Review: CABARET at Titusville Playhouse

A brilliant, compelling, relevant, and resonant interpretation of the classic Kander and Ebb musical.

By: Apr. 21, 2024
Review: CABARET at Titusville Playhouse
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Review: CABARET at Titusville Playhouse In times of turmoil, oppression, and uncertainty, how do people cope? How do they find joy, hope, and freedom when all seems hopeless? In the early 1930’s many of the citizens of Berlin found ways to escape the realities of life and the rise of the Nazi party by visiting one of the many cabarets in the city where they could leave their troubles at the door and partake in the debauchery of the latest avant garde entertainment. Today, however, in 2024, a visit to the Kit Kat Klub of CABARET, the latest offering from Titusville Playhouse, provides such an escape but with an important cautionary tale about the dangers of extremism and the real consequences of not taking them seriously. 

Review: CABARET at Titusville Playhouse CABARET, written by John Kander, Fred Ebb and Joe Masteroff in 1966 and based loosely on the 1951 play “I Am A Camera”, follows the lives of a young American writer, Cliff Bradshaw (Carson Skidmore), who comes to Berlin to work on his novel, and a British cabaret singer, Sally Bowles (Jana Denning), who performs at the Kit Kat Klub, a seedy and decadent nightclub where anything goes. The Emcee (Jordyn Linkous) of the club guides the audience through the show, which alternates between the dazzling and daring performances of the Kit Kat girls and boys, and the intimate and dramatic scenes of the characters' personal lives.  CABARET is a musical that has been revised and updated several times over the years, incorporating songs and scenes from the 1972 film version starring Liza Minelli, and adding more grit and darkness to the tone and style. At Titusville Playhouse’s, director Niko Stamos has created a stunning and powerful production, using many familiar elements of the show, but with his own creative twist, and delivers a gritty yet satisfying show that is both thoroughly entertaining and thought-provoking.

Review: CABARET at Titusville Playhouse The cast of Titusville Playhouse's CABARET is superb, bringing the characters and the songs to life with passion and skill. Jana Denning is sensational as Sally Bowles, the charismatic and complex heroine who struggles with her dreams and her demons. Denning's vocals are impressive, especially in the showstopping numbers "Maybe This Time" and "Cabaret", where they express Sally's emotions with raw and captivating intensity and their group numbers with the Kit Kat girls and boys are full of intensity and electricity. Denning also shines in the ensemble numbers with the Kit Kat girls and boys, such as "Mein Herr" and "Money", displaying both energy and charm. Carson Skidmore is great as Cliff Bradshaw, the naive and conflicted American who falls in love with Sally. Skidmore portrays Cliff's journey from curiosity to disillusionment with sincerity and subtlety. Jackie Luna is wonderful as Fraulein Schneider, the pragmatic and kind-hearted landlady who rents a room to Cliff and Sally. Luna's performance is humorous, touching, and heartbreaking, especially in her second act song "What Would You Do?", where she reveals her inner conflict and resignation. As, Herr Schultz the optimistic fruit seller and Frau Schneider’s beau, Kevin S. McCaughin is solid. McCaughin's chemistry with Luna is sweet and believable and his character's fate is tragic and moving. Finally, Jordyn Linkous is outstanding as the Emcee, the mysterious and provocative host of the Kit Kat Klub. Linkous is bold, sensual, and enigmatic, and provides the perfect contrast and commentary to the more emotional and realistic scenes. He punctuates some of the more emotionally charged moments perfectly – challenging and thrilling the audience at the same time. The rest of the ensemble is also great, giving high-energy and versatile performances throughout the show.

Review: CABARET at Titusville Playhouse The design of Titusville Playhouse's CABARET is simple, yet striking, creating the right atmosphere and mood for the show. Cliff Price's scenic design is fantastic – with industrial and functional vibes, including steel beams and platforms that create different levels and spaces. The set also allows for smooth transitions and interactions between the club and the boarding house scenes. Daniel Gold’s choreography is urgent, physical, frenetic, and electric – especially in the thrilling delivery of “Mein Herr” and “Money” capturing the spirit and the style of the cabaret perfectly. Jordyn Linkous' costumes and wigs are also impressive, ranging from the revealing and textured outfits of the Kit Kat girls and boys, to the more modest and period-appropriate attire of the other characters. The costumes also reflect the changes and the contrasts in the story. Davis Vande Steeg’s lighting is brilliant, creating stunning and dramatic effects with colors and shadows. And Spencer Crosswell’s sound design and music direction is top notch.  

Overall, Titusville Playhouse’s CABARET is a brilliant and compelling interpretation of a classic musical. It is a show that is relevant and resonant, as it tells a story of love and resistance in the face of oppression and violence. It is also an important story that should continue to be told, and is delivered in a fresh, vibrant way with a talented and dynamic cast, a creative and effective design, and a stunning and powerful direction. CABARET at Titusville Playhouse is a show that will move you, provoke you, and entertain you, and make you think, and is definitely with worth checking out.

Review: CABARET at Titusville Playhouse

CABARET, presented by Titusville Playhouse, runs through May 12th. Performances take place at the Titusville Playhouse, 301 Julia Street, Titusville, FL 32796. Tickets can be purchased by visiting or calling (321) 268-1125.

All Photos by Niko Stamos, Titusville Playhouse

Headline Photo: Jordyn Linkous as the Master of Ceremonies with the Cast of CABARET

Top Photo: Jana Denning as Sally Bowles with the Kit Kat Girls

Middle Photo 1: Carson Skidmore as Clifford Bradshaw

Middle Photo 2: Jordyn Linkous as the Master of Ceremonies, Lindsey Strembicki as Lulu, Tanner Roncace as Bobby

Middle Photo 3: Jackie Luna as Fräulein Schneider and Kevin McCaughin as Herr Schultz

Bottom Photo: Jana Denning as Sally Bowles with the Kit Kat Girls


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