BWW Reviews: CABARET Dances into Cincinnati
Cabaret is one of the most commonly known musicals in the world which means audiences are going to come in with expectations. Now, what does that mean for a new production of it? It means the crew and cast want to try new things to make it feel fresh. That is exactly what Playhouse in the Park's production did, they tried new things and some things worked and others did not.
Let's Start with the good, Mary GorDon Murray and Michael Marotta were great as Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz.. Murray was the best in the whole cast; she sang and acted great and brought new elements to the character that I had never seen before. Her emotional journey was fantastic and the rest of the cast could have used some of her charisma. The supporting cast was awesome. They were funny, sang well, and played their numerous characters perfectly. Hunter Ryan Herdlicka as Cliff was good. Cliff may be the dullest of the cast normally but Herdlicka held his own and when it was his time to shine, he did. The house band was excellent and all dressed for the time of the musical and the choreography was pretty good, at some points maybe a little elementary but overall good.
Now, for the not so good. Nathan Lee Graham as the Emcee was pretty good. He acted the part perfectly and his facial expressions were great but his body was very stiff. Also, he can obviously sing but he sang almost the entire show in such a bizarre way that it seemed like he couldn't sing. He sang in the same crazy way he spoke and it just didn't work. Liz Pearce as Sally Bowles was good as well but there weren't enough levels in her emotions, meaning she was always up, so there was no shock when she left Cliff. The audience wasn't emotionally invested in her character the way they should have been. She did sing well, "Maybe This Time" being her best showing but for some reason this production made Cliff sing at the end of the song; that surprise took me out of the moment and ruined the meaning of the song.
Ultimately, there were a lot of decisions in this production that just didn't work. It was a good production and Cabaret is a classic so it will always resonate well but it definitely could have and should have been better. Definitely head on over to The Playhouse to check this production out but be prepared for some interesting choices.
Photo Credit: Sandy Underwood