BWW Review: CABARET Dazzles at Texas State

BWW Review: CABARET Dazzles at Texas State

CABARET is a 1966 musical with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Joe Masteroff, based on John Van Druten's 1951 play I Am a Camera, which was adapted from the short novel Goodbye to Berlin (1939) by Christopher Isherwood. Set in 1931 Berlin as the Nazis are rising to power, it focuses on the nightlife at the seedy Kit Kat Klub, and revolves around young American writer Cliff Bradshaw (John Fredrickson) and his relationship with English cabaret performer Sally Bowles (Logan-Rae). The musical was also made into a 1972 film.

The musical has a sub-plot which involves the doomed romance between German boarding house owner Fräulein Schneider (Anna Rose Daugherty) and her elderly suitor Herr Schultz (Grayson Samuels), a Jewish fruit vendor. Overseeing the action is the Emcee (Nick Eibler) at the Kit Kat Klub. The club serves as a metaphor for the encroachment of late Nazi Weimar Germany.

Once again, Texas State dazzles with this remarkable production. First off, kudos to director Tom Delbello who has meticulously rethought this classic and breathed fresh life into it. He starts with a visual image of Cliff that comes back as an echo in an absolutely chilling way at the climax. The first part is set within the Kit Kat Klub where the numbers and even the script seem like vaudevillian night club fare. As the evening proceeds, he carefully pulls out threads and everything begins to unravel. The ending features the entire set flying out to reveal the stark ugliness of what was happening behind the scenes. It is an impressive job that reminds you just how powerful good musical theatre can be. He has also engaged his cast to make fresh and dynamic acting choices. The choreography, by Jacob Burns and Beau Harmon, is fresh and inventive and also helps to make this production fresh and new. Greg Bolin gets a great sound from the company as music director.

Gary Thornsberry's scenic design is top notch, stripping back to bare essentials and it works brilliantly. Alexander Stearns costume designs are marvelous, especially in the use of leather and BDSM gear which first appears on the Emcee and then begins to permeate the design. Miriah D. Borden does a wonderful job of lighting this show, especially in the chilling use of the spotlighted Cliff bookending moments and the subtle lighting of the Emcee and Kit Kat Klub employees as they observe the scripted portions.

The icing on the cake of this amazing production lies, as is usual with the students of Kaitlin Hopkins, in the performances of these young artists. John Fredrickson brings a beautiful rich depth and nuance to his portrayal of Clifford Bradshaw. Bella Coppola finds the humor and laughs that are not inherently on the page with her Fraulein Kost. Logan-Rae is a revelation as Sally Bowles and gives a depth and pain to her rendition of "Cabaret". The most stunning performance, however, is that of Nick Eibler, as the Emcee. He gives a totally new interpretation of this role that is, at times, breathtaking. Watching him lurk behind the proceedings will run a chill down your spine.

This is not your mother's CABARET and is not even the most recent Broadway tour. This is perhaps the finest, most rethought production of this classic I have ever had the privilege to watch. The run was completely sold out before this production opened, again a testament to the beautiful art being produced at Texas State. Do yourself a favor a make reservations for their next production the moment tickets go on sale.


CABARET - Book by Joe Masteroff, Music by John Kander, Lyrics by Fred Ebb. Based on the play I AM A CAMERA by John Van Druten and the stories of Christopher Isherwood.
Running Time: approximately 2 hours, 25 minutes with a 15 minute intermission.

CABARET produced by Texas State Department of Theatre and Dance at the Performing Arts Center's Patti Strickel Harrison Theatre (405 Moon Street, San Marcos, TX 78666).

Performances Nov. 13 - 18 at 7:30 PM and 2PM on 17th and 18th. This run is SOLD OUT. Tickets 512-245-6500 and txstatepresents.com. PARKING: If you do not have a Texas State University Parking Tag, parking will be directed to the Edward Gary Parking Garage a fee based parking facility. You can pre-purchase discounted parking for $6.00 at www.txstatepresents.com. Once you park, you will be able to pick up the parking pass at the box office when you arrive. Parking passes will be available at the Box Office window as well. The discount is approximately $2.00 to $4.00 depending on how long you stay. With the parking passes, at the end of the night, you will go directly to your car and use the parking pass at the gate when you exit.

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From This Author Frank Benge

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