I remember, my wife Peggy going to Seattle decades ago and seeing “Cabaret” at the Fifth Avenue with a friend and returning with a excited glow as she described the story as well as the music and acting.
The message of the 1966 musical keeps changing and remains relevant, interesting, and entertaining.
In local productions, there is quite often the attraction of a familiar face in the cast and a few new ones. As we sat down in our Tacoma Musical Playhouse seats the first thing that Peggy sighted was the name “Josh Wingerter” in the role of the Emcee. We had videotaped, probably his sister singing our national anthem at a sports arena. I also knew his father from the Tacoma Executives. We’ve seen Josh in a number of different productions. He was outstanding as the emcee for this show.
John Kelleher as Director and Music Director has provided the seedy Kit Kat Club’s singers and dancers a home to whistle in the dark as WWII waits in the wings, ready to destroy Europe and murder millions of Jews, Germans and other nations’ citizens. But don’t worry, the Kit Kat Club is still alive and licentious with Josh Wingerter as the emcee in the center of it.
“People re-watch the musical Cabaret for various reasons. One reason is that it is a classic musical that has stood the test of time. It has been revived multiple times, and each revival brings a fresh perspective to the story and characters. Another reason is that the musical explores themes that are still relevant today, such as the consequences of repeating historical mistakes.”
My cousin Lavinia joined Peggy and me to see Cabaret in Seattle about a year and a half ago and we were blown away with the direction of the musical. At the end the characters in the production were stired to action to fight the evil.
The weak character Cliff is played by Charlie Stevens. Stevens is a stage performer and teaching artist. You keep hoping Cliff with amount to something. I would have loved seeing Charlie as Eugene in “Broadway Bound.”
For me, everything turns on the character Sally Bowles, played by Whitney Shafer. You might expect American writer Cliff Stevens and the English Sally Bowles to fall in love, but no, in Cabaret they simply fall in bed. Whitney has appeared in a number of TMP productions and her take on Sally Bowles was dead on. You want the character to have hope . . . and become a better person . . . and just be treated nicely, but in Cabaret there isn’t much optimism. The character Sally Bowles singing “Maybe This Time” which made Liza Minnelli a star from Bob Fosse’s Oscar Winning movie-musical’Cabaret.’ I love this rendition from Glee with a promise . . . – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbWhogiKHsE – Whitney Shafer gave us the spark and we can only wish the best for Sally.
The orchestra did a great job projecting the mood and the movement of the production. I especilly loved the Tenor Saxophone of Alex Worland, the drums of Iris McBride, and the banjo plucking of Tim Nordstrom.
Set Designer and Master Stage Carpenter Dennis Kurtz did a excellent job. What a great idea it was to have the band right smack in the middle of the stage. Also the catwalks on both sides of the stage let us see other cast members looking down on the performers as the audience sat and looked up.
Wig Master Ceili Caruso gave us just the right touch for the characters and the era.
Carrie Sleeper-Bowers (right) as Fraulein Schneider and Joseph Woodland as Herr Schultz (center) did a touching performance of love found and lost amid racial hatred.
“Cabaret” plays through October 8th.
Get your tickets reserved here: https://tmp.org/