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BWW Review: CABARET at Susquehanna Stage

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The production runs from October 22nd through the 31st

BWW Review: CABARET at Susquehanna Stage

A wild ride of naughty night club numbers, love affairs, and smuggling, overshadowed by the rise of Nazi power in Germany, create a night filled with strong and mixed emotions. Susquehanna Stage's production of Cabaret captured this spirit and entertained theater goers. Cabaret, with its large cast and even larger personality, is a challenge for even the most professional of theaters. Having a reputation for successfully conquering shows above their weight class, this community theatre should be applauded for the attempt. Although not everything worked as planned and some performances missed the mark, the night was filled with wonderful moments and talented individuals.

Set in 1930 Berlin as the Nazi party begins its rise, Cabaret is a musical production that tells a difficult story addressing sensitive topics and challenging themes. On the surface, it is a light-hearted musical, but there is a foreboding subcurrent that rises to the surface as the play progresses, ending on a distinctly dark note.

The story follows a young American writer, Clifford Bradshaw (Kent Gable), who travels to Berlin looking for inspiration and a quiet place to work on his next novel. What he finds is the Kit Kat Club and a fun raunchy subculture of entertainers and partiers. A relationship between the club's headliner, Sally Bowles, and Clifford develops and drives the story forward. Quickly becoming a local favorite, Jordyn Johnson masterfully took on the role of Sally Bowles. Her beautiful voice and acting skill was a highlight of the evening.

An intertwining narrative follows Clifford's landlord, Fraulein Schneider, who has been seeing the local fruit vendor, an elderly Jewish man named Herr Schultz. As the show's most serious and emotionally authentic characters, the elderly couple who find "love that cannot be", must be played by seasoned actors. This duo, played by Tricia Corcoran and Jim Johnson, had great chemistry, matched beautifully vocally, and brought the needed dignity to the show.

The Master of Ceremonies for both the Kit Kat Club and the entire show, is played by Ben Fortier. The role is, perhaps, the most challenging due to the outlandish behavior, German accent, vocal range, dance numbers, and flirtatious nature of the character. It requires a level of emotional and physical stamina to pull off that Fortier achieved, making the performance great fun to watch.

Other stand out performances include Sonny Albright's Ernst Ludwig, Cara Ditzler's Fraulein Kost, and the "Two Ladies" played by Chrissy Nikkel (dance captain) and Beth Gable. Behind the scenes highlights include beautiful costumes designed by Jacquee Johnson and the dialogue coaching by Michael Stewart. The live intermission music is also a nice touch.

Although a few opening night glitches need working out, there is no denying that this show was a hit with the audience. For more information about this and other shows, visit: https://www.susquehannastage.com/


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