Decadent nightlife meets dangerous times at Berlin’s alluring Kit Kat Klub in the iconic Broadway musical “Cabaret” as Wagner College Theatre wraps its 2021-22 season for nine performances from April 28 through May 8 in the Main Hall auditorium.
Set on the eve of Hitler’s rise to power, “Cabaret” is based on the play, “I Am a Camera,” by John Van Druten and “The Berlin Stories” by Christopher Isherwood. “Cabaret” features music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb and book by Joe Masteroff.
“Cabaret” is directed and choreographed by Andrew Glant-Linden (WCT’s “She Loves Me”), with music direction by Logan Medland (WCT’s “She Loves Me”).
“Cabaret” tells the story of Clifford Bradshaw, a young American writer newly arrived in Berlin, who falls in love with cabaret singer Sally Bowles. Their romance sizzles amid the backroom culture of the cabaret and the tumultuous atmosphere of pre-Nazi Germany. “Cabaret” is a raw and powerful musical that explores the dark life of Berlin’s natives and expatriates as Germany slowly yields to the emerging Third Reich.
One of Wagner College Theatre’s most-performed musicals, “Cabaret” has previously been presented in 1974, 1991 and 2003.
The show has had numerous Broadway and London revivals and is the winner of multiple Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Original Score for John Kander (music) and Fred Ebb’s (lyrics) compelling musical numbers, which include “Willkommen,” “The Money Song,” “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” and “Cabaret.”
Wagner College’s production features Liam Blanchard as the Emcee, Hannah Davis as Sally Bowles, Ian Dembek as Clifford Bradshaw, Cat Sapovitz as Fraulein Schneider, Seth Jolles as Herr Schultz, Liam Ellis as Ernst Ludwig, Kirby Sclafani as Fraulein Kost, and Grace Beaudet, Emma Casertano, Jack Dunham, Elise Killian, Kyle Kimmel, Gracie Klebine, Valenzio Lazarczyk, Maddie LeFerr, Drew McClelland, Justin Patterson, Joshua Piper, Mackenzie Quinn Ross, Deidre Thompson, Mikayla Thrasher, Hayden Verbanas and Griffin Webb.
“Cabaret” is designed by Phill Hickox (sets), Vicki Neal (lighting), Richard Kroth (sound), Brendan McCann (costumes). Beverly Brennan is associate director and Sarah Youman is assistant director. Kimberly Sanchez Garrido is production stage manager. Brian Sharron is technical director.
“The musical 'Cabaret' has had many different interpretations throughout its 56-year existence,” said director Andrew Glant-Linden. “Basically, there are three different versions of the show: the original in 1966, the 1987 first revival and the 1998 Donmar Warehouse/Roundabout Theatre revival. All three are the exact same plot and, for the most part, the exact same script and score. Their differences lie mostly in the overall tone of the show and how the main character of Cliff is depicted.
“The original 1966 version and the most recent 1998 version are at two extremes of the spectrum as far as tone and execution. The 1966 version was rather tame, but still packed a wallop of a punch; the 1998 version is definitely wilder and more liberated.
“I have chosen the 1987 version because it falls somewhere in the middle of these two extremes without sacrificing any of the shock value or emotional punch,” Glant-Linden said. “In fact, it more accurately reflects the seduction that the German people were experiencing as Hitler and the Nazi party rose to power. The 1987 version also allows for the main character of Cliff to deal with his own sexual orientation, something the 1966 original felt would not be accepted by audiences at that time.
“Wagner’s production will be unique in that the set will not be a realistic representation of the physical environment of the German people. Rather, it will be a single-unit structure that will represent the various locales of the show. This will allow both the incredibly powerful material and the characters to be the prominent driving force of the events of the show.”
Producer/director Harold Prince scored a triumph with his staging of “Cabaret” when it opened in November 1966 at Broadway’s Broadhurst Theatre. Winner of eight 1967 Tony Awards, “Cabaret” ran for 1,165 performances. Joel Grey was catapulted to fame with his performance as the Emcee, winning the Tony and Oscar for his legendary role, which he repeated on the screen in the Academy Award-winning film opposite Liza Minnelli in 1972. The Roundabout Theatre Company revived “Cabaret” to critical acclaim in 1998 with Natasha Richardson and made a star of Alan Cumming. Cumming revived his performance, again for the Roundabout, in 2014. A current London production starring Academy Award-winner Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley recently garnered seven Olivier Awards including Best Musical Revival.
In addition to “Cabaret,” lyricist Fred Ebb and composer John Kander have created the musicals “Chicago,” “The Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “The Happy Time,” “Curtains,” “Woman of the Year,” “70, Girls, 70,” “Flora the Red Menace,” “Zorba,” “The Rink” and “The Act.”
“Cabaret” runs April 28-30 and May 5-8. Performances are scheduled each evening at 8 p.m. on Thursdays through Saturdays, with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday, April 30, Saturday, May 7 and Sunday, May 8.
Tickets are $30 (adults) and $27 (seniors) and must be ordered and purchased in advance along with proof of vaccination sent by calling 718-390-3259 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. All patrons must be vaccinated and boosted and wear masks upon entering Main Hall.