If you’re thinking about leg warmers, big hair and blue eye shadow, your mind likely goes straight to the 1980s. Perhaps one of the most notable decades in history, the ’80s were filled to the brim with various revolutions in social culture, dress and, perhaps most remarkably, music. The musical stylings of the ’80s are some of the most distinct in the world, and students at Rider University will get the perfect opportunity to travel back in time to this iconic period with the Spring Cabaret – Eighties Explosion, which debuts at the Bart Luedeke Center Theater Friday, Feb. 10, and Saturday, Feb. 11, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb.12, at 2 p.m. Admission is free.
Frank Trapp, director of the cabaret, highlighted the importance of making this year’s show center around radio hits of the 1980s. “It was an incredibly diverse decade of styles and new beginnings in the realm of popular music,” he says. “Rock ‘n’ roll had quite the renaissance. So did dance and electronica. The evolution of the music video, rap, boy bands and more all contributed to a fascinating tapestry of different styles of music. Most importantly, the music of the ’80s tells big stories with big voices.”
Trapp describes the process of putting on the cabaret as energetic and collaborative, citing the designers, staff and administration. “[They] make it a joy to come here and direct a show,” he says. He went on to express excitement at working with the students at Rider, stating that the music in this cabaret would showcase their tremendous talent while also highlighting the amazing music of the ’80s.
The show is set to highlight hits from world-renowned artists such as Madonna, Cindy Lauper, REM and Billy Joel. Even if students don’t remember much from the ’80s, they’ll be sure to recognize these classic songs, as they have probably heard them innumerable times on the radio. Trapp also hopes that the cabaret will expose the students in the audience to lesser-known songs of the ’80s that they might not have heard before. He aspires to have young people learn about music from this decade even though they might not have grown up listening to it.
As is the case with many people, Trapp has a personal attachment with this time period. “I was in junior high in the ’80s,” he said. “Music videos were innovative and popular. We wore jams, popped collars and peg-legged our pants. Big hair and big songs dominated the scene.”
The spring cabaret promises to be a fun and relaxing time for the audience. Trapp hopes they see the variety and talent in the arts programs at Rider and that they take note of just how talented the student performers are; the variety of music from the 1980s is sure to showcase the breadth of their skills.
He wants the audience to be able to relax and have a good time during the show. Everyday life, particularly in the last few years, has become hectic for a lot of people. The spring cabaret is shaping to be the perfect escape from those stresses. “We live in an ‘interesting’ climate these days,” Trapp says. “Come to the theatre, turn off your phones and lose yourself in an ’80s explosion!”