Review Roundup: CABARET at Connecticut Repertory Theatre; What Did The Critics Think?

Review Roundup: CABARET at Connecticut Repertory Theatre; What Did The Critics Think?Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) presents the second and final show of the 2019 Nutmeg Summer Series: "Cabaret," the Tony-Award-winning musical centering around a German nightclub against the backdrop of the Nazis' rise to power. The cast is led by Olivier Award-winner Laura Michelle Kelly as Sally Bowles and Tony Award-nominee Forrest McClendon as the Emcee. They will be joined by three-time Tony Award-nominee Dee Hoty and Jonathan Brody. Scott LaFeber will direct with choreography by Christopher d'Amboise. Subscriptions and single tickets are on sale at crt.uconn.edu or 860-486-2113.

Let's see what the critics have to say!

Joseph Harrison, BroadwayWorld: The cast of CT Rep's CABARET is like a gift from Broadway heaven. First, and foremost, Laura Michelle Kelly is on fire as Sally Bowles. Each and every one of her numbers raises the roof, with her delivery of "Maybe This Time" and "Cabaret" standing out the most. Her group numbers with the Kit Kat girls and boys are full of raw energy and beautiful tension, making this reviewer very happy they kept both "Don't Tell Mama" and "Mein Herr" in the show. As Cliff Bradshaw, Rob Barnes does a solid job conveying the clean-cut American with secrets of his own. Dee Hoty, a long-time favorite of this reviewer, is absolutely brilliant as Fraulein Schneider, delivering a performance that is funny, endearing, and heartbreaking. Her second act number, "What Would You Do?" is marvelous, striking the perfect emotional balance to Sally's bigger and bolder numbers. As Frau Schneider's beau, Herr Schultz, Jonathan Brody is wonderful. The couple's songs together bring a smile, and his characterization of the Jewish fruit seller is spot on. Finally, as the erstwhile Emcee, Forrest McClendon is mysterious and provocative, though toned down from more recent interpretations of the role. The rest of the ensemble is great, as well, giving high-energy performances all around.

Christopher Arnott, Hartford Courant: Where this production truly distinguishes itself is in the singing. The character of Sally Bowles is usually not required to sing especially well; it's well-established that she's self-destructive, delusional and only has her low-rent cabaret gig because she's sleeping with the proprietor. Laura Michelle Kelly, who originated the title role in the original London production of "Mary Poppins" and later played that role on Broadway, has a magnificent musical-theater voice, and belts out "Maybe This Time" as though she owns the club. She simply finds other ways to express Sally's vulnerability and self-undermining style.

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