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Highlands High School brings back alumni for cabaret show benefiting spring musical | TribLIVE.com
Valley News Dispatch

Highlands High School brings back alumni for cabaret show benefiting spring musical

Joyce Hanz
| Monday, January 21, 2019 12:15 a.m

HHS cabaret concert

Highlands High School’s musical program puts the “fun” in fundraising.

Each year, dozens of Highlands High School alumni team up with current Highlands musical students to perform a cabaret show that provides critical funds for the spring musical.

“The average high school musical costs anywhere from $20,000-$30,000 — those are some big numbers — so we do our job to fund raise as much as possible,” said Michael Zeiler, musical director, choreographer and Highlands alumnus.

All proceeds support the 2019 Highlands High musical production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

This is the district’s 32nd spring musical .

Highlands’ spring musical participation has swelled, with the program doubling in size since Zeiler took over the program as director nine years ago.

“I come back every year because this is home — this is our community,” said Joshua Nulph, 2008 grad and longtime cabaret performer.

Nulph and his brother will perform a ukulele-accompanied duet, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.”

“This year’s theme is ‘A Topsy Turvy Day,’ which is a nod to a rousing musical scene from ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame,’” Zeiler said.

“Our cabaret is our No. 1 fundraiser, and each year we set a goal of raising at least $1,500,” Zeiler said.

Last year’s cabaret raised almost $2,000.

More than 20 alumni will entertain with performances and songs from contemporary and classic musicals such as “The Greatest Showman,” The Wizard of Oz,” “Aladdin,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Wicked,” and “Phantom of the Opera.”

The audience will be treated to a sneak peak performance by the 65-member cast of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” which is a new musical based on the Victor Hugo novel and songs from the Disney film, Zeiler said.

In addition to the musical’s cast, also performing alongside the alumni will be the Honors Choir and the Variations Show Choir.

The cabaret show will run about two hours, with an intermission, and deluxe Chinese auction baskets.

Refreshments will be available and after the show there will be a meet-and-greet with the entire cast.

“I absolutely love coming back to perform at alumni night and having the opportunity to work with the students and see all of their hard work and dedication come to life,” said Highlands grad Marilyn Skwortz.

“This event really brings back the magic for Highlands alumni,” said current Highlands musical student James Vance. “They talk about what they miss from being in high school, and we have learned to not things for granted while being in high school performing.”

The family-friendly cabaret show is open to the public and is not a “district-only event,” Zeiler said.

“Building positive community/district relationships are a key to our success,” Zeiler said. “Music is one of the greatest showplaces to do that.”


Joyce Hanz is a freelance writer.


Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.


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Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Highlands High School alumni and current musical students rehearse for the seventh annual Alumni Cabaret Concert, scheduled for Feb. 2 at the school in Harrison. The show serves as the primary fundraiser for the spring musical program.
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Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Highlands High School musical director, choreographer and alumnus Michael Zeiler enthusiasticlly leads alumni and current musical students during rehearsals for the annual Alumni Cabaret Concert scheduled for Feb. 2 at the high school. Rehearsal accompanist and vocal co-director Alex Slaughter looks on.
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Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Meghann Stimmler, a 2008 Highlands High School alumnus, rehearses “Always Be My Baby” for the upcoming Alumni Cabaret Concert with guitar accompanist Adam Campbell at Highlands High School.
641451_web1_vnd-HighlandsCabaret-012119
Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
More than 20 Highlands alumni rehearse the grand finale song, “Go The Distance” from Walt Disney Pictures’ “Hercules” with current musical students at the high school on Jan. 19, 2019.
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