They call it … XANADU

Recalling last year’s Forbidden Planet Productions’ musical cabaret, junior Samantha Dercher remembers that when the show sold out, the company had to turn away nearly 100 people.

She said this year – which marks her directorial debut – the company added additional shows so those interested could see the company perform the collection of music from “Xanadu,” “Wicked,” “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Sister Act II,” among other works.

One of 10 directors, as artistic director of the company Dercher is responsible for overseeing the other directors and has been a member of Forbidden Planet Productions since her freshman year. She attributes the expected large turnout to the cast size, which includes nearly 50 performers.

“If they each invite a few friends, it’s enough to sell out,” she said.

Dercher said preparing for the cabaret included a lengthy audition and callback process, considering the popularity of the musicals highlighted.

Katlyn Riley, the director for the piece from the 1980 musical “Xanadu,” said she proposed the song “Xanadu” because she “wanted to pick a song that was fun and that could show off people’s singing abilities and dance skills.”

Riley said after seeing the show on Broadway this past summer, she was attracted to the energy of that particular song.

“I thought it would be a really good piece that could stand by itself in a cabaret,” she said.

Riley, also a first-time director, was excited to learn that “Xanadu” would be the final number for the cabaret.

“We had been hoping it would be last because it’s high energy. The cast has worked so hard to make it sharp and sound and look good. Having it be last is an extra bonus to perform it,” she said.

Though the company has performed the cabaret for the past three years, Dercher says this year is different for Forbidden Planet Productions.

“There’s a lot more diversity in song. We have songs from very popular recent musicals, like ‘Wicked’ and ‘Spring Awakening,’ but we also have songs from classical musicals like ‘Kiss Me Kate.’ “

“There’s something for everyone,” she said.

“There’s a lot of variety, which makes it really fun,” added Riley.

Freshman Daniel Kaufman, who has a solo in three numbers, said he was thrilled to participate and spoke to the sense of community the experience afforded him.

He said, “I’ve been told in the past that the theater companies have been really segregated. There’s a lot of intermingling [between companies] right now and it’s really cool.”

Forbidden Planet Productions’ Third Annual Musical Cabaret will be performed in the Lisner Downstage Thursday, March 5 at 8 p.m. Friday, March 6 at 7 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. and Saturday, March 7 at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. A donation of $5 is suggested.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.