NARRAGANSETT, R.I. — Students in the Narragansett High School theater program spent a rainy Monday afternoon running through well-known songs from Broadway hits like “Les Misérables,” “The Addams Family,” “Wicked” and “Newsies.”
It was part of a rehearsal session for the group’s annual cabaret fundraiser, set to take place Saturday night at the Courthouse Center for the Arts in South Kingstown.
Chorus director Sarah Kane played “Tell Her I Love Her,” on a piano while freshman Shayelin O’Connor and Junior Josh Handy sang a duet. Afterward, Kane told the pair they were close to nailing the performance, but just needed about five minutes more of practice in a nearby hallway to get it right.
“It’s going very well,” Kane said. “The show is all musical numbers and all from Broadway shows.”
Twenty high school students in the schools theater and music programs will take the stage Saturday. After-school rehearsals for the cabaret have been taking place since early March.
“They’ve learned all this music and they’ve learned staging and everything,” Kane said.
Proceeds from the show go toward funding the school’s theater program, which also presents an annual musical in the fall. Last fall, students staged “Sweeney Todd.” This coming fall’s show hasn’t been announced yet.
“Most of the students did the musical in the fall as well,” Kane said.
Aidan Capaldi and Caroline Connole Sutherland, both 18, said they’re excited about performing on Saturday.
Both seniors have their share of musical theater experience.
“I did ‘The Wiz,’ ‘Grease,’ ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Sweeney Todd,” Connole Sutherland said. She’s been performing since middle school.
“The Putnam County Spelling Bee was such a cool musical to do, it was a lot of fun,” she said. “The humor and jokes were really good.”
Starting theater as a junior last year, Capaldi has appeared in “Sweeney Todd,” “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee ,” “Legally Blonde” and “Freaky Friday.”
Capaldi played Sweeney in “Sweeney Todd.”
“I actually got to use a real straight razor on stage,” he said. “I felt the show helped me grow as a musician.”
He also played the lead role in “Freaky Friday,” having stepped in a week before the show to quickly learn the material.
Connole Sutherland will perform solo and a duet, and Capaldi will duet with friend and senior Sam Day, a tenor.
“It’s the confrontation from ‘Les Misérables,’” he said. It’s been one of his dreams to someday sing as Javert on an off-Broadway production.
Connole Sutherland said everyone in the cabaret has grown and become good performers. In fact, the show is a bit easier to pull off than a typical musical.
“It’s a lot of work but not as much as a regular show because there’s no memorizing lines, just music,” Connole Sutherland said. “It’s a nice change of pace.”
Proceeds from the cabaret fundraiser are used to help sustain the school’s theater and music programs.
The show usually features the talents of solo performers, but this year it’s branching out.
“This year we decided to be a little bit more involved, so there are group numbers, duets, trios,” Kane said.
The show will be presented in a black-box theater format, with the student performers donning semi-formal “dressy black” attire and using props in their musical numbers.
A handful of small group numbers will be mixed in with larger ensemble pieces, duets and solos.
Kane said she selected the music based on knowing each student’s individual voice.
“I know their strengths,” she said. “Most of these kids have done theater since middle school.”
Kane and her mother, Lila Kane, will provide the piano accompaniment during the two-part show.
It’s also the first time the show will be staged at the Courthouse Center for the Arts, at 3481 Kingstown Road. Previously, the smaller shows were held at George’s of Galilee.
“They were very generous to loan us their space,” Kane said of the Courthouse.
Tickets for the show are $20 each, and are available two ways. They can be purchased online at www.showtix4u.com or at the door on the night of the show. Admission also includes a dessert buffet, silent auction, 50-50 raffle and a cash bar. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with the show starting at 7.