TAD Keeping Theatre Alive: Musical Theatre II Cabaret Held in Dixon Court

Despite COVID regulations limiting students’ ability to sing and perform indoors, the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance’s (TAD) Musical Theatre II class presented a cabaret in Dixon Court on April 30. Chair C. Patrick Gendusa stressed that this class really shouldn’t have happened, but that it did against all odds. He had cancelled the Musical Theatre I course this semester because of limitations on indoor singing and performance, but knew that some students needed to take Musical Theatre II  to graduate in May. 

Because the focus of Musical Theatre II is cabaret-style performance, Gendusa said he reserved Dixon Court for an outdoor cabaret. All rehearsals for the cabaret were outside as well because singing indoors is currently not allowed at Loyola due to COVID restrictions. Students were masked during both rehearsals and performances. 

“It was great because we got to do the show basically like normal, but with covid regulations,” he said. 



Gendusa co-taught the class with artist-in-residence Justin Prescott who has been leading master classes with the department since last semester. Flo Presti music directed the affair. 

Prescott also choreographed both the opening, “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” from Hair, and the closing number, Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven is a Place on Earth” from the Broadway musical Head Over Heels. Prescott was in the original Broadway cast of Head Over Heels, so he was able to utilize his firsthand performance experience when choreographing this number. 


Although these numbers come from musicals, the rest of the cabaret featured non-musical theatre songs. Gendusa said Musical Theatre II is normally a course dedicated to taking songs that aren’t from musicals and reinterpreting them in different ways. Doing so allows students to focus on cabaret performance rather than strictly musical theatre performance, he said. In the past, the department has done a country cabaret as well as a genderbent cabaret. 

This is not the only performance that has happened in Dixon Court this semester. TAD senior Abby Trahant produced and directed Rabinal Achí: Xajoj Tun as a part of her senior capstone for Latin American Studies. The music program even staged an entire opera outside in the court. 

“We loved working in that space. We really do want to continue doing more cabarets and performances in Dixon Court in the future,” said Gendusa.