By Caroline Ryan
“What Red Lipstick Sounds Like: A Cabaret” was performed on March 26 and 27 in the Hillwood Recital Hall by eight female Musical Theatre majors, and was directed by Kerry Prep, an adjunct professor at LIU Post. The idea for the show came from Prep’s daughter, Molly, a student at NYU, who also came up with the title for the show. The cabaret celebrated women, and the message of the songs was about embracing yourself in every aspect of your life.
Prep said, “What does red lipstick say to you? To some, it’s vampish; to others, it’s powerful. And to others, it’s aspirational. Red lipstick conjures up all kinds of feelings in both men and women. It’s a red flag that says, ‘I’m in charge.’ It’s graceful, confident, and charismatic. It defines one as ‘that kind of woman.’ And that kind of woman has a story to tell. You better listen, because she won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. By dressing their lips in red, eight talented young ladies from the LIU Post Musical Theatre program draw your attention to their mouths and the words that came [from] them.”
Numbers for the program were chosen by the actresses, the director, and the stage management team. Students who participated in the show included Assistant Director Jenny Rubin, Stage Manager Ashling Costello, and Assistant Stage Manager Cameron Clay. The actresses were: Emma Barishman, Emily Locklear, Emily Whipple, Diamond White, Anna Betteridge (who choreographed the group numbers), Taylor Bass, Laura Kaye Chamberlain, and Audrey Ney.
To prepare for the show, the performers held rehearsals and had a few meeting outside of rehearsal time to decide on songs. The show included four large group numbers, two small group numbers, and eight solos.
On Tuesday, March 24, the performers did a flash mob in Hillwood Commons to one of the group numbers, “Candy Store” from the musical “Heathers.” The flash mob was done to make the student body aware of the performance that was to take place that week, and to give Post students a preview of the show.
The cabaret was performed without microphones in order to enhance the vocal training taught in the Musical Theatre department. “It’s important for young actors to learn to project their voice in a large space, such as Hillwood Recital Hall,” said Barishman, a senior Musical Theatre major.
“The experience was a challenge because we had such limited time for such a large undertaking, but this particular group of women faced adversity with positivity and joy,” she continued. “There was never an air of competition in the room because all eight of us supported each other completely and acknowledged that we each had our own individual strengths that we could celebrate instead of hide throughout the rehearsal process. I’ve been lucky enough to work with Kerry, our director, three times over the last three years (previously in Bum Phillips: All American Opera, and Into the Woods). He continues to inspire every student he works with because of his ability to motivate without negativity.”