Pauper Players hits it rich

Pauper Players will launch its fall season in style with a bigger budget, two spiral staircases and an onstage orchestra. Lori Mannette, one of the group's administrators, couldn't say enough about the company's upcoming production of the 1966 Broadway musical "Cabaret," a show that has enjoyed a recent revival in New York City. "The production staff has been working hard all summer to create the designs for this show," she said. "Most days we rehearse more than we sleep." Auditions for "Cabaret" will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, and the show is scheduled to open Oct. 27. According to Ben Rumer, producer for "Cabaret," the Pauper Players' staff has had plenty of resources at its disposal. The success of its four most recent productions - including last year's "Jekyll & Hyde" and "Assassins" - allowed the group to add an extra $1,000 to its regular production budget of $5,000. "We're going to see whether the bigger budget translates to more people in the seats," Rumer said. Mannette said Pauper Players spent much of the extra funding on two metal spiral staircases. They are, in essence, expensive pieces of symbolism. The final segment of the play examines the "spiraling" decline of Europe in the 1930s as Hitler's Third Reich began its takeover. "We generally like to shy away from spectacle," Rumer said. "You kind of lose the acting and the overall message of the show." The group will make an exception in this case, he explained. He and Mannette agreed that "Cabaret" is all about spectacle. The staircases and the addition of an onstage orchestra will strengthen the effect. "I see no reason why this won't be the best show we've ever done," Rumer said. He added that the production comes at a pivotal time for the growing theater company. Most of the more active members will graduate soon, he said. Behind the scenes, Pauper Players is focusing on securing its legacy. "We'd like to get new blood and train new people," he said. "Right now all the administrators are working on the show. One of our goals is to write a manual that will define everyone's jobs." Mannette stressed the importance of collaborating with other organizations on campus. He specifically noted fellow theater companies and student groups such as the General Alumni Association. "Loyalties are becoming a hazier area," she said. But worries about the future aside, Rumer and Mannette said they can't wait for opening night. "It's very corny to say we're a big family, but we kind of are," Rumer said. "Our goal is not only to put on the best production we can but also to make good friendships and have fun doing it." Contact the Arts Editor at artsdesk@unc.edu.

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