The Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts will be performing their Musical Theater Cabaret: “There’s No Business like SNOW Business” this weekend.
The show will feature musical numbers from “Christmas on Broadway”, the movie “Elf”, to “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, and will conclude with “White Christmas”. There will be songs from television show “Glee”, Jason Robert Brown’s “Songs for a New World”, and the musical “Meet Me in St. Louis”.
The cabaret director, Nicholas Morris, said he is extremely excited for the show because each component of the cabaret has a different style of dance and music.
“Each different medley that we will perform gives our students a 20-minute taste of being a part of that show,” Morris said. “I want our students to get a taste of these goodies.”
The cabaret allows the students an educational opportunity to experience each show as well as learn the history behind it, said Morris.
“These different styles of music and dance will really help prepare our students for what their future might hold,” Morris said.
Morris said the show will have a variety of musical numbers that will cross several generations.
“From Judy Garland’s ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ in the musical ‘Meet Me in St. Louis’ that was published in the early 1940s to music from today such as the tunes from ‘Glee’ we will be performing, our cabaret has such a variety!” Morris said.
The FWAFA students were enrolled in six musical theater classes which included three dance classes and three vocal classes, said Morris.
“This show is a one-act show that has 80 kids performing for over an hour,” Morris said.
The cabaret is anchored by the advanced musical theater class, he said.
“There is a lot resting on their shoulders,” Morris said. “Five of the medleys and production numbers will be performed by them and they have a lot of the solos as well.”
Morris said the musical numbers will have kicking aspects from The Rockettes as well as tap, jazz and hip-hop dance numbers.
“Our cabaret has everything from classy costumes with beautiful dresses and tuxes to performers dressed as elves,” Morris said.
The show will be opening with the traditional Broadway kick line feel and end with “White Christmas”, Morris said.
“There may even be chances of snow during the show!” Morris said.
There will be solos from students of all ages.
The song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” will be performed by eighth grader Lauren McGee. High school 11th grader Shelby Parker will be performing in the lively, dramatic and comical song based on the woes of Mrs. Claus called “Surbaya Santa” from the musical “Songs for a New World”.
Another solo will include ninth grader Camryn Wright singing “The Christmas Song” as well as numerous other solo pieces.
The cabaret is set for Saturday, Dec. 10 from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $6 in advance and $8 at the door.
The Director and Performers
Morris has been in the education and entertainment field for over three decades.
The director has a theater degree from Midwestern State University.
He has also been performing with a profession dance group based in Dallas for the past 18 years.
“This is my fourth year here at the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts,” Morris said. “Throughout my time here our musicians have won ten Buckley Awards which are like the Tony’s for the youth.”
This year’s group of students are exceptionally talented, said Morris.
“There is so much talent in our group this year and I just feel like every year our students are getting better and better,” Morris said. “Between work ethic, attitude, and professionalism our group has really improved.”
The director said this year’s group is bittersweet.
“My seniors this year started with me when they were freshman so it is a bittersweet feeling watching them grow up and improve,” he said.
FWAFA senior Tucker Heim, who will be performing in a duet with classmate Molly Morgan in “Extraordinary Christmas” said he has had a lot of fun with this cabaret but agrees that this year has been nostalgic.
“We do senior buddies—that’s when the third graders have a partner that is a senior, they are like their mentors,” Heim said. “Now that I’m a senior it’s this strange bittersweet feeling because my senior buddy seemed so much older than me and now I’m at that point too so I try to resemble my buddy.”
Heim applied to both TCU and NYU and hopes to become a part of a professional dance company and eventually becoming a physical therapist for dancers.
Senior Molly Morgan said she has learned a lot during her time at FWAFA since she first started in fifth grade.
“Last year, we did the musical ‘All Shook Up’ and I really enjoyed my part as Miss Sandra,” Morgan said. “I really worked on my character development of her and I enjoyed figuring out her back story—I put a lot of myself into her and it was a really big learning experience for me.”
Morgan hopes to attend Marymount Manhattan College next year.
“I would love to be a musical theater performer, but I am on the fence of sticking with musical theater,” she said. “I would love to explore jazz performance vocals in the future but who knows!”