Meet Ruby Carlson, Who is Performing in Cabaret

Meet Ruby Carlson, who is busy as both a senior in high school and as a Kit Kat girl in Cabaret! LA: Where are you originally from? RC: I was born in Minneapolis, but I’ve lived in Coon Rapids since I was 2.

LA: Why did this particular play interest you? RC: Cabaret is such an iconic show and I was especially interested in it since it was so different from other shows done at Lyric Arts in the past.

LA: For those that are unfamiliar with Cabaret can you tell us about the show? RC: Cabaret takes place in the Kit Kat Klub in Berlin during the rise of the Nazi party starting at New Year’s Eve 1929-1930.  It follows Cliff Bradshaw, an American novelist, Sally Bowles, a British performer, and the people who live around and work in the Klub.  Throughout the progression of the show, you see the characters’ lives get destroyed by the Nazi influence.  It is a very powerful show!

LA: Talk about the character(s) that you play in Cabaret. How have you developed this character? RC: I play Lulu, who is a dancer at the Kit Kat Klub.  Very little is said about her in any version of the show, so I get to basically create my own Lulu, which has been quite interesting.  I’ve developed my character based on ideas that Matt McNabb (our director) gave us, then talking with the other Kit Kat Klub dancers and shooting ideas off each other.

LA: Talk about your fellow cast. How do you see their characters developing? Any that you are particularly amazed at? RC: This cast is absolutely amazing.  Everyone is so incredibly talented and fun to work with.  With every rehearsal, the characters become more and more developed and pop onstage.  All of the principal characters have developed their characters very thoroughly, and they are all fantastic.

LA: What are some of the most impressive elements of Cabaret? RC: The show as a whole is so impressive! The set design is awesome, the choreography is fantastic, the music is “perfectly marvelous,” and the script is so gripping!  I’m super excited to add more of the technical elements in rehearsal and see how it develops from here.

LA: What is your favorite number of the show? RC: My favorite number that I am part of is “Money.” All the Kit Kat dancers get to get in touch with our inner puppet/zombie.  It’s one of our most challenging numbers, but it’s also a lot of fun.  My favorite number that I’m not part of is “I Don’t Care Much.” It’s a hauntingly beautiful song and Max (our Emcee) sings it so well!

LA: What is something you are particularly excited about for this show? For example, a certain scene, costumes, set, lights, etc? RC: I’m mostly excited just to add all the elements together!  The show has come so far already, and I know it will develop even further once we add everything else.

LA: Are musicals easy or harder to act than other types of theater? Why is this? RC: I think musicals are harder to act since they require so much background and clear motivation.  For performance songs in the Klub, the motivation is to perform.  However, when a song is coincidental, the actors involved need to know what in the scene moves them to break into song. 

LA: What is your favorite musical (in theater) to watch? RC: My favorite musical that I’ve seen was "Newsies" on Broadway.  The cast had so much energy and they were all such amazing dancers!  I also love Alan Menken’s music, and the score is wonderful!

LA: Do you have a favorite theatrical actor that you like to see on stage, either local or national? Why do you like to watch this person on stage? RC: I saw Patti LuPone in Gypsy in 2008 and in concert a couple years ago.  She has such amazing stage presence and a phenomenal voice.  Laura Benanti and Sutton Foster are also some of my favorite actresses because of their fabulous voices and amazing acting chops.

LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself? RC: I’m going into my senior year at Coon Rapids High School, where I will be a captain of the theatre department and I’m on the dance team.  I work at Bunker Beach in concessions as my summer job. 

LA: What was the first musical you ever saw on stage? RC: The first musical I saw onstage was Once Upon A Mattress when I was 2 or 3 years old.  My mom got seats on the aisle so she could take me out quickly if I got fidgety, but I sat through the entire thing without taking my eyes off of the actors.  It was a pretty good indicator of my future interests.