Slowly one by one, audience members began to gather in front of the afterHOURS stage on Saturday evening. The venue was filled with chatter as the lights were dimmed, the performers were preparing themselves, and the crowd was eagerly waiting. A show inspired by one’s passion for music, NU Stage Musical Theater Company presented #NoFilter: A Cabaret.
In a live setting, all the performers are anything but shy and reserved. Each singer that hopped on stage sang with conviction as they painted a lyrical story. The show — directed by Northeastern student Cassandra Middlemist — served to be a platform for students to showcase their favorite songs, leaving no restriction to the genre or meaning. It centered on the notion that singers should perform songs that they have never had an opportunity to do so in the past.
The cabaret opened with student Julie Longthorne, who sang I’m not pregnant, I’m just fat by Katie Thompson. Immediately, the audience erupted into laughter from hearing the song title and the performance continued to be both hilarious and entertaining. Longthorne sang each and every word with confidence and in combination with her humor; it was a wonderful show-opener.
The show continued on as each performer stepped into the spotlight to showcase their talent. All sang unique songs that featured artists such as Paramore, Ingrid Michaelson, Hozier, and more. Middlemist — a third year Communications major — said there was a reason behind why the students chose the song they did.
“It was either a throwback or they heard this song and it really struck them,” Middlemist said. “I love seeing songs that people have an emotional connection to.”
While it is undoubtedly difficult to decide upon a favorite set, student Zahan Mehta brought a memorable and comical performance. Mehta walked on stage with a grey beanie, “hipster” glasses and a guitar strapped to his front. However, he didn’t come on stage as a singer. He came on stage as a character. Before Mehta began his take on I’m Gonna Be (500 miles) by The Proclaimers, he greeted, engaged and serenaded the audience with a Scottish accent, winning the crowd over with his jokes and wit. He concluded his set by strutting off the sage with his middle finger flashing the audience. It was the perfect way to sum up his performance.
Others such as Sarah Childs brought a more serious, but equally beautiful performance. Childs sang Braille, by Regina Spektor with a rich and smooth tone that captivated everyone. With such contrasting song choices from all the performers, it was truly a cabaret that did each singer justice.
“As a director, you watch people, even in the short time I’ve hard to work with [everyone], you watch people grow, you see their confidence build,” Middlemist said. “I think that’s the purpose of the cabaret. It’s to really help people showcase their voices and really build their confidence on stage in such a warm, close atmosphere.”
Student Natasha Chang closed the show with her acapella performance of Weak by Daphne Khoo. While it must have been nerve-wracking to sing a solo with no music to support her, Chang stunningly sang every note in what can only be called a brave performance. The audience intently listened and snapped along because similar to Childs, she too enchanted the entire audience.
All the performers from start to finish unquestionably embraced the #NoFilter theme, and the audience disbursed feeling refreshed and in awe.