The University of Montana’s Zootown Cabaret is back at the Zootown Arts Community Center for their annual show, but this year’s performance is guaranteed to be a little different. This will be the first year the student ensemble will be performing their first-ever “Queer Cabaret.”
The show will be highlighting some of music’s most well-known and championed LGBTQ+ artists as well as students from UM’s School of Music, School of Theater and Dance and other departments.
As in other years, the music will be a collection of pop and rock and roll that spans across styles and the ages. There will also be a full, concert-style band performing live music that will be both heart-wrenching and up-beat and dance-worthy.
For anyone planning to attend, you can expect to hear famous tunes from George Michael, Brandi Carlile, Taylor Swift, Freddie Mercury and others. While the cabaret is not normally dance-centric, there will be a four-person dance breakout featuring choreography designed by some of the students.
There is also sure to be a dash of satire stemming from current events as well as storytelling inspired by students in the class.
John DeBoer, a professor of theater at the university and one of the show’s producers, says the show is not necessarily designed with younger children in mind. But he said it’s age-appropriate for anyone with older children and who come with open minds ready to have discussions afterward.
While the show is technically a university class and run by DeBoer and another professor, this year’s cabaret received a lot of input and inspiration from the students.
“It’s definitely the students who wanted to fulfill a mission for themselves in telling these stories,” DeBoer said.
The ensemble answers the call for students who are interested in contemporary and modern expressions of voice and theater and is a required course for students in the university’s musical theater program. But this year it was also the producers’ goals to provide the students with a platform to tell their stories.
David Cody, a professor of voice and theater and the show’s other producer, said it’s been in the works since the fall semester. It’s a show that Cody said is designed to be “overwhelmingly positive and celebratory.”
“It’s just a celebration of music that is by queer composers and songs that tell those kinds of stories,” Cody said.