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BELFAST - Things are about to get hot, hot, hot in Belfast, as the Midcoast Actors' Studio presents Cabaret August 3-12 at The Crosby Center.

According to director Suzanne Ramzyck, "Cabaret, set in 1931 Berlin, though replete with toe-tapping, "hummable," memorable songs, is a cogent reminder for us today that democracy is fragile and requires ever-vigilant care."

Cabaret focuses on the nightlife at the seedy Kit Kat Klub with its Emcee, and revolves around young American writer Cliff Bradshaw and his relationship with English cabaret performer Sally Bowles. Ramzyck continues: "Since its inception after World War I, the so-called Weimar Republic was fragile at best throughout its entire "existence," and crumbling by the time of the setting of our musical. Enchanted by the "girls and boys" who perform nightly for them, the patrons of the Kit Kat Klub sit idly by. Meanwhile the Deutsches Reich (proper name for the "Weimar Republic") is rift by turbulence, multitudinous factions, demonstrations, rallies, paramilitaries and outright terrorism, all of which spawn a Populism based on fear of others, a soured economy and anger directed toward other European countries. Out of this Populism rose Hitler."

MAS founding artistic director Jason Bannister plays the role of Emcee, made famous by Joel Grey in the 1972 Oscar winning film, and more recently by Alan Cumming in the Broadway revival. Sally Bowles is played by Leah Bannister. Sally was played by Liza Minnelli in the film. Kathryn Robyn is Fraulein Schneider. Jay Holland plays Herr Schultz. Cliff is played by Eddie McCluskey. Beverly Mann is Fraulein Kost. Ernst Ludwig is played by Karl Chocensky. The Kit Kat Girls are Julia Clapp, Chesley Lovell, Jenny Hart and Monique Deschamps. Rounding out the cast are Phoebe Norman, John Hamer and Jay Rosenberg.

Joining Ramzyck on the production staff are Ruth and John Gelsinger as music and vocal directors, Jenny Cobuzzi as choreographer, and Melora Norman as stage manager. The set is designed by John Bielenberg. Costumes are designed by Deirdre Gerrard. Peter Michelsen designs the lighting. Jay Rosenberg designs the sound. Ivy Lobato handles the props. The pit musicians are Shannon Elliott, Shawn Smith, Karen Hawthorne, Mike Bozoni and Tony Shay, under the direction of pianist Ruth Gelsinger.

Performances of Cabaret are August 3, 4, 10 and 11 at 7:30 p.m. and August 5 and 12 at 2:00 p.m. at the Crosby Center, 96 Church Street in Belfast. Tickets are $20 for general seating and $30 for very limited cabaret seating. Tickets can be purchased online through or calling 370-7592. The musical is not appropriate for children.

Midcoast Actors' Studio is a 501c3 non-profit. Its 2018 season is sponsored in part by the Maine Arts Expansion Grant.

Photo captions: The Emcee (Jason Bannister) of the Kit Kat Club.
Photo courtesy of Sarah Joy.

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From This Author Elaine Bard