In response to the divisive election cycle, the students of NU Stage Musical Theater Co.—Northeastern’s student-run theater group—are focusing on bringing hope and unity to campus through song. This year’s winter cabaret—titled “Spread Love Not Hate” and to be held on Saturday at 8 p.m. in afterHOURS—is designed to be a balm after a heated political season.
“Our December cabaret usually has a holiday theme,” explained NU Stage president Madison McDaniel, DMSB’19, “but Sarah came to us with a powerful idea that felt appropriate for this day and age.”
This year’s theme is the brainchild of Sarah Childs, S’17, director of the cabaret and a double major in mathematics and philosophy. She was inspired by a desire to help after a bruising election cycle. “This election spurred a lot of division in the world,” she said. “I was inspired to spread love. We’re a community that accepts people for who they are, and we wanted to showcase that.”
Rather than holiday acts, the cabaret will feature three dozen student singers, songwriters, and musicians performing songs that speak to some form of love. These include “Change,” by Carrie Underwood; “Ring of Keys” from the musical Fun Home, and a duet version of “All I Ask,” by Adele, among other performances.
“It’s not all love between a guy and a girl; these are songs focusing on what love is and what it means to love someone,” Childs said.
Though the theme is a response to the political landscape, McDaniel and Childs emphasized that the group is apolitical, dedicated instead to spreading tolerance and goodwill through musical theater.
“We are more doing this as a response to all of the hate that we have seen everywhere because of the election and everything that is going on in the world,” McDaniel said. “Everyone is welcome because everyone needs love. As university students, we have a unique opportunity to bring change into the world and this is one way that we are going to bring this change—through our performance and through our community.”
The show is free, but members of NU Stage will be collecting donations, all of which will go to Planned Parenthood and The Trevor Project, a national 24-hour, toll free confidential suicide hotline for gay and questioning youth.
“This was a way we thought we could tangibly do something to help people most affected by the discourse lately,” Childs said. “It’s important now more than ever to show that our community can push hate away.”
McDaniel said NU Stage is uniquely poised to spread this message. “Music is one of the best ways to show hope,” she said. “Everyone can take something different from this experience here.”