CABARET CELEBRATES LIFE: FOUNDERS LOOK BACK AT 15 YEARS
In 1979, Andrew DePrisco and Fred Mayo met in history class at Neptune Township’s junior high school. They never could have dreamed what their mutual love of music and theatre would accomplish years later.
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“I was the darling of (teacher) Mr. Polan’s history class until Andrew came in and stole all my attention,” said Fred. “I knew I had to get to know this skinny guy with the big brown hair.”
Andrew and Fred became fast friends while ruling over class council and theatre class.
“We were real life ‘Glee’ decades before show,” said Fred. “Andrew and I produced our senior class show and raised more money than ever for the show’s ad book.”
As adults, Andrew and Fred fused their talents and founded Cabaret for Life, celebrating its 15th Anniversary in 2010 as an organization that raises funds for local charities, promotes HIV/AIDS awareness and provides educational opportunities for Monmouth County performing art students.
Through the past 15 years, Cabaret for Life, has entertained thousands of music lovers and raised more than $160,000 for a number of local charities.
“Our first show was holiday show in 1995 at McLoone’s Rum Runners and since we were friends with Father Bob from The Center, we gave the money we raised from the sell-out crowd to him,” said Andrew. “Over the years, we still raise money for The Center but we have a few more charities that we work with, like organizations that help people with breast cancer, pediatric AIDS, and St. Jude’s Hospital.”
Until last year, Andrew and Fred produced three shows every year. Last year, they started producing 10.
“At this point we have done musical reviews of every major songwriter and now it is about finding new angles,” said Andrew. “We have done Lynn Aarons who is most famous for ‘SchoolHouse Rock,’ Dorothy Fields who wrote ‘The Way You Look Tonight’ and Jerry Herman and Steven Sondheim – every great songwriter.”
Andrew and Fred work together in determining which themes they build shows around and casting the shows.
“I am the more academic and Fred is the more instinctive,” said Andrew. “Fred will have a gut feeling that is dead-on and I will think of forty reasons to do a show or not.”
And inspiration comes to them anywhere.
“Just last week we were at the gym bouncing ideas around about musical theatre, like most guys do,” said Andrew. “We do not just do a show because it is artistically interesting – we want to make money for our charities so a show has to be viable with our audience. Breaking even is a disaster for us, which we have done only twice.”
Fred plots the storyline and then Andrew writes it.
“Then Fred throws in one line and expects a writing credit,” said Andrew smiling. “I had to bribe him with dinner to help me finish our latest show ‘Glitter’. I give him credit he does not deserve.”
I laughed as they both lovingly bickered about who does what when, as a lot of theatre people do, then Andrew and Fred gazed at each other like Tony and Maria from “West Side Story” and said simultaneously “But it all works out in the end.”
Very true, since Cabaret for Life gives away at least $5,000 in scholarships every year, helping some talent go on to much bigger shows, such as Jarod Gertner, most recently in “Putnam County Spelling Bee; Paul Pilcz who is in the current Broadway revival of “Bye Bye Birdie” and (my favorite) Melissa Rauch who scored a reoccurring role on the television show “The Big Bang Theory.”
Andrew and Fred’s latest cabaret show, “Gay and Be Glitter 2”, described as “where high camp meets low waistbands” and “dirty, funny and bawdy” by Andrew, stars Asbury Park’s Brett Colby. The show is at the Supper Club tonight and tomorrow, Thursday and Friday (July 29, 30).
CabaretForLife.net has more info.