The 2023 Coffeehouse Revue debuted to a full house in the Hurlbut Theater in its new format last week. The 20th year of this Upper School production showcased the finest vocal, instrumental, dance and dramatic artists, and proved a successful iteration.
New this year was a one-night only performance. The format changes were designed to make the event open to more members of the Upper School community, which received a preview during Convo earlier in the week. The show’s director, Chris Carbajal, envisioned a high-energy, full-cast opening number. Led by senior Chloe Thompson, the company of 30 danced and sang to Beyonce’s hit, “Love on Top” while backed by the Coffeehouse Band. This year’s Coffeehouse Band included students on keyboard, piano, bass, drums, violins, viola, alto sax, trumpet and vocals. Choreography was created by Katie DeShan with assistance from junior Sam Kushner. Master of Ceremonies, senior Jake Reeves, added humorous introductions for each of the 20 acts comprising the two-hour performance.
Band Director Chris Carbajal says that the format was inspired by his years of touring with international superstar Ebi.
The Arts at St. Margaret’s hired Ebi’s sound designer and production manager, Sia Davarnia, for this year’s Coffeehouse Revue. To help complete the spectacular sound, the Revue utilized brand-new professional-grade microphones donated by the PTF in January.
As he did in prior years, Mr. Carbajal created a custom arrangement for rhythm section, strings and horns for each of the acts needing accompaniment. Additionally, the band played with in-ear monitor technology. According to Mr. Carbajal, this same technology is being used currently in Hollywood. “I created the cues that instrumentalists only hear in their ears. This gave the Coffeehouse Band a professional experience.”
The technical arts team included lighting design by junior Jack Justus. Freshman Gavin Shams, the assistant lighting designer, also worked spotlight. According to Gavin, “Working with this amazing team really brought the show together, everyone pulled their weight to make this show possible.”
According to Director of Performing Arts Dan Pacheco, “This was such a special evening of students and their families celebrating the performing arts and supporting their peers. The energy and roar of the packed audience was electric!”