Students pair with Broadway mentors for cabaret

On April 23, Seton Hall will present a cabaret of student and Broadway collaboration. Students ages 12 to 25 will be paired up with Broadway actors who have volunteered their time.

Seton Hall is sponsoring the show, but anyone within the age range able to make auditions and put in the time is welcome.
The program is all about forming valuable relationships with people in the Broadway business.

Photo courtesy of Elliot Petrilla

Freshman theater and music double major Elliott Petrilla has Randy Blair as his mentor. Blair is currently working on Stu for Silverson.

He originated the role of Hipolito/Elton John in Amelie and was also a writer for the YouTube series “Billy on the Street”. Petrilla said Blair has been pushing him to step out of his comfort zone.

Many of the pairs are performing songs or mash-ups of songs from Broadway shows, but Blair and Petrilla will be performing an original song written by Petrilla.

“It’s kind of terrifying, but at the same time that’s kind of the push I needed,” Petrilla said.

Petrilla started writing the song by humming a melody in the voice memos app on his phone and now an accompanist is transposing the song. Petrilla said he had no idea who he would pair with, and he said he would love to have Blair as his mentor again if they both participate in the program in the future.

“He’s a really cool guy; it’s nice to be able to talk to someone that’s in the business,” Petrilla said.

Photo courtesy of Tess Borsecnik

Junior theater major and vocal performance minor Tess Borsecnik is also returning to Broadway this year. Last year she was paired with Catherine Brunell and they will reunite as mentor and mentee on the SOPAC stage on the 23rd.

Brunell performed in Something Rotten, Elf and Mary Poppins on Broadway. Borsecnik said she has consulted Brunell most about auditions.

Borsecnik and Brunell will be doing a mash-up of “Get Happy” by Judy Garland and “Happy Days are Here Again” by Barbra Streisand.

“It has been a wonderful opportunity, and it’s been so helpful,” Borsecnik said.

Photo courtesy of Toni Gardner

Toni Gardner graduated from SHU last May as a social work major and musical theater minor. Gardner is back in Broadway Buddies to do another cabaret with mentor, Marni Raab, who is best known for her long run as Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera. Gardner got to go see Raab perform as a chorus member in the musical in January.

“That was really cool, to go see someone you know and are friends with in a Broadway show,” Gardner said.

Like Borsecnik, Gardner has sought audition advice from her mentor. Raab has attend productions Gardner was in, and Gardner said that it has been wonderful to have someone in her corner.

For their second time taking the stage by storm together, Raab and Gardner will be performing “What You Don’t Know About Women” from The City of Angels.

Veronica Gaspa can be reached at veronica.gaspa@student.shu.edu.

Author: Veronica Gaspa

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