Zootown Cabaret

The Ensemble for Musical Theatre

Purpose and mission:

Zootown Cabaret is UM’s performing ensemble for musical theatre; a select group of highly talented singer/actors who perform songs and scenes from musical theatre and popular music. The group combines singing, acting, (and sometimes dance) accompanied by a small instrumental combo, performing “review” style shows in intimate venues on and off campus. Zootown Cabaret performers get to the very essence of the songs, exploring their emotional depth, be it comedy, tragedy, social commentary, or any of the broad range of themes in musical theatre. We strive to entertain our audiences and give them powerful, emotional performances that knock them off their feet. This ensemble gives students the opportunity to hone their performing skills and broaden their range through the multitude of styles available in musical theatre and popular song.

Audition information:

Zootown Cabaret is open to all students at The University of Montana, selected through audition. An ensemble is selected for the academic year, but students may audition at the semester break if any spots become available. The size of the group varies slightly from year to year, but is usually around 10 -16 members. The group performs one large review each semester, plus a few smaller performances based on venue availability and schedule.

Auditions for Fall Semester 2020 will be done via video submission. Prepare a 16 or 32-bar cut of a song in a pop style. You’ll need to find an accompaniment or karaoke track to sing along to. Send an email message to David Cody (david.cody@umontana.edu) and you will be sent instructions on how to submit your video.


Dr. David Cody, Coordinator of Musical Theatre in the School of Music, founded the Cabaret in 2010. In it’s first year, the School of Music and the Montana Repertory Theatre, directed by Greg Johnson, produced the Cabaret shows jointly. Our performances have been held at Zootown Brew, a café in downtown Missoula that has a small stage and performance space (and we added “Zootown” to our name). In 2013, the Cabaret moved to the Missoula Winery and Event Center. Other directors of the Cabaret have included Andy Meyers, Kim Steiner, Lizzie Webb, and James Rio.

“Two Strangers” by Kerrigan and Lowdermilk. Aaron Clark, John Knispel & Jacob Sefcak performing

Upcoming Performances:


Photo of Hannah Bondurant singing into a microphone

Upcoming Performances:




Is Zootown Cabaret a choir or "swing choir"?

No. Although Zootown Cabaret performs songs from both Broadway and Pop music, we do not perform in the style of a traditional choral group, show choir or glee club. Our shows feature songs that are performed as solos, duets, and ensembles, but mostly solos. Our venues are cabarets, nightclubs and cafes, rather than auditoriums and concert halls, where we enjoy more closeness with the audience.

Do I have to be a music or theatre major to be in Zootown Cabaret?

No. Zootown Cabaret is open to all students at The University of Montana. It is a required course for students in the BFA Musical Theatre Performance degree, however, so available spots are limited.

If I play an instrument rather than sing, can I be in Zootown Cabaret?

Yes. We usually perform with piano, drums, guitars, and occasionally wind instruments. If you're interested, contact David Cody (david.cody@umontana.edu).