BWW Review: CABARET Moves Madisonians at The Overture Center

BWW Review: CABARET Moves Madisonians at The Overture CenterBWW Review: CABARET Moves Madisonians at The Overture Center

As I've stated before, theater should speak to people. This production of Cabaret spoke volumes to me and feels particularly poignant in today's political climate.

Although this was my first time seeing Cabaret, most people will know the story. American Writer Clifford Bradshaw (Benjamin Eakeley) visiting Berlin in the late 20', early 30's falls for cabaret dancer Sally Bowles (Leigh Ann Larkin) after a chance encounter at the swanky Kit Kat Klub. During the same time, Fraulein Schneider (Mary Gordon Murray) is romantically pursued by the kindly old Jewish fruit vender Herr Schultz (Scott Robertson) as the Nazi party rises to power. The entire musical is overseen by the almost omnipresent Emcee (Jon Peterson) of the Kit Kat Klub itself.

The production was masterfully done. The orchestra, situated strategically on the second floor of the Kit Kat Klub, are also the actors as they are woven into the day to day action. The vocals, choreography and acting were all as solid as one would expect form a Broadway touring company. The story did leave some questions unanswered. Was Cliff Gay? He did have an affair with Bobby (Joey Khoury) and then part of the storyline was just kind of dropped. What was really in the packages from Paris? Other people may not get caught up in such things, but I find anything that takes me out of the play to be bothersome.

The director did move the audience through a sweep of emotions. From Cliff's first encounter with Sally to the end of their tumultuous relationship the audience is engaged. We, of course, can predict what is to become of the doomed relationship between Fraulein Schneider and lover Schultz, yet, the way the director frames the tableau at the end of the song "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" is chilling. We are carried along, so spellbound during the second act, that by the time the Emcee sings "I Don't Care Much" some of us were in tears. The shocking end was brilliantly played out in a din of sound and dazzling light effects.

With anti-Semitic and other incidents of racial intolerance on the rise in the US, Cabaret seems to scream out "Warning! Take Heed!" Let's not be like Sally and Herr Schultz and assume that the political dogma of intolerance will just blow over.

Go see Cabaret. See it because it is a beautiful musical and stellar production. And see if it speaks to you.

  • Madison, Wis. - Overture Center announced today casting for the Madison premiere of the national tour of Sam Mendes (Spectre, American Beauty) and Rob Marshall's (Into the Woodsand Chicago, the films) Tony Award®-winning production of CABARET, at Overture Center Tuesday, March 21-Sunday, March 28, 2017. Tickets are on sale now and available by phone at 608.258.4141, at the box office (201 State Street) or by visiting

CABARET is presented by Overture Center and Broadway Across America as part of the Broadway at Overture Series.

Roundabout Theatre Company's acclaimed production of CABARET first opened on Broadway on March 19, 1998 starring Alan Cumming and Natasha Richardson and won four Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Musical. Cabaret went on to play on Broadway for six years and 2,378 performances before finishing its run on January 4, 2004. CABARET returned to Broadway and the infamous Studio 54 with performances beginning March 21, 2014 with Alan Cumming reprising his Tony-winning role as the Emcee. The production featured Michelle Williams, Emma Stone and Sienna Miller in the role of Sally Bowles and played 423 performances through March 29, 2015. The current national tour of CABARET began performances on Jan. 26, 2016 in Providence, RI.

CABARET premiered on Broadway in 1966 and won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, in addition to the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, the Outer Critics' Circle Award, the Variety Poll of New York Critics, and London's Evening Standard Award. The original Broadway production played 1,166 performances.

OVERTURE CENTER FOR THE ARTS in Madison, Wisconsin features seven state-of-the-art performance spaces and five galleries where national and international touring artists, ten resident companies and hundreds of local artists engage people in over half a million educational and artistic experiences each year.

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