The community-campus production includes doubling of roles and responsibilities and a fair share of ingenuity. In the end, it’s a fine production (4 stars out of 5), that owes a lot to the inspiration drawn from the great material.
Creative: Authors – John Kander (music), Fred Ebb (lyrics), Joe Masteroff (book), based on the play “I am a Camera” by John van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood; director/scenic and sound design – John Thornberry; music direction/choral – Leah LaMalfa and Brittany Welch; choreographer – Leah Olsen; costume design – Cassandra Ann; wardrobe supervision/stage management – Annalisa Mines; lighting design – Justin Berres and Lee Bunting; orchestra director – Susan Thornton; Theatre on the Bay artistic director – Rebecca Stone Thornberry.
Cast: Emcee – Anthony LaMalfa; Clifford Bradshaw – James Porras II; Sally Bowles – Leah LaMalfa; – Fräulein Schneider – Lisa Atkinson-LeBoeuf; Herr Schultz – Paul Okray; – Fräulein Kost, Fritzie – Lora Ann Payne-Csaki; Ernst Ludwig – Tristan Schuh; Border Control Officer, Max – Gary L. Scholtz Sr.; Bobby, Taxi Man, First Sailor, Nazi Guard – Nate Koenig; Victor, Second Sailor, Nazi Guard – Adam Schacht; Rosie – Erin Elizabeth W. Doll; Lulu – Molly Gerarden; Frenchie – Betsy Stuck; Texas – Lori Armbrust Patzke; Helga – Brittany Welch.
“Willkommen” – Emcee, Company
“So What?” – Fräulein Schneider
“Telephone Song” – Clifford, Company
“Don’t Tell Mama” – Sally, Rosie, LuLu, Frenchy,
“Telephone Dance” – Company
“Perfectly Marvelous” – Sally, Clifford
“Two Ladies” – Emcee, Rosie, Helga
“It Couldn’t Please Me More” – Fräulein Schneider, Herr Schultz
“Tomorrow Belongs to Me” – Kit Kat Klub Waiters, Emcee
“Don’t Go” – Clifford
“Sitting Pretty” – Emcee, Girls
“Money” – Emcee, Company
“Married” – Herr Schultz, Fräulein Schneider
“Tomorrow Belongs to Me” (Reprise) – Fräulein Kost, Ernst Ludwig, Company
Entr’acte / Kickline – Emcee, Girls
“Married” (Reprise) – Herr Schultz, Fräulein Schneider
“If You Could See Her (The Gorilla Song)” – Emcee, Gorilla
“What Would You Do?” – Fräulein Schneider
“I Don't Care Much” – Emcee
“Cabaret” – Sally
Finale Ultimo – Company
Director John Thornberry and the cast respond to fascinating happenings in three primary locations:
A cheesy nightclub, The Kit Kat Klub, whose decadence reflects
An apartment house where central character writer Clifford Bradshaw (James Porras II) resides, sometimes with Sally Bowles. Landlady Fräulein Schneider (Lisa Atkinson-LeBoeuf) looks the other way for some of the goings-on there.
The fruit shop of Herr Schultz (Paul Okray), a Jew who is about to have his idealism shattered by the rising tide of Nazism.
In the Kit Kat Klub, meanings go beyond double entendre – beyond an aura of whatever happens in
Clifford’s room is partly about sexuality, Clifford’s homosexuality at times being overrun by Sally Bowles dominating, wild force. It’s a place of searching.
The fruit shop is where key parts of the story come to a head. Fräulein Schneider and Herr Schultz have considered marriage, and in one fell swoop of a rock thrown through the Jewish merchant’s window, that comes to an end.
In a sense, “Cabaret” has three stories going on, all woven together. There’s a lot for the performers to work with, with the show creating a consciousness of knowing what happens in the future in the wake of manipulations of party loyalists such as Ernst Ludwig (Tristan Schuh).
Along with singing oomph, a lot of effort is put into accents by Leah LaMalfa (British), Lisa Atkinson-LeBoeuf (German) and Anthony LaMalfa (an amalgam that includes French).
Scenes change through the use of a few props and the projections, on a movable curtain, of backdrops of rooms and places. The smashing of Herr Schultz’s window is a clever effect.
Much attention is paid to costuming and to multiple dances (many of them with wink-wink tones).
Some scenes are adapted to need (what the cast is able to do) or resources (what the cast can do, such as Paul Okray, as Herr Schultz, playing accordion to enhance the singing of “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” by amoral Fräulein Kost (Lori Ann Payne-Csaki).
In the larger picture, “Cabaret” is getting a lot of attention at this time. A production is running on Broadway. Another production is running at the massive Shaw Festival in
SEASON AHEAD: “Dr. Doolittle Jr.” (children’s troupe), Oct. 11-19; J.B. Priestley’s “An Inspector Calls,” Nov. 14-23; “The Secret Garden” (children’s troupe), Feb. 13-15; Steven Dietz’ “Becky’s New Car,” April 10-19.
THE VENUE: The 362-seat
THE PEOPLE: Herbert L. Williams was professor of communication arts and artistic director of Theatre on the Bay. He retired after 30 years in May 1996 and continued to direct and perform in
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