“It’s The Hap-happiest Season Of All!”

By Zac Franzen

‘Tis the season yet again where festive lights illuminate the street, Christmas tunes can be heard over the radio, and holiday décor consumes every aisle at Target for the third straight month in a row. No matter if you still have yet to dig the Christmas tree out of the box, like myself, or if you have been preparing since July; the holidays are amongst us, and nothing will put you in the festive mood more than “The Holiday Cabaret” by the Nebraska Repertory Theatre.

Unlike most productions, the show actually begins the moment you enter the theatre. An array of seasonal décor greets the senses and sets the tone for the evening. One very unique feature of “The Holiday Cabaret” is the cocktail bar built into the studio, offering a small selection of mixed drinks to anyone and at any moment during the entire duration of the show. For those of you who may be wondering, fear not, a small assortment of sweets and treats are conveniently stationed on every table to pair with a drink and the show. While these small touches may only appear as subtle additions, they play an important role in creating the atmosphere amongst the audience; replacing the stress and anxiety from a busy holiday season with an opportunity to relax and enjoy the talent of our local artists. As the lights come up on stage, it doesn’t take long at all to see just how much talent these local artists possess. The live band begins to play as one, solo performer begins to sing. The beautiful and talented Karen Richards mesmerizes the audience with such a powerful and soulful voice, leading to an eruption of jubilant song from the entire cast while singing and interacting amongst the crowd. As the show continues, we are serenaded with holiday classics, theatrical tales, and a wide range of emotions that will inspire all.

You will be greatly entertained by a special appearance from Lincoln native and Wesleyan graduate Kally Duling. After performing in numerous productions at the Lincoln Community Playhouse and Nebraska Wesleyan, Kally made her debut on Broadway in the Tony award-winning musical Fun Home. Listen as she entertains the audience with well-known hits and personal tales of her holidays as a child, as well as her unique struggle she often faces as an actress in New York.

A Noel-natured transformation was undergone in the Studio Theatre at The Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film, creating a cozy and merry environment for audience members to experience a performance filled with singing, comedy, and heartfelt emotion. Each and every individual technical element used came together perfectly to create a simple yet classy environment. Christmas trees perfectly placed around the stage constantly reinforced the theme of the show. Stage lighting alternated between each song, helping to bring out the tone of that particular song. My personal favorite was the small but mighty orchestra at the center of it all, driving the show forward and creating a unique and original environment. All these technical devices come together without overpowering what’s happening on stage, while still reinforcing the shows important message: No matter how many holiday parties we attend, gifts we buy, or Santa shaped cookies we bake; it’s the memories that we make, surrounded by the people we love, that make the holiday season most of all.

No matter if you started decorating at the beginning of October, or if you are like me and are grudgingly assembling the tree and putting up lights with less than ten days before Christmas, nothing will put you in the holiday mood more than “The Holiday Cabaret.” Do not miss the chance to relieve holiday stressors and have a night to unwind with some amazing entertainment.

If you go: The Nebraska Rep’s production takes place December 13th through the 15th at 7:30 and December 16th at 2:00. The Lied Center is located at the corner of 12th and R Streets in Lincoln. Visit the Lied Center box office, click here, or call the box office at (402) 472-4747, to purchase your tickets now, 

Zac Franzen began his life in the arts at the age of six years old. His vast experience includes directing, teaching, and countless performances in Plays, Immersion Theatre, Poetry, and Interp; his personal favorite being Musical Theatre. Zac is a licensed judged for the state of Nebraska in both Play Production and Speech, traveling across the state to work with high school students. He has numerous achievements on both the state and national level, and was accepted to attend Juilliard’s Theatre for the Performing Arts. Zac is a very passionate and engaged person while promoting the enriching benefits the arts can give for all lives. If the opportunity to partake in any form of theatre has not presented itself to you, there is no doubt Zac will give you a private performance of your own, anywhere and anytime!

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