Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Rodney Hudson, Assistant Professor.
Rebecca Karpoff, Instructor
Visual and Performing Arts
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Music | Music Performance | Other Music | Performance Studies | Theatre and Performance Studies
For my Capstone project, I developed an original cabaret entitled “When You Got It, Bump It: A Lost Showgirl’s Cabaret.” The story follows Mazeppa, the lost showgirl, as she travels the vaudeville “circuit” in an attempt to regain her fame. I portray this leading character, while two other women portray her friends and co-stars. All three characters are based on perhaps some of the most famous showgirls on Broadway, Mazeppa, Tessie Tura and Electra of the 1959 musical, Gypsy.
I performed the cabaret twice, on the evenings of April 2nd and 3rd, at the First Unitarian Universalist Church on Waring Road in Syracuse, New York. The piece is comprised of approximately sixteen songs and is about forty minutes in length. The performances also featured the talents of two of my peers within the drama department.
In the development of this piece, I sought to showcase two of my greatest artistic strengths: my flair for vocal jazz and dancing. I worked closely with a wonderful pianist who helped me transform my ideas into reality. She created flawless musical transitions from one song to the next, constantly underscoring my character’s dialogue, which helped string together her story. I designed the cabaret within three acts. The first act introduces each of the three characters and highlights the awkwardness that Mazeppa faced in her youth. In the second act, Mazeppa falls in love and has her heart broken; and in the third act, she overcomes this sorrow. With this story, I strove to illuminate a message of embracing one’s true self, thus the title of the closing number and the name of the piece, “When You Got It, Bump It.” I sought to create a piece that would emphasize this concept through the character’s discovery amidst a deep emotional journey.
The significance of creating this work of art is one that will renew itself as I continue to maintain and improve upon it over the next several years. As an artist, the value of having a personal piece is priceless. A cabaret is an incredible tool to have at my disposal, especially as I prepare to move to New York City next spring. Not only did this project provide me with the opportunity to strengthen my performance technique, it also granted me the chance to act as a writer, director, and producer. Additionally, I gained valuable experience in collaboration, something that will have an even greater impact as experience in planning for large projects in any arena outside of theatre.
King, Mary Claire, "When You Got It, Bump It: A Lost Showgirl’s Cabaret" (2011). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 221.
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