Catching up with Jason Cabral: Alumni Blog 2011/12 #4

Hello everyone! Ola! Merhaba!

What do I say? Is this thing on? Well, for starters I can’t believe it’s been almost a year already. Last year at this time I think I was knee-deep in the graduating showcase project and just beginning to bare all in the Full Monty rehearsals. Now, here I am writing you from my little bus overseas in Turkey. So much has happened in just one year.

Well, am I supposed to tell you what I did during my time at the Hilberry so you can remember who I am? Or will you just know? If so, the memorable ones were Fantasticks (Matt), The Seagull (Konstantin), Servant of Two Masters (Arlecchino), Good (Hitler), and well, a little bit more of me in The Full Monty (Jerry).

So, where should I begin? After closing the Full Monty and finishing up my degree, I immediately started working in Providence, Rhode Island at the Trinity Repertory Theatre. I worked on putting up a new show called The Family. It was a musical about the mob with great potential to go somewhere. At that point, the show was in its very early stages and with some reworking and possibly another workshop it could take off. I mean when was the last time you saw a musical about the mafia? Great idea, right? This experience was exciting because we were creating the roles for the first time ourselves. No previous actors interpretation or shoes to fill. It was an incredibly opportunity and a great learning experience to see how something is truly built up from the very beginning.

Jason Cabral (left) in "She Love Me"

After that show closed, I then headed down to Charlottesville, Virginia to play the role of Georg in She Loves Me with the Heritage Theatre Festival. I think this project was by far my favorite since I’ve graduated. The level of professionalism with the cast and crew coupled with the incredible production values were like none I’ve seen before. If the artistic director and director of the show, Bob Chapel, would have me back in the future, I would take that contract without question. It was a pleasure working with such a great company. Plus, the town of Charlottesville was gorgeous during the summer! How many times can you go to a free wine tasting at a vineyard before it’s too much? I may have exceeded that number. 

Following this project I headed back to Ann Arbor, where my partner Jeffrey Cotnoir (graduate of the theater management program at the Hilberry) is living while he works for the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre, & Dance. For the few weeks I was back in the area, you could find me sampling products at the U of M football games. Just a little job I got from one of the agencies in the area. Easy job. Great cash. Go Blue!

Jason (center) in "Spring Awakening"

Soon after, I scored a job playing a role that I thought I would never have the opportunity at performing, which was the young rebellious Melchior Gabor in the musical Spring Awakening. The theater was in the Mt. Washington Valley of New Hampshire, so I packed my bags and I was on my way. This experience was one hell of a roller coaster ride for me, but a great learning lesson because of it. The Hilberry has trained us very well in all facets of the theater, and when you see others not producing the results that you expect, it’s very hard not to use those learned tools to help them to better the production. Some people don’t take it well. With that, I learned a lot about control, and how sometimes it is completely out of your hands and to just do what you are contracted to do. That was good for me to learn early on in my career. Other than that, the ensemble pulled together and created a beautiful show. Looking back, this is the contract since I’ve graduated that I’ve been touched by the people I worked with the most. Truly an inspirational group of actors.

Next, a break. Spent a couple of weeks in the Ann Arbor/Detroit area, and then a couple back home in Massachusetts and New York City for the holidays. Got engaged. (Fun fact: Jeff and I have been together for six and a half years, and were lucky enough to get into the Hilberry together. We did not meet while in grad school, but during our undergraduate years.) 

Jason at "The Great Theater" in Ephesus

Just a few days before Christmas I was offered the incredible experience that I am currently on. I started in mid-January and have been touring the world, with a musical production of Cyrano de Bergerac playing the role of Christian de Neuvillette. We started the tour in Mexico City and traveled all over the country to cities like Puebla, Acapulco, and Monterrey. Oh, the cultural differences and the language barriers are sometimes frustrating but incredibly exciting. I mean, I am traveling the world with a group of seven on someone else’s dime. I can’t complain. I shouldn’t complain. Well, at least not on here. After about a month in Mexico, we headed to Turkey which is where I am now until the end of the month. Traveling to cities like Istanbul, Çanakkale, Izmir, Bursa, Ankara, and others. Following this we will be heading to Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE, then to Katara and Muskat in Oman, then back to South America to tour Costa Rica, Columbia, and more. My contract will take me up until mid-June and I really don’t know what is the next step after that. For now, I am just enjoying my life and luck on this amazing tour and really taking this time to plan my goals for the future. New York will happen soon enough, but first I need to ride a camel in the Emirates. 

Well, I may have chatted a lot more than my classmates did, but I hope it worked for all you Hilberry Blog readers. And speaking of my classmates, I am so happy that everyone is doing great. Erman teaching and performing in Germany, Peter showing the Detroit area how bad-ass he is, Jordan scoring both Meadowbrook and the Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Alan getting two awesome roles at Michigan Shakespeare, and Samantha already taking New York by storm. I love and miss each one of them and cannot wait until we have a reunion in the future. Oh, the stories we’ll have to share about our times at the Hilberry. (If you readers knew everything…)

Well, if you want to know more about what’s happening with me look at (which needs some updating), and if you’re interested in reading about my experiences on this tour, you can check out the blog I’ve been writing. The address is I should warn you that I am pretty open and honest in my blog, because it was originally intended for my parents and Jeff so, “truth has the habit of falling out of my mouth.” And, with that, if you’re interested in hearing more about the other contracts, because there is always more, buy me a drink when I am back in the area and I will be glad to tell you anything and everything! 

Oh, how I miss that Hilberry stage. I will say that I am incredibly grateful for the success I’ve had since I’ve graduated, but I really owe most of it to my time at Wayne and how much I grew and learned while there. 

Lastly, I have to thank you, the Hilberry blog readers and supporters of the theater for your continued interest in the students and their work. We grew because of your support. With that, do me a favor, and make an effort to tell more people about this great theater in midtown Detroit, because without the audience, we can’t exist or learn. 

All the best! Güle Güle! (That’s “Goodbye” in Turkish)

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