Welcome to the beginning of October — the air is colder, classes have begun, the moon is brighter and the nights are longer. The spooky season is upon us, and the ghosts and ghouls are coming out to play. If you listen closely, you may hear the voices of the undead, or perhaps they are the voices of the students of Shrunken Heads!
Whether you are seeking refuge from the frights or want to relish in their delights, the student-run musical theater group, Shrunken Heads, is preparing to show the student body of the UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) a thrilling time during their Fall Quarter Showcase.
“The show is called ‘Chills and Thrills Cabaret,’” said fourth-year Grace Gillespie in an interview with The Bottom Line. Gillespie is the secretary of Shrunken Heads and a musical theater enthusiast. “It will be songs and scenes from the spookiest, horror-filled musicals performed on Broadway.”
Shrunken Heads is a student-run, student-led musical theater club on campus, the only one of its kind at UCSB. Gillespie has been a part of the organization since her second year at UCSB when she performed in the club’s rendition of “High School Musical.”
“Musical theater has always been a passion of mine throughout high school, throughout my life,” said Gillespie. “I found this club and was so excited to be a part of it.” Now, two years later, she is ensuring that everything is running smoothly behind the scenes as secretary.
Like Gillespie’s position as secretary, all roles and positions in Shrunken Heads are held by students. “Everything we do and perform is all run by students, whether it is directing, choreography, acting, or casting,” said Gillespie. From behind the scenes to the front of the stage, students do it all.
This fall quarter, Shrunken Heads is excited for the audience’s screams of support. Their show “Chills and Thrills Cabaret” will showcase numbers from shows such as “Heathers,” “Sweeny Todd,” “Into The Woods,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Hadestown,” “Carrie,” and more. The lineup is perfect for the upcoming spooky season.
Whether or not you love to be scared, Shrunken Heads offers a variety of roles in their quarterly musicals for students who want to join. Previous shows have included “High School Musical,” and “Sugar, Butter, Broadway,” a musical review featuring Sarah Bareilles’ greatest hits. According to Gillespie, “If you are someone who dearly misses musical theater, whether you sing, dance, act, all of the above, or only one of them, Shrunken Heads is a cool new team to be a part of. You get to put on shows for your entire campus and community, which is really unique.”
Though Shrunken Heads’ new show is meant to be frightening, being a part of the organization doesn’t have to be. Being a student-run organization means there are even more ways to participate without being on stage. “[Students] can come to our mixers or work behind the scenes,” explained Gillespie. “You don’t have to be on the stage. If you miss musical theater, this is just a chance to be around it again.”
It’s not just the screams of support from the audience Shrunken Heads is interested in, but also for students to showcase their chilling talents at the upcoming auditions. On Oct. 13th and 14th, these auditions will be open to the student community of Isla Vista, whether they attend UCSB or Santa Barbara City College (SBCC). “[Shrunken Heads] has noticed that SBCC doesn’t have musical theater, either,” said Gillespie, “so we wanted to make it a community that anyone could audition for.”
Along with these auditions, the Shrunken Heads Fall Welcome Mixer is on Oct. 4th in the Theater Dance West building, room 2600. With more information to come about upcoming events and what to expect at auditions, be sure to follow their Instagram, @shpcucsb!
If you are a fan of frights or miss musical theater, the passionate and like-minded people in Shrunken Heads are more than ready to welcome you!