For our second interview with the cast of Cabaret, let's hear from my pal Sarah Diamond Burroway:
Q: Tell us about the musical Cabaret.
Sarah: “There was a cabaret and an emcee. And there was a city called Berlin in a country called Germany. It was the end of the world… and I was dancing with Sally Bowles and we were both fast asleep…”
That quote by character Clifford Bradshaw speaks volumes to what the story is all about. It’s about life on the brink of change, about exploration, about keeping your eyes shut to harsh realities, about love. It’s about a moment in time when the rules were different.
There are three love stories in Cabaret. An elderly German landlady and her Jewish suitor. Sally, the cabaret singer / party girl and Cliff, the aspiring writer from America who has his sites set on real love, not the steamy, dark love of the Kit Kat Klub. And, there’s the Emcee, with his love of the audience and of telling stories through songs that make you think and feel and want to suspend reality, if only for a moment.
Q: Tell us about the character you play.
Sarah: I play Frau Kruger, a neighborhood lady. She’s a minor character who’s a bit judgmental, as she takes in all the goings-on at the Klub and later, at Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz’s engagement party.
Q: What's your favorite part of the show?
Sarah: My favorite part of the show is watching the transformation of the cast into characters that are so very different from whom they really are. Sure, that’s what acting is all about. But, in this case, there are some pretty drastic changes. The actors who play the Kit Kat Girls, for example, are all highly intelligent, very proper, sweet ladies - all dear friends. The Kit Kat Girls, on the other hand, are provocative, campy show girls who use their sexuality to distract patrons from the worries of the day. It’s all done with a PG-13 rating, but still, knowing these women, it’s very out of character. The Kit Kat Girls are quite endearing!
I’ve been especially impressed with Michael Naglee’s portrayal of the androgynous Master of Ceremonies. The Emcee is one of the most memorable characters in the play and the movie, with which most people are familiar. Michael has done a terrific job of making the role his own, adding his own spice and flavor to it. He is always a joy to watch in performance. I especially love “If You Could See Her,” which features Michael on vocals, paired in a dance with Tristan Reynolds. You will love it! Space doesn’t allow me to list each cast member by name, but I would be remiss if I didn’t say how much I enjoy Clay McKnight as Cliff. Vocally, he is a delight and he brings so much light, determination and innocence to the role of Clifford Bradshaw.
Q: Why did you want to be part of this show?
Sarah: Cabaret is the first show of the ARTS 2013 season and the first undertaking with members of the ARTS Resident Acting Company on cast. While many of the actors and production crew have worked together, for me, it is important to commemorate this show as the place “where it all began” for the new culture being created at ARTS.
Everyone brings so much talent and desire for growth to the table. As Resident Company Manager, that is very exciting to me. This show sets the tone and the pace for the company’s inaugural year. I can’t wait until March for Julius Caesar. Heck, I can’t wait for the entire year!
For me, community theatre is all about collaboration - everyone coming together to tell the story. I don’t think director / associate choreographer Gene Anthony could have picked a better cast and crew to tell the story of Cabaret. Working with Gene, as well as Coni Anthony (associate director / choreographer), Tawny Tilley (music director), Bil Neal (vocal director), and Stevie Brigode (production stage manager) has been one big learning experience.
Q: Why would you recommend this show to our readers?
Sarah: ARTS production of Cabaret is entertaining and fun. It’s thought-provoking. The show is set as environmental theatre with three main performance areas constructed in the ballroom. It will provide a theatre experience most audience members have never had. It’s not theatre-in-the-round. It’s theatre that places you in the Kit Kat Klub; at the engagement party; at the boarding house. I think people will enjoy it very much because it is something different for the Tri-State Area.
Q: Tell us the dates, times and place for the show.
Sarah: Cabaret opens this Friday night at 8 p.m. Show dates are February 1-2 and February 8-9. “Wir Sagen, Wilkkomen – Bien Venue – Welcome!”