Between the Great War and the War of the Greatest Generation the twenties roared and the thirties whimpered. But Berlin in the early thirties was a carefree time of love, laughter, fun. Raise your glasses to the politicians for times will be better in Germany regardless of the Great Depression. Just don’t look too closely at the undercurrents of the times and the waves of hatred and despair to come.
So they went to the Cabaret, sang, danced and flirted with giggling toasts of camaraderie forever with the Third Reich. The cabaret is a little smoky (everyone puffed madly in those days) but thanks to modern technology and due to modern sensitivities the smoke is merely water vapor from a fog machine. There are one or two brief occasions calling for a cigarette, and herbal cigarettes certainly fit the bill without creating a problem. In one short dance number the femme fatales carry cigars, and that has no noticeable impact on any audience members. Forewarned is forearmed so no one should be bothered.
“Cabaret” is a wonderful show, more than a musical the show is a great commentary on human frailties. Cliff Bradshaw is an American writer, seeking inspiration in magical Berlin during the early 1930’s, unfortunately without funds. He is befriended by a competent German, who offers him employment and introduces him to delightfully rousing nightlife. At the ‘Kit Kat Club’ he meets the incomparable Sally Bowles, English expatriate, and several other beautiful but outwardly shallow women with unknown depths. He is sheltered at a boarding house where the landlady has a heart of gold, and a suitor with delicious pastries. All is perfect, so, of course, he develops writers block.
To tell this story the Emcee at the Cabaret is Kaleb Bruza. Bruza’s performance is smashing, comic and a little poignancy hints about the edges of his eyeliner. Our hapless writer, Cliff Bradshaw is performed with subtlety and precision by Haulston Mann. Ernst Ludwig, German friend and ‘connection’ is chillingly played by Sam Bearer. The lovely strumpets nearly steal the show; however, Sally Bowles star ascends blindingly thanks to Rachael L. Barry. Jennifer Teel is great as Fraulein Kost as well as Fritzie. Tenderly, Elin Baird as Fraulein Schneider and Terry Veal as Herr Schultz are magnificent and achingly reminiscent of many stories heard from others who were there. The choices these characters must make are heartbreaking, and some of them simply cannot face the future. Scotty Taylor as Bobby and Sheridan McMichael as Victor add much to the production as does Rendon Chambers as the Boy.
In addition to Barry as Sally Bowles and Teel as Fraulein Kost the delightfully risqué dancing girls are Teel as Fritzie, Sarah Henry as Rosie, Jessica A. Schinske as Lulu, Jillian Paige as Frenchie, Elizabeth Dragoo as Texas, and Kylie Groom as Helga.
“Cabaret” is definitely a masterpiece for Director and Choreographer Matthew Sipress. He brought together a wonderful cast and brought out the very best in each of the performers as actors and dancers. Musical Director Brian Osborne created great emotion with each song with the help of the Kit Kat Band, including Osborne, Brendan Bradford, Darren Heath and Sheridan McMichael.
“Cabaret” will be playing at Reduxion Theatre through November, 16, 2013. Curtain is at 8:00pm with Sunday Matinees at 2:00pm. Reduxion Theatre is located on Broadway at 1613 North Broadway Avenue in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. For reservation information contact www.reduxiontheatre.com or call 405-651-3191.