First Look: Behind the Scenes of Richmond Triangle Players' Hotly Anticipated CABARET with Chris Hester as the Emcee
Richmond Triangle Players is bringing its triumphant 21st season to a close with the reinvented and licentious 1990s revival of Kander and Ebb's CABARET, which was staged for Broadway by Sam Mendes (American Beauty) and Rob Marshall (Chicago) and starred Alan Cumming as the Emcee.
For the Triangle Players' production, Chris Hester (RTP's [title of show], It's a Fabulous Life, The Busy World is Hushed) is dabbing on the rouge and lipstick and stepping into the debauched shoes of the Emcee of the renowned Kit Kat Klub.
"This is an amazing character and a 'dream role' of mine, so I am grateful beyond words to have been given this opportunity," Hester says. "The character is iconic and I have spent months researching those who have come before me. I want to pay homage to all of the wonderful actors who have played this role. So, the Emcee I hope to capture will be a mix of the welcoming, energetic Joel Grey interpretation from the original staging of the musical (and subsequent movie version), the seductive, darker elements that Alan Cumming brought to life in the revival (and the recent re-mounting), and a little bit of my own playful personality."
Hester has been preparing for the playful, mysterious and bawdy role for four months. Beyond research, he has spent months working with a coach to ensure he captures the German dialect, preparing for movement and flexibility, and focusing on a workout regimen to help with stamina and breathing. "It is a demanding role, but I am ready for the challenge and cannot wait to share this Emcee with audiences."
CABARET also stars Nicole Foret Oberleitner (La Cage aux Folles) as Sally Bowles, and Stevie Rice (The Pride, It's a Fabulous Life) as Cliff, the writer whose arrival in Berlin starts the events of the show in motion. Doug Schneider and Jeanie Rule are featured as Herr Schultz and Fraulein Schneider, a Jewish fruitseller in love with Sally's landlady, along with Evan Nasteff as Ernst Ludvig and Lanaya van Dreisen as Fraulein Kost. The rest of the cast is made up of Bethaney Bagley, Brianne Chin, Lesie Pumphrey, Dan Cimo, Andrew Etheredge and Mahlon Raoufi.
The production is directed and choreographed by Penny Ayn Maas, who spent five years in the Broadway company of the Mendes-Marshall revival. Musical Direction is by Kim Fox, with set design by Frank Foster, costume design by Holly Sullivan, and lighting design by Michael Jarett. Sharon Gregory is the stage manager.
"The cast is amazing and we are elated to have Penny at the helm of this production," says Phil Crosby, Managing Director of Richmond Triangle Players. "Given that she was part of Broadway revival cast, she brings a wealth of knowledge and a unique perspective that will help bring our CABARET to life."
The seedy Kit Kat Klub opens for business on Thursday, June 5. CABARET runs Thursday through Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. through July 5, with 4 p.m. matinees on June 15, 22, and 29.
Check out photos and teaser below and purchase tickets!
The Emcee deep in thought before the show at the renowned Kit Kat Klub; Photo by: David White
The Emcee offers a drink backstage at the Kit Kat Klub;Photo by John MacLellan
The Emcee takes a final look in the mirror before the show at the Kit Kat Klub; Photo by: David White
The Emcee about to take the stage at the Kit Kat Klub; Photo by: John MacLellan