College Cabaret Series

theBestArts College Cabaret Series

This page is intended for prospective students and alumni who are considering participating in an upcoming college cabaret event co-produced by theBestArts and Broadway Sessions in NYC. It gives an overview of past events and then describes what they can expect at their event.

TheBestArts has hosted an annual college cabaret series in New York City since 2010, featuring seniors and Broadway alums from top musical theatre programs across America. Featured schools have included Carnegie Mellon University, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Boston Conservatory, Penn State University and the University of Michigan.

Most 2014 cabarets will be co-presented by Ben Cameron's Broadway Sessions at its home in the very performer/audience-friendly Laurie Beechman Theatre. Doors open at 10:00pm; the show starts promptly at 11:00pm on a Thursday night during senior showcase week.

Confimed college programs for 2014 are:

  • Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) - March 13, 2014
  • Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) - April 10, 2014
  • University of Michigan - May 15, 2014

Other likely college programs for 2014 include:

  • Ithaca College - March 10?, 2014
  • Boston Conservatory (BoCo)
  • Nominate yours!

To nominate your program for a 2014 event, please send the school name, the NYC showcase date(s) and the number of graduating MT seniors (can include related disciplines) to me at .

College Cabaret Goals

  • Give seniors the chance to perform together one last time - in a top NYC club
  • Enlist five or six successful alums (usually with Broadway credits) to perform a song on the same ticket as the seniors
  • Have a fun night out with friends and family
  • Network with other program alums
  • Provide seniors and alums with a high definition video of their performance to use on their websites or in their portfolios

Series History

In 2010, theBestArts kicked off the series with a great show by CMU seniors and alums (see compilation video below.) The 2010 event was hosted by Brandon Cutrell at the Laurie Beechman Theatre.

In 2011, we moved to the Ha! Comedy Club, hosted by Ben Cameron. CMU returned in 2011 and we added CCM, BoCo and Michigan. About 30 Broadway veterans participated in our five shows, as did over 80 seniors.

In 2012, we moved back to the Laurie Beechman Theatre with host Ben Cameron. This is a wonderful venue and provided a memorable experience for performers and the audience alike.

The college cabaret series continues in 2013 at the Laurie Beechman Theatre with host Ben Cameron.

Past Headliners

Baldwin-Wallace Alum Headliners - 2013

  • Corey Mach - Baldwin-Wallace in 2013 (Hands on a Hardbody, Godspell, Wicked)
  • Jennifer Noble - Baldwin-Wallace in 2013 (Ghost)
  • Jill Paice - Baldwin-Wallace in 2013 (The Woman in White, Curtains, 39 Steps)
  • Kyle Post - Baldwin-Wallace in 2013 (Kinky Boots, Spiderman)
  • Libby Servais - Baldwin-Wallace in 2013 (Lysistrata Jones, Wicked)

Boston Conservatory (BoCo) Alum Headliners - 2011, 2013

  • Will Blum - BoCo in 2011, 2013 (Book of Mormon, Grease, Grease Nat'l Tour, Seussical Nat'l Tour)
  • Jonathan Reid Gealt - BoCo in 2011, 2013 (Forward - songwriter; Les Mis Nat'l Tour; Thirteen Stories Down, debut album, Here For You: Ballads for Broadway Impact)
  • Kendal Hartse - BoCo in 2013 (Cinderella, On A Clear Day...)
  • Matthew John Kacergis - BoCo in 2011 (A Walk on the Wild Side - Studio Cast Recording, Parade - Ford's Theatre)
  • Nikka Graff Lanzarone - BoCo in 2011 (Chicago, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Hello Again - the Transport Group)
  • Michael Mahany - BoCo in 2013 (Wicked, Wicked Nat'l Tour)
  • Dan Micciche - BoCo in 2013 (Chicago)
  • Carly Sakolove - BoCo in 2013 (Cabaret performer, Broadway impersonations)
  • Jason Michael Snow - BoCo in 2011, 2013 (The Book of Mormon, South Pacific)
  • Derek St. Pierre - BoCo in 2011 (Rock of Ages)
  • Alysha Umphress - BoCo in 2011 (Bring It On, On A Clear Day, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, American Idiot)

University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) Alum Headliners - 2011, 2012, 2013

  • Matt Bogart - CCM in 2013 (Jersey Boys, SMASH, Aida, The Civil War, Smokie Joe's Cafe, Miss Saigon)
  • Kristy Cates - CCM in 2013 (Wicked: Broadway, Chicago, National Tour)
  • Andre Catrini - CCM in 2011, 2012 (Johnny Mercer Songwriter's Project, BMI Musical Theatre Workshop)
  • Scott Coulter - CCM in 2011, 2012, 2013 (MAC Award, Bistro Award, Nightlife Award in Outstanding Male Vocalist)
  • Brandon Cutrell - CCM in 2011 (MAC Award: Best Male Debut; Mac Award, Bistro Award: Outstanding Male Vocalist)
  • Nikki Renée Daniels - CCM in 2011, 2012 (Porgy and Bess, Anything Goes, Promises, Promises, Les Misérables, Nine, Aida)
  • Alexa Green - CCM in 2011, 2012 (Company - Lincoln Center; Wicked - LA, San Fran;
    Scrooge in the Musical - Nat'l Tour)
  • Jessica Hendy - CCM in 2012 (Aida, Cats, Amour)
  • Tyler Maynard - CCM in 2011 (The Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins, Mamma Mia!, Altar Boyz!)
  • Danny McNie - CCM in 2011 (Music of Alan Menken - Int'l Tour;
    Miss Saigon - Nat'l Tour)
  • Marla Mindelle - CCM in 2012 (Sister Act, South Pacific, The Drowsy Chaperone - Nat'l Tour)
  • Tory Ross - CCM in 2013 (Kinky Boots, 9 to 5, Cry-Baby)
  • Eric Sciotto - CCM in 2013 (The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Rock of Ages, Pal Joey, Cry-Baby, A Chorus Line, Sweet Charity, Sweet Smell of Success, 42nd Street, Aida, Annie Get Your Gun)
  • Gabrielle Stravelli - CCM in 2011 (Backstage/Bistro Award: Performer on the Rise)
  • Melvin Tunstall - CCM in 2011 (Rock of Ages)
  • Tony Yazbeck - CCM in 2012 (Chicago, Irving Berlin's White Christmas, Gypsy, A Chorus Line, Never Gonna Dance, Oklahoma!)

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Alum Headliners - 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

  • Amanda Jane Cooper - CMU in 2010, 2011 (Wicked - Nat'l Tour)
  • Nick Cosgrove - CMU in 2010, 2011 (Jersey Boys - Nat'l Tour, Encores! Where's Charley?)
  • Corey Cott - CMU in 2013 (Newsies)
  • Chris Dimond - CMU in 2011 (Homemade Fusion - songwriter)
  • Sara Jean Ford - CMU in 2010, 2011 (Finian's Rainbow, The Fantasticks, Phantom of the Opera)
  • Lora Lee Gayer - CMU in 2012 (Follies)
  • Hunter Ryan Herdlicka - CMU in 2010, 2011, 2012 (A Little Night Music)
  • Daisy Hobbs - CMU in 2010, 2011 - (Memphis National Tour)
  • Andrew Kober - CMU in 2011, 2012 (Hair - Broadway, West End)
  • Trevor McQueen - CMU in 2010, 2011, 2013 (Annie Get Your Gun)
  • Billy Porter - CMU in 2012 (Smokey Joe's Cafe, Grease,
    Five Guys Named Moe, Miss Saigon)
  • Zak Resnick - CMU in 2010, 2011, 2013 (Mamma Mia!, bare, American Idol)
  • Will Reynolds - CMU in 2010 (The Greenwood Tree - songwriter)
  • Kirsten Scott - CMU in 2010 (Hairspray, Follies)
  • Matthew Scott - CMU in 2010 (Sondheim on Sondheim, A Catered Affair, Jersey Boys)
  • Skye Scott - CMU in 2010, 2011 (Jersey Boys - Nat'l Tour)
  • Tess Soltau - CMU in 2010, 2013 (The Addams Family)
  • Matthew Stocke - CMU in 2012 (Rock of Ages, The Wedding Singer, The Boy from Oz, The Full Monty, Titanic)
  • Tommar Wilson - CMU in 2010 (Hair, Lestat, Never Gonna Dance, Hairspray, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Music Man)

University of Michigan Alum Headliners - 2011, 2012; 2013 TBA

  • Todd Buonopane - Michigan in 2012 (Grease, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee)
  • David Hull - Michigan in 2011 (Wicked)
  • Bryan Langlitz - Michigan in 2011 (Memphis)
  • Andrew Lippa - Michigan in 2012 (The Addams Family, The Wild Party, You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, john&jen)
  • Anne Markt - Michigan in 2011, 2012 (The Fantasticks, Hair - Nat'l Tour)
  • Walter Winston O'Neill in 2011 - Michigan (Wicked, A Tale of Two Cities)
  • Kent Overshown - Michigan in 2011 (Memphis - Nat'l Tour)
  • AJ Shively - Michigan in 2011 (La Cage Aux Folles)
  • Maddy Trumble - Michigan in 2012 (Newsies, Mary Poppins - Nat'l Tour)
  • Cortney Wolfson - Michigan in 2011 (Les Misérables, The Addams Family)

Pennsylvania State University (PSU) Alum Headliners - 2012

  • Caroline Bowman - PSU in 2012 (Wicked, Spamalot - Nat'l Tour, Grease - Int'l Tour, Fame - Int'l Tour)
  • Marcus Paul James - PSU in 2012 (Rent, In the Heights)
  • Delius Doherty - PSU in 2012 (Book of Mormon, The Greenwood Tree - NYMF)
  • Laurie Veldheer - PSU in 2012 (Newsies, Hairspray - Nat'l Tour)

Note: it's very possible that some of the credits here are outdated - please send updates/corrections to me at .

Compilation Video: CMU 2010

Our first event at the Laurie Beechman was incredibly successful - and we're delighted to return there again with host Ben Cameron. Here's a compilation video from 2010:

Musical Theatre Programs

Top musical theatre programs are invited to participate in the College Cabaret Series. Smaller programs are welcome to partner with other small programs on the same date. Possible example: Ithaca and Penn State.

Interested musical theatre classes should nominate top alumni to perform with them. My experience has shown that alumni will agree to perform if their schedule allows. I'm typically able to book about half of the requested Broadway stars; a final result of six or so alums seems to be the right number. These headliners typically perform for 45-60 minutes, giving a total program length of about two hours.

Many schools have alumni and students who are accomplished songwriters and/or pianists. I'm happy to invite them to accompany one or more singers upon request.


Headliner Alumni

Our goal is to recruit five or six top program alumni to perform with and support the seniors. We will provide a top NYC accompanist, Joshua Stephen Kartes, or headliners may bring their own. Here is what headliners can expect:

  • Perform one song of your choice. Almost every headliner has chosen a solo, but we are open to all ideas.
  • Headliners have the priority on start time; most choose to perform near the start of the program.
  • We will provide an optional rehearsal time with the accompanist in Midtown on the day of the show, usually 5 or 6-ish. We will work to accommodate your schedule as much as possible.
  • Headliners should understand that the show is professionally videotaped and that they will be provided with a free copy of their performance to use as they wish. The videotape will also be posted to YouTube unless the singer feels that their performance does not show them in a positive light.
  • We welcome rising songwriters as headliners. We hope that they will select a program student or alum to perform their work, but this is not required.


We hope as many members as possible of the senior class of each program will participate. In most cases, this is the last time you'll all perform for each other. Here is what seniors can expect:

  • Select one person (usually from your class) as co-producer of the show. This individual is responsible for establishing the performance program of participating seniors, developing a senior rehearsal schedule and helping to coordinate event communications. There is a fair amount of work involved, but this is a resume-suitable experience.
  • Perform one song of your choice. For larger programs, it will be necessary to perform small group numbers. (The senior portion of the show can't exceed 90 minutes.)
  • Remember that this is NOT your showcase. Have fun with what is probably your last time to perform together.
  • Seniors are invited to suggest alums for the program. We will make a best effort to enlist them to perform.
  • We will provide all seniors with a professional high-definition recording of their performance to use as they wish. The videotape will also be posted to YouTube unless one of the singers feels that their performance does not show them in a positive light.
  • The $5 event cover and $15 food/drink minimum applies to seniors and their guests. Although theBestArts fully donates its services, other event expenses must be paid.

Other Alums and Students

All program alums and students are invited to perform. Please sign up for an open-mic slot with host Ben Cameron as soon as you arrive. If unscheduled Broadway/Tour alums show up, we will try to incorporate them into the program based on when they want to sing. Most other alums and students will perform toward the end. Seniors and headliners can also sign up to perform additional unscheduled numbers.

We will attempt to provide free high-quality video recordings to all additional alums and students who perform (depending on our videographer's later-night availability.)

Cover Charge

Seniors and guests are charged a $5 cover (waived for Broadway headliners) that is used to pay the following expenses:

  • Host
  • Accompanist
  • Rehearsal - accompanist plus studio rental (if needed)

A $15 food and drink minimum (waived for Broadway headliners) pays for the cost of the theatre and theatre staff.

All income above event costs is donated to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Please note that theBestArts donates all services for co-producing this event.


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