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Westfield High Offers A Holiday Caberet

Sponsored by Westfield Theatre Boosters and directed by Lori Knickerbocker and Zoe Dillard, Westfield High's Holiday Caberet will be Friday-Saturday, Dec. 3-4, at 8 p.m. in the school auditorium.

Students will sing, dance and perform holiday-themed vignettes in this colorful, family-friendly show. Tickets are $5 at the door, and seating is limited to 200 people each night; purchase tickets in advance at 703-488-6430.

LOCAL BUSINESSMAN and actor Jim Mitchell will emcee, along with students Sean Youngberg, Heather McGrath and Katie Hanna. It's the first time Westfield's done a cabaret for two nights, and seating will be in the round for a more intimate setting.

"It gives students the opportunity to perform in a variety-show type venue and to collaborate with adults in the production," said Knickerbocker. "Minimal rehearsals result in a fresh, workshop-type presentation filled with fun and laughter."

Mitchell and Westfield drama director Scott Pafumi will sing "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" as Dean Martin (Mitchell) and Frank Sinatra (Pafumi). And Westfield theater teacher Dillard will sing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" with her daughters, Phoebe and Ashley.

Some 40 theater students from all grade levels will perform, plus some booster parents and fine arts teachers. Said Pafumi: "We always look forward to our cabarets as a chance to showcase new talent in our program and to celebrate the family community of Westfield Theatre."

Senior McGrath will introduce acts and give background. She said the audience will love the show because "No. 1, everyone's very talented; and No. 2, we're Westfield." Courtney Volk, 15, will sing "Jingle Bell Rock." She chose that song because "me and my mom love it and sing to it every Christmas while making cookies." Volk said it's a great way for everyone to start the holidays before going on break to spend time with their families.

WEARING A holiday outfit and a Santa hat, Megan Meadows, 17, will sing a duet with a boy (to be named later) to "Baby, It's Cold Outside." She said cabarets are fun because "they're sorta spur of the moment and there's lots of student interpretation. They have improvisation and are comical and entertaining."

Senior Tara Mitchell will be dancing with a group of three friends to a Christmas song. "It's great to work with your friends and choose what you want to do," she said. "There are even some father-son and mother-daughter groups performing."

Junior Brian Randall will sing an upbeat, two-part harmony song with student Carolyn Agan and might also be in a skit. "Cabarets are more laid-back, and the audience really enjoys them," he said. Branson Reese, 16, is writing a holiday comedy scene with friend Mario Ibarra.

"It's possibly about a mall Santa and his secret life," said Reese. "We'll both act with [junior] Barry Armbruster, who typically plays more powerful characters, but we want him to play an elf. It should be lots of fun — I'm excited. And the show's got a little something for everyone."

On tech crew, Sam Jones builds props and sets up the stage. Kelly Jones, helping with wardrobe, called the show "awesome." Kit Merz will create the lighting design and control the light panel. Said Merz: "Cabarets are more personal than main-stage productions and are usually big hits."