Guided by only the glow of the spotlight shining on the center of the room, students assembled in USF’s Studio Theater for the ASUSF College Players’ Open Mic-Cabaret night. The room was filled with a lively sense of anticipation as performers prepared to showcase their talents. The March 25 event was the Players’ first production of the spring semester. It was open to all and provided an opportunity for Dons to come together as a community and showcase each of their individual talents.
The first performer of the night was sophomore biology major Cher Ruiz. Ruiz set the tone of the evening with a powerful, acapella performance of “Breathe” from the musical “In the Heights.”
“It was a little intimidating going first because although I have some background in musical theater, I’m not a member of the College Players and haven’t really worked with them before so I didn’t know how the event would work or what to expect,” Ruiz said.
Ruiz explained that her fears began to subside throughout her performance after seeing how encouraging the audience was. Ruiz blew them away with her strong belts and contagious energy, earning frequent snaps from students as she sang. “Everyone was really respectful and supportive. It really helps to have such a great, welcoming audience when doing things like this,” said Ruiz.
Ruiz was the first of 14 performances that evening. The performances varied from solo singers to group numbers and duets, poetry readings, and monologues. Students were also given the opportunity to perform more than one number to exhibit their wide range of talents. Clare Wilson, sophomore computer science and PASJ student, for instance, performed both Sky’s monologue from “The Monogamist” as well as the song “Turn Back, O Man” from “Godspell.” Additionally, many College Players, such as senior English major Eden Nobile, took on the dual role of both working on the events production team and performing pieces themselves.
Nobile was the emcee for the evening, introducing each act and coordinating with the tech team to prepare everyone’s lighting and accompaniment. “MC-ing was super fun, luckily I knew almost everyone there so it felt very comfortable and easy to riff off of everyone else and their incredible talents,” Nobile said.“I felt motivated to perform since it’s my last year. I’m not going into theater or music for my career, so it’s just another great opportunity to express myself.”
Nobile gave the final performance of the evening, singing “Remember You” from the popular animated series “Adventure Time” and playing their own accompaniment on the ukulele. “The song is one I’ve known and sang for a long time by myself and it means a lot to me. ‘Adventure Time’ has helped me through some really rough times and the music in it is just beautiful,” Nobile said. Nobile’s ukulele tune was a comforting, spirited piece that served to both relax the audience with its familiarity and simultaneously enliven them with Nobile’s talent.
Open Mic-Cabaret night provided a relaxed, supportive space for students to perform for and with their friends and to meet others with a shared love of the performing arts. Nobile says they hope this event and future ones like it will help to establish a stronger performing arts environment in the community. “I definitely wish theater and performing arts had a bigger presence on campus,” said Nobile, “I know performing arts at USF, specifically the College Players, has helped a lot of people through difficult times in their lives, including me.”