Fourth Annual Cabaret Sells Out Four Shows

Mimi Sheng, Contributor

The HBS Show Club doubled capacity from previous years to meet rising demand.

On November 20 and 21, the HBS Cabaret performed four sold-out shows (two back-to-back shows each evening) to the tune of this year’s theme: “Places I’d Rather Be.”

The HBS Show Club, the parent organization of the Cabaret, worked with the host venue, the Oberon Theater in Harvard Square, to double the number of shows from the previous few years due to increased student demand. Hillary Sieber (MBA ’20) served as Executive Producer of this year’s show, while Gabriel Ellsworth (MBA ’20) and Akash Gupta (MBA ’20) co-directed the performance. Tara Huusko (MBA ’20) was the head writer. 

The Cabaret began with a beautiful rendition of the timeless Judy Garland classic “Somewhere over the Rainbow,” performed by Lori Ossip. Ashwin Wadekar, the show’s MC, then introduced the show theme in his opening comedic monologue, and his commentary served as the common thread connecting various acts throughout the evening. 

Many performances adapted iconic Broadway or pop hits into odes to the ups and downs of life at HBS. Several focused on the unique experience of the RC year, including “I Believe” by Nick Fleming, about all of the questionable things that an “RC just believes,” and “Mike’s Song (What’s Up)” by Mike Sobolewski, about discovering the practical applications of TOM while standing in line at Chipotle. 

Others focused on the everyday annoyances of being a student at HBS, such as waiting in long lines to use the women’s restroom (Merve Ciplak and Natalie Riemer in “The Man”), falling asleep in class (Spencer Dahl in “What’d I Miss”), and wondering why themed parties always need to take place on Wednesdays (Nicole Granet in “Wednesday”). 

In a reflection of the increasing influence of Silicon Valley culture on campus, multiple songs poked fun at tech companies. Sam Miller paid homage to entrepreneurs in the clever “Startup Boi (Sk8er Boi),” and Nehemias Luna continued the theme in the melodic “Server on the Cloud.”

A few numbers truly showcased the incredible vocal range and talent we have at HBS, including “Breathe” (Dom Furlong) and “A Thousand Miles” (Sarah Peck). The audience was also treated to stunning harmonies in the duets “For Good” (Natalie Riemer and Kelsey Wise) and “I Dreamed a Dream” (Viet Ngyuen and Justin Kim). Cooper Williams and Kaia Simmons rounded out the evening with hilariously witty stand-up comedy acts that pushed the envelope. “Cabaret was the highlight of my RC year so far,” said Williams, who was performing in the show for the first time.

Equally impressive was the six-piece band, conducted by Akash Gupta, and the support from the HBS dance group Beyond Dance, led by Phoebe Zhang and Andrew Kahn. A full production team worked behind the scenes to facilitate a smooth performance for the performers and audience members alike.

Co-Director Gabriel Ellsworth (MBA ’20) commented, “It was truly a pleasure and a privilege to lead such a talented group of performers this year. I am deeply grateful to the alumni who started Cabaret in 2016, as well as those who welcomed me into the HBS Show Club when I was a young warthog—I mean, RC. If you felt even a bit less alone, less crazy, or more lighthearted after seeing Cabaret, then we did what we set out to do.”

In a place where we can all feel overwhelmed by academics and recruiting, the Cabaret provided a welcome respite from the pressures of our daily schedules. On those nights at the Oberon, it was clear there was no place the audience would “Rather Be” than at the HBS Cabaret.

For previous Harbus coverage of Cabaret, see our articles from December 2017, December 2018, and October 2019.

Mimi Sheng (MBA ’21) is from Michigan and loves everything about the performing arts. Mimi is the Chief Marketing Officer of the HBS Show Club.