cabaret, musical theater, musical theatre, theater, theatre, music, song, singing, voice, vocal, performance, show, art, thesis, master of fine arts, UCF, University of Central Florida, graduate degree


Music and Theatre have always captivated me. As a child, my parents would take me to live performances and cinematic shows and I would sit rapt, watching the theatrical events and emotional moments unfold before my eyes. Movie musicals and live shows that combined music and theatre were my favorite, especially theatrical banter and improvisation or sketch comedy. Some of my favorite youthful memories were my annual family summer trips to Las Vegas to visit my grandparents for six weeks. As a youngster, I got to experience the "old school" Las Vegas, replete with extravaganza, spectacle, cabaret, circus, lounge and nightclub acts, stand-up comedy, intimate revues, and all things marketed under the guise of entertainment, art, or both. Those summers, while not overtly planned as academic or educational in nature, proved, in retrospect, to be the training ground for what was to become my passion: the art of the cabaret genre. As a person who has always loved theatrical diversity, I am drawn to cabaret as an art form. Anything that fuses other forms interests me, and cabaret amalgamates many of the artistic forms I have grown to love. I come from a unique background of classical, jazz, musical theatre and pop styles, and have studied these styles in both the piano and vocal arena. The cabaret genre allows me to realize fully the stylistic variety of performance techniques with which I excel. My mother is a classical singer and my father a jazz pianist; during my youth they would perform at the piano, "meeting in the middle" so to speak in the world of Musical Theatre, through the fusion of cabaret, classical, jazz, and pop. Growing up hearing a song like "Summertime," from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, equally artistically rendered as both a classical aria and a jazz tune in my home was rich fodder for the vital informal education I received by being the offspring of musicians. It is due to this musical legacy that was passed on to me through my parents that I learned to explore the myriad of possibilities one can achieve through artistic musical and theatrical interpretation. Beyond the freedom of stylistic variety, cabaret performance also allows conventions such as direct interaction in the form of the proverbial "lowered fourth wall," allowing me to use my improvisational acting and interactive skill set as well as my musical skills. Cabaret is generally more intimate and personal in nature and I enjoy the camaraderie cabaret affords. Cabaret is interactive and intellectual and I am drawn to those aspects; I like the fusion of interactive banter and intellectual artistry. Also appealing to me is the "insider" sense cabaret not only allows but also encourages. Recalling my youthful memories of the Vegas shows in which the performer spoke directly to audience members, I remember the sense of belonging I felt at the recognition of some of the inside jokes. I knew I wanted to be involved with any aspect of music and theatre that would allow me the freedom to go with the moment, to reach people differently on any given day, to change with the times, and adapt to my audience and to the shifting world around me. I knew I had found a home in this intimate, insular, interactive, and intellectual art form known as cabaret. For these reasons and more I have chosen the genre of cabaret to be my intended thesis research project. I will produce, direct, and perform in a cabaret show, which will be the thesis performance. For the performance aspect of my thesis, in collaboration with my thesis partner, Josephine Leffner, I will perform a one-act chronological, historical, and stylistically varied cabaret show. The show will include material garnered from historical research of the cabaret genre, specifically settling on some of the famous women, songs, stories, lives, and important contributions. The cabaret will cover information, music, and spoken-word art from cabaret's inception in the Paris Montmartre district in 1881 to its height in Germany during the Weimar Republic. The show will culminate with cabaret's insurgence into American culture up to and including the state of American cabaret today. While my performance will focus mainly on American cabaret, a portion of the show will explore cabaret's European roots. Creating and performing this show will educate me further on the genre itself, as well as expand my performing skills through the varied styles in which I will perform within the realm of a single evening's entertainment. Creating and performing the show will also challenge me as a producer, director, promotional and administrative coordinator, music director, arranger, vocal director, collaborator, vocalist, pianist, actor, and writer. The show is intended as a kind of "Cabaret 101," in that the intended audience is treated to a night of variety entertainment with some historical background on the genre of cabaret. The audience is not expected to have any prior academic or experiential knowledge of cabaret in order to understand or enjoy the show. The cabaret intellectual will also be able to enjoy the show, as the songs, poems, skits, and sketches are intended to amuse and delight both the novice and the experienced cabaretist. For the research and analysis portion of my thesis monograph document I will provide information on cabaret's roots in France and Germany, as well as include informative research on American cabaret, its history and its current trends. I will have several chapters dedicated to the historical research and to other items such as the formatted libretto, documentation of a performance report from my thesis committee head, and a list of references used throughout the research and libretto chapters. I will include a structural and role analysis of the show itself and my contributions to it as outlined by the parameters of my graduate studies program. Several chapters of appendices will be included as information pertinent to the show such as costume, props, lighting lists as well as band and technical needs for the show itself. An introduction and conclusion will be created to bookend my document solidly and reveal myself as a person as well as a performer. This section will include reflective information on my intentions, triumphs, and tribulations, and will be codified through the opening and concluding perspectives. Through the process of writing the thesis monograph document I will create a public and personal record of the process, research, performance challenges, and decisions made throughout this journey. This document will be used as historical help to me should I need to refer to my thesis for later personal or professional use. The document will also be on record for the UCF theatre department, as I apply not only my performance training (as exhibited through the show itself) but also the research and critical thinking skills required of a masters degree candidate at a conservatory training program such as this one. Beyond its use for myself or for the department, I write this monograph document for others whose love and interest in studying the genre of cabaret match my own.


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Graduation Date





Wuehrmann, Nicholas


Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities



Degree Program









Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)