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Shenandoah Conservatory presents CABARET during the Musical's 50th Anniversary!


Photo credit: Alia Mahboob

Shenandoah Conservatory's production of CABARET runs from Friday, September 29th through Sunday, October 2nd, in the Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre on the campus of Shenandoah University. Kander and Ebbs Tony award-winning musical is being led by two Broadway veterans and now Shenandoah professors: Kevin Covert (Direction and Choreography) and Rick Edinger (Music Direction).

"CABARET is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and any show that can resonate with audiences for so many decades clearly speaks to something true in the human condition. I think this production is incredibly timely in today's social climate," said Elizabeth Albert, the Associate Managing Director of Shenandoah Conservatory.

Shenandoah Conservatory presents CABARET during the Musical's 50th Anniversary!
Photo credit: Alia Mahboob

Kevin Covert, the production's director, states, "The musical CABARET is one of the greatest pieces of Musical Theatre that has ever been written. Originally opening on Broadway in 1966, the show is celebrating its 50th year as an American Classic. In today's tumultuous social and political times, it is fascinating to be working on a piece of theatre that challenges both the actors and the audience to think about their choices and a reminder that silence can be deadly."

CABARET takes place as the 1920's draw to a close and Germany yields to the Third Reich. With that, a garish Master of Ceremonies coyly urges audiences of the Kit Kat Klub to "forget all their troubles." However, behind the Emcee's bawdy song and dance of the Cabaret, the dark and tumultuous realities of life in Nazi-controlled Berlin, begin to surface.

Hailed by critics when it arrived on Broadway in 1966, CABARET tells the story of Cliff, a young American writer, who falls for a cabaret singer, Sally Bowles. Meanwhile, Fräulein Schneider, proprietor of Cliff and Sally's boarding house, tentatively begins a romance with Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit vendor.

"50 years after its Broadway debut, Kander & Ebb's CABARET continues to provoke and challenge audiences, both in its unusual structure as the first 'concept musical' and its dramatic content regarding the rise of the Nazi party in pre-World War II Germany. It is impossible for today's audiences to see this work without acknowledging its relevance to pressing issues in modern American society, specifically the increase in overt Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia and overall fear of 'otherness,'" said music director Rick Edinger. "The deadly results of complacency and inaction toward antisemitism in Cabaret could present a warning to our audiences and inspire change in today's society. As educators, this is a fantastic opportunity to show our students and our community the power that our art has to inspire positive action in the face of adversity."

"CABARET offers its audience, cast, and creative team a place to question and reflect on current events through a historically fundamental lens in our world's socio-political history," said Alexander Tom, the Associate Music Director for the production. "Shenandoah Conservatory's fall production gives the students the chance to learn and understand. Our director, Kevin Covert, and music director, Rick Edinger, are informed and tactful in their approach to ensure that we, as a creative team and cast, understand the implications of each melody, movement, and motivation."

Kevin Covert has a message for anyone who plans to attend the upcoming production of CABARET at Shenandoah Conservatory, "I am excited to share this incredible show with the community. It also marks my 2nd collaboration with my wonderful colleague and Music Director Rick Edinger. I adore working with him and he is a musical genius. The cast of CABARET at Shenandoah Conservatory are truly some of the best Music Theatre students in the Country. The future of Broadway is hard at work right here in Winchester, Virginia!"

Shenandoah Conservatory presents CABARET during the Musical's 50th Anniversary!
Photo credit: Alia Mahboob

The directors, creative team, and community aren't the only ones excited for Shenandoah Conservatory's upcoming powerhouse production, here is what some of the cast members have to say:

Zachary Bigelow, (Bobby, Master of Ceremonies u/s)
BFA, Musical Theatre 18'

"This show has been particularly challenging for me as I am associate choreographer/dance captain, playing the role of Bobby, and also understudying the Master of Ceremonies. With this, I am getting a taste of so many different aspects of show business through this process. When this show was selected last year, I don't think anyone had a clue about how relevant it was going to be in today's world. The Nazi party is gaining power, which is all too real after seeing what is happening two hours down the road from us, in Charlottesville. That event alone makes this production a great deal more important. It ignites the passion of all of us, as young artists, to share this story and to get this message across. Our whole production team is working their hardest; from set design, to lights, to choreography, in filling the stage with little "Easter Eggs" that will make our audiences really think. All of these elements enhance our story telling, and will make this show one for the books. Lastly, I am so excited to graduate, move to New York City and begin my professional post-grad career, and to start working and representing the school that has been so good to me for these four years."

Emma Coneglio, (Helga)
BFA, Musical Theatre 18'

"I've always been a fan of CABARET, ever since I saw the 2014 Broadway revival with Emma Stone and Alan Cumming. I find the story fascinating and poignant- in fact, it's eerily relevant to the political state of our country right now. It's always a bit of a risk putting up a risqué show like Cabaret in a fairly conservative town like Winchester, but I think this is a show audiences need to be exposed to, especially right now. That being said, we definitely aren't holding anything back in this production- this is a dark show, and there's no getting around that. The rehearsal process has already been so eye opening, and I'm really excited for audiences to witness the finished product."

Emily Rafala, (Frenchie)
BFA, Musical Theatre 17'

"CABARET has been my favorite musical since high school. The show's concept of the cabaret acts working to reflect the plot, even though they might seem isolated, is simply genius. I live in this style of musical theatre and I cannot wait to perform it for the public! I just hope I can fulfill my mothers wish to shake what she and my father gave me!"

Christopher Goodwin, (Herr Schultz)
BFA, Musical Theatre 17'

"This is a show that is proving itself to be even more relevant in now than at its time of composition. It is truly harrowing read a script from a 1960s musical set in Germany that echoes the darkness casting itself over 2017 America. If you haven't been able to wrap your head around the last 8 months, you owe it to yourself to spend two hours with this piece."

Shenandoah Conservatory presents CABARET during the Musical's 50th Anniversary!
Photo credit: Alia Mahboob

The cast is helmed by Kali Haines (Sally Bowles), Ashley Knaack (Fraulein Schneider), Alexandra Fleshman (Fraulein Kost), Nikkie Culbreth (Fritzie), Emily Rafala (Frenchie), Nisa Mercado (LuLu), Emma Coniglio (Helga), Annanoa Kaufmann (Rosie), Gwyneth Yockey (Texas), Drew Becker (Master Of Ceremonies), Christopher Goodwin (Herr Schultz), Stephen Dransfield (Clifford Bradshaw), Daniel Bush (Ernst Ludwig), Kade Wright (Victor), Zachary Bigelow (Bobby), Diego Cortes (Herman), Michael Kennedy (Hans), Danny Martin (Customs Official/ Sailor), Christopher Godshall (Max), Josh Cody (Sailor), Samuel Cadieux (Sailor), Griffin Bunch (Nazi Youth), Jack Murphy (Nazi Youth), Logan Smith (Nazi Youth), Alexis Yard (Ensemble), Elena Doyno (Ensemble), Emily Foley (Ensemble), Grace McLaughlin (Ensemble), Shelbea Owen (Ensemble), and Shaila Murdock (Ensemble)

Revered for its bawdy yet intelligent wit and raucous nature, Cabaret is a dazzling story of following your heart even in the midst of chaos and decay that you won't want to miss! Shenandoah Conservatory's production of CABARET runs from Friday, September 29th through Sunday, October 2nd, in the Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre on the campus of Shenandoah University

Cabaret contains mature language, partial nudity, adult themes and imagery that some audiences may find disturbing or offensive. Several theatrical effects are used in this production, including fog, haze and cigarette smoke. Please contact the Box Office for more details.

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