … it’s a great mix,” said Anthony Santaniello, a junior majoring in theater performance.

“Out of the Box,” a musical theater cabaret, will run Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. in Theatre 2. The show is also limited to audiences ages 10 or older due to language and suggestive content.

“The USF theatre department doesn’t do musicals often,” Santaniello said. “Two years ago they did ‘Hairspray,’ and this isn’t technically a full musical it is a compilation of songs.”

The show is comprised of a collection of 29 show tunes, including pieces from “Cabaret,” “A Very Potter Musical,” “Spamalot” and “Frozen.”
“There’s going to be at least one song that you recognize or already love when you walk in the door,” said Giselle Muise, a junior majoring in theater performance.

The musical numbers for “Out of the Box” range from solos to large and elaborate group performances, and will include singing, dancing and even some audience participation.

“The cabaret is completely different than other things as far as theater goes because you’re switching in and out of things a lot,” Santaniello said. “You’re switching in and out of characters. I also have to be myself as an emcee, so I’m going from being myself into being a character, out of being a character into being another character, and just back and forth through the entire show.”

“You act the same way, you’re just singing while you’re acting at this point, so the biggest difference really is just the theatricality of the genre,” Santaniello said. “If you’re doing realism you’re being real, if you’re doing absurdism you’re being absurd, with musical theater oftentimes it’s just exaggerated reality in a lot of ways.”

For many of the students performing, “Out of the Box” will be their first musical show at USF.

“I love musical theater because of the collaboration,” said Fernando Chonqui, a junior majoring in dance studies. “We have musicians, we have singers, we have actors, we have dancers, we have lighting designers and then we have choreographers and all this collaboration that goes into one big production. I just love the teamwork
of it.”

There is not going to be a major storyline, nor will there be a life-changing message obtained through a shockingly melodic journey. In the end, “Out of the Box” is, though made up of show tunes, not really a musical. It is cabaret, a night of unadulterated, slightly more adult entertainment.

“It’s just going to be a lot of fun and it’s going to be crazy,” Santaniello said. “A lot of people, when they think of going to the theater, it’s like a very serious thing, and you’re going to be participating, and you’re going to be cheering, and hopefully are friends by the end of the night.”

Tickets are $8-$12 in advance on, and $10-$15 the day of the performance.