CABARET Comes to Actor's Express in July

Cabaret begins previews July 25th and opens July 27th.

By: Jun. 20, 2024
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Actor’s Express will continue its 36th season with the hit musical Cabaret with book by Joe Masteroff, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fredd Ebb. Actor’s Express transforms into the Kit Kat Club, a decadent hotspot in anything-goes 1929 Berlin. An idealistic young American meets an eclectic circle of Berliners, most notably Sally Bowles, the outrageous chanteuse determined to keep the party going at all costs. But everything is destined to change as the storm clouds of war gather on the horizon. Full of memorable classic songs like “Wilkommen,” “Mein Herr,” “Maybe This Time” and, of course, the title song, Cabaret is one of the great masterpieces of the American stage. This sensational musical is directed by AE Artistic Director Freddie Ashley and is sponsored by Scott Safon and Rebecca Leary Safon.

When asked why Cabaret was a good fit for Season 36 at Actor’s Express, Artistic Director Freddie Ashley shared, “In many ways, Cabaret is the quintessential Actor’s Express show. It’s a rip-roaring party, but over time it reveals its layers, building to something much larger than the sum of its parts. It’s one of those shows that is always relevant with the current moment, though some may reasonably argue now more than ever.”

Cabaret is a groundbreaking musical that has undergone several transformations since its Broadway debut in 1966. Originally based on Christopher Isherwood's semi-autobiographical novel "The Berlin Stories," it was adapted into a play by John Van Druten before being turned into a musical by Joe Masteroff, John Kander, and Fred Ebb. The original Broadway production, directed by Harold Prince, was notable for its innovative staging and risqué content, set in the seedy Kit Kat Club of 1930s Berlin. Over the years, Cabaret has been reimagined multiple times. The 1972 film adaptation by Bob Fosse, starring Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey, became a cultural phenomenon and introduced songs like "Maybe This Time" to the score, cementing Cabaret as a timeless classic that resonates with each new generation. AE Artistic Director Freddie Ashey stated, “I hope audiences have a great time, of course, but moreover I hope they leave the show ready to interrogate the ways they can stand up to the current moment. The world is on fire, and maybe the show will inspire those who see it to start wielding whatever fire extinguishers they can get their hands on.”

Stepping into the iconic role of Sally Bowels is Callie Johnson (AE debut; Bailiwick Chicago’s Carrie: The Musical; Chicago Shakespeare’s Hamlet). This cast also includes AE vets Mary Lynn Owen (Downstairs, Six Degrees of Separation, Kimberly Akimbo), Wynne Kelly (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Urinetown, Heathers), Megan K. Hill (Urinetown) and Chloe "Cece" Campbell (Heathers, Urinetown). Making their debuts on the Actor’s Express stage are Hayden Rowe (Emcee) and Terrence Smith (Cliff), both recently of Horizon Theatre’s smash hit Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.



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