BWW Interviews: David Light Talks Playing Cliff Bradshaw in CABARET, and Working With Friends at the Lower Ossington Theatre
Currently on stage at the Lower Ossington Theatre is an innovative production of the classic musical, CABARET. Directed by Jeremy Hutton, CABARET at the LOT follows the iconic story you know and love, but does so with its own creative twists.
The Kander and Ebb musical takes place in Berlin under the Weimar republic as the Nazi's gain power. Against this tense setting, the play follows the love affair of the English Cabaret dancer Sally Bowles, and American writer Cliff Bradshaw. The story forms as the club's Emcee guides us through the story of dance, song, love, loss and depicts a part of history we will never forget.
Playing the writers block ridden Cliff Bradshaw at the LOT is David Light, who you may have previously seen in Ross Petty's THE LITTLE MERMAID. Light took some time to talk to BWW about being back at the LOT, playing a revamped Cliff Bradshaw, and working with friends.
BWW: How did you learn about the role of Cliff and the LOT?
David Light: I did a show with the LOT four years ago, that was the last time I did [a show there]. I've known of the LOT for many years [so] when [I was told they were] doing CABARET, I [said] I had to audition because it's one of my favourite musicals.
BWW: What drew you to the character?
David Light: I was auditioning to play the Emcee. Cliff [normally] plays a wimp, [but] the director [Jeremy Hutton] wanted to masculinize him, [and] turn him into someone Sally could fall in love with. When he started to talk about that, I became more interested in the character.
BWW: You just wrapped up with THE LITTLE MERMAID, so what was that transition like going from fish to American writer?
David Light: They're different. It's just the place and time, [and] knowing what your character is. I played a bunch of characters in THE LITTLE MERMAID; I was always transitioning in that show, so it's nice having one character to focus on.
BWW: What do you like the most about Cliff, and how to you relate to the character?
David Light: I kind of like that he's still naïve and willing to learn. He's taking it all in. He's going through some heartbreak at the end of the show, he goes in full force and then gets the rug pulled under him at the end. Everyone has heartbreak in their life that they can relate to, so it's nice to pull some real life into that.
BWW: Have you listened to the cast recording or watched the movie for inspiration?
David Light: Oh no, I've been trying to kind of steer clear of them Because we've added in the two songs that Cliff sings, but there aren't really good recordings of them. Because we're trying to take Cliff a different route, I'm trying to not go off of any recordings.
BWW: Did you have to overcome any obstacles? What were your challenges getting into the character of Cliff?
David Light: I think the hardest thing about staying in character with cliff, is [that] Kylie McMahon and I are very close friends and we fool around a lot. There are certain moments in the show where Kylie and I see we are not in character, [that] we are being ourselves, and we start laughing. I think the hardest challenge [is] not breaking with Kylie and staying serious in character.
BWW: What kind of comfort is there going into a show where you are working with people you are so close with?
David Light: It's fun. There's not a lot of judgment [so] you're not afraid to make mistakes. You feel like you can push yourself a little bit further and definitely go out your comfort zone. I think working with Kylie and these people, I've worked with Jeremy the director before, I think it's just a really great work environment and we're getting a great product out of it.
BWW: Were there any songs you found vocally challenging
David Light: "Don't Go Sally" for me was challenging. When I learn new music I like to listen to multiple recordings of it as well, and because I'm not doing that with this song, making it truly my own [is] more of a challenge [because I have] to be comfortable with myself and my own decisions.
BWW: If you could play any other role in CABARET who would it be?
David Light: If I could play any other character in the show it would probably be the Emcee.
I've done CABARET before and last time I did the show I played the Emcee. It's just such a fun role to dive into as an actor, and as a singer and a dancer. He's got everything and [he's] all over the place, you can take him in many different directions. There are so many different interpretations of the Emcee.
BWW: You've been in quite a few shows and have played some dream roles, do you have any roles left that you'd love to play in the future?
David Light: Oh there's tons, one I've wanted to play forever that I haven't gotten to yet is Jamie in THE LAST FIVE YEARS. I fear that I don't quite look Jewish enough to play the role (laughs), [but] it's still a role I'd love to [play] especially while I'm in my 20's. There are others like Elder Price [in] BOOK OF MORMON. You name it, If it's a male role I probably want to play it.
BWW: CABARET is such an iconic show, it's been around for so long and now it's being revived again. What do you think it is about the show that keeps it relevant and that keeps people coming to see it?
David Light: It's the truth of the story. It still hits home to a lot of people with the Holocaust. It's got a lot of realness and heart to it, I think the way Kander and Ebb intertwined the music into the story as well with the era is breathtaking, it's a beautiful story to tell. I just really appreciate how it doesn't leave [the audience] just happy, [but] with a good life lesson.
BWW: Regarding the LOT; it's such a small, intimate space, what do you think it is about the LOT that keeps actors and theatregoers coming?
David Light: For me as an actor, there's something amazing about the intimacy with the audience when you're in that small space. You can really feel that they're close enough to see every expression, every movement of your body. It's not like they're in the back row in the balcony, they are in the performance with you. It keeps it real and energized; the audience just tends to be part of it with you. I really love intimate theater, and I think that's why actors and audiences keep coming back. It's a unique setting and audiences I think feel just as much a part of the show as actors do.
BWW: Why do you think people should come see the LOT's production of CABARET? What can they expect?
David Light: They can expect a little bit of difference like there is with every interpretation of CABARET, but it's the same story. We're staying true to the characters and we've got a super talented cast. Our creative team is really putting together a great performance. It's a beautiful, beautiful show.
Where and When?
CABARET at the Lower Ossington Theatre
Now playing through February 23. Tickets available via TicketWise.
Photos by: SeAnna Kennedy