'Cabaret' Comes To Class At Pittsburgh's CAPA High School

Feb 4, 2016

Aisling Halpin teaches CAPA students choreography from the show "Cabaret."
Credit Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

One visiting "Cabaret" performer spent Thursday prepping not for the night's performance but teaching local theater students the finer steps to a dance career.

Musical theater and drama students at CAPA, Pittsburgh’s creative and performing arts magnet school, spent the afternoon learning some of the show’s choreography from Aisling Halpin, who plays “Frenchie” in the production.

“The kids were incredible. They were so open to corrections," Halpin said. "They jumped 100 percent in, two feet in, 100 percent in. But that’s all you can really ask for as a teacher. It was great.”

CAPA Theater Department Chair Mindy Rossi-Stabler said, although instructors at the school spend all day teaching the students about theater, sometimes an outside person, like Halpin, can make more of an impact. Roundabout Theater's 50th anniversary production of “Cabaret” is playing at the Benedum Center through Sunday. 

“We have lots of workshops for these kids,” Rossi-Stabler said. “And they just get so excited. They hear the same thing from the people that come in for the workshops that we tell them every day. But somehow it’s all new, and they’ve never heard it before.”

Dustin Butoryak, a senior who re-focused his emphasis from theater to musical theater for his last year, said he learned how to pair the two skills together.

“It’s hard to think about dancing with character,” he said. “And she was able to sort of water that down and make it easy for us to understand. So now I can go into my next dance audition ... thinking OK, maybe I can use my acting to further this.”