BWW Review: Music Circus CABARET Somber and Relevant

BWW Review: Music Circus CABARET Somber and Relevant

Music Circus welcomed a "perfectly marvelous" Cabaret Tuesday evening, with sparkling costumes and a glittered stage.

After an excited and pulsing opening, the suggestive Kit Kat Girls took a back seat. Subdued direction and lackluster choreography made the famous Kit Kat club more of an afterthought next to the subtle rise of Nazi Germany. This older version of Cabaret (updated scripts were not available due to the nearby national tour) presented an eerie and underplayed Emcee (headliner Robin De Jesus) who never quite found his place, even with numbers like "Money" and "Wilkommen." Instead, it was Kaleigh Cronin's vibrant Sally Bowles that anchored the Kander and Ebb musical, affecting in moments of vulnerability and exceptional in the show's title song.

An effervescent nightclub singer, Sally sees life as one great "beautiful" cabaret. But her gentle-natured fling, Hunter Ryan Herdlicka as Clifford Bradshaw, becomes increasingly agitated with the changing country. This version gives Herdlicka a chance to showcase his Broadway veteran voice in songs that do not usually make the cut. But it's the outstanding "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" quartet (replaced by a record player in later revivals) that ushers in a sobering and haunting reality. Clifford watches Nazi influence destroy the budding romance of Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz, a Jew. Mary Gordon Murray is superb as the resigned Schneider, who enjoys some sweet moments with Ron Wisniski's tender Schultz before an alarming finale unites the cast in a dark and zombie-like march.

The Music Circus creative team makes excellent use of its round theater, raising various parts of the stage and bringing in flickering lights for the Kit Kat Club. In the end, however, the decisions behind Cabaret's somber storytelling leave the ultimate mark. Come for the cabaret, but depart with relevant questions in mind.


California Musical Theatre
Music Circus at the Wells Fargo Pavillion
Through July 31

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From This Author Harmony Wheeler

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