“Cabaret: The Musical,” John Kander and Fred Ebb’s Tony Award-winning production, comes to the O’Shaughnessy Center in Whitefish, June 2-4 and 8-11. This timeless and legendary landmark opens with a sneak preview night on June 1 at 7:30 p.m. Performances continue at 7:30 p.m. Fridays-Sundays, June 2-11.
The production takes audiences deep into the seedy nightlife of the Kit Kat Klub on the eve of Hitler’s rise to power in Weimar, Germany. Based on Christopher Isherwood’s “Berlin Stories,” “Cabaret” follows the interlocking stories of Sally Bowles, a beguiling, self-destructive cabaret singer, Cliff Bradshaw, a young American journalist, and the citizens of Berlin as they are caught up in the swirling maelstrom of a changing society.
Led by the enigmatic and dazzling Emcee, “Cabaret” is an intoxicating theatrical experience, featuring well-known classics of the musical stage such as “Money,” “Tomorrow Belongs To Me,” “Willkommen,” “Maybe This Time” and, of course, “Cabaret.” Filled with powerful music and dance, the Associated Press describes the show as “a marvel of staging that hasn’t lost its punch.”
“Berlin in the early 1930s was a place of decadence, extravagance, and sexual freedom,” says director Rebecca Schaffer. “’Cabaret’ encompasses the most seductive parts of this scene with the Kit Kat Klub itself becoming a metaphor for Weimar as the world falls down around the revelry. It is a spectacular and wildly entertaining production, while also being one of the most important pieces of theatre ever written.”
The plot melds “breathtaking” song and dance numbers, with an underlining storyline that offers a “a devastating critique of apathy in the face of injustice and atrocity.” Prophetically, Sally Bowles scoffs in the play, “Politics? But what has that got to do with us?” as the Nazi Party rises around her.
“To direct ‘Cabaret’ has been one of the greatest privileges of my career to date because it reminds us about the darkness that has pervaded our past, about the darkness that still remains in our present, and about the carelessness and danger of looking away,” says Schaffer.
“Cabaret: The Musical” premiered on Broadway in 1966 and won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, in addition to the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award, the Outer Critics’ Circle Award, the Variety Poll of New York Critics, and London’s Evening Standard Award. The show was then adapted into the famous, Oscar award-winning musical film version in 1972, directed by Bob Fosse and starring Liza Minnelli, Michael York, and Joel Grey.
“Cabaret: The Musical” returned to Broadway in 1998 starring Alan Cumming and Natasha Richardson, winning four Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Musical, and returned again in 2014 with Cumming reprising his Tony-winning role as the Emcee and featuring Michelle Williams, Emma Stone and Sienna Miller in the role of Sally Bowles.
This production features 28 local actors and musicians from around the Flathead Valley, including Kendra Timm as Sally Bowles, David Blair as Clifford Bradshaw, Erin Grayce as Fraulein Schneider, Becky Rygg as Fraulein Fritzie Kost, Dave Von Kleist as Herr Schultz, and Mikey Winn as the Emcee.
Tickets are $25 for reserved table or mezzanine seating with food and wine available for purchase. Tickets for the sneak preview performance on June 1 are $10 (sold only at the door). Tickets may be purchased at the box office, 1 Central Ave., Whitefish (open 10 a.m.to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour before performance time), by calling 406-862-5371 or online at www.whitefishtheatreco.org.