Rider students empower audiences through musical revolution

Allison Rhodes

Throughout history, music has proven to be a useful tool for empowerment and social justice. Lauded as the language of the soul, music has inspired revolution and rebellion from a place of art and creation. This semester, students in Rider University’s musical theatre department will embrace this theme of musical rebellion through a cabaret, appropriately titled Revolt.

This show will feature a collection of songs spanning the ages and exploring many different genres, from musical theatre to rock 'n' roll. Every piece in the program has one goal: to empower.

Directing this rebellious production is Frank Trapp, an experienced director and performer. He began and maintained his theatrical career at the Forestburgh Playhouse, a creative institution that many Rider students are affiliated with. “I’ve had Rider students with me since my first year as artistic director,” he says. “There is a very strong and wonderful relationship between the school and the Forestburgh Playhouse.” Trapp clearly values and admires the dedication to the Arts here at Rider, and that’s why he keeps coming back for more. This is his fourth time here, and he aspires to put on a great show and have some fun.

Trapp is seeking to inspire and enlighten his audience. “The whole point of the show was to find the many faces of revolt. It’s not just an angry show about rebellion and protests and signs and yelling and anger,” he explains. “It’s revolution. Revolts also have an aspect of empowerment, of liberation, of self-discovery, or breaking out of your norm and accepting who you are.”

Each student involved with the production has managed to find a piece of their soul to attach to the rebellious anthems that the show calls for. Elise Shangold, a musical theatre major, will perform Sara Bareilles’s Brave. “I knew Brave before; I actually sang it for the audition. I didn’t know that it was part of the show,” Shangold says. “I love everything about the song, I love the outgoingness of it. I really identify with that as a person.”

The cast and crew of this production hope that each person who comes to see the show will be able to find some small spark of empowerment that they identify with as well.

Trapp promises that audiences who come to see this show are going to see some incredible talent and are in for a wonderful night of entertainment. “They’re going to become immersed in the life of each song. The goal is to transport them out of their everyday reality and teach, make them learn, feel, laugh, maybe cry. And I hope they leave humming something they’ve never hummed before or thinking about something differently.”

Undoubtedly, audiences will leave Revolt feeling inspired and empowered by the end of the show.

This firecracker of a performance debuts at the Spitz Studio Theatre on Friday, Feb. 9, at 7:30 p.m. It runs through Saturday, Feb. 10, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 11, at 2 p.m. Admission is free.