Theatre is an art form that must be experienced. No matter the subject, theatre brings people together and the audience experiences a happy or a sad, but always thought-provoking, moment on stage. This season’s musical of Cabaret, presented by the University of West Georgia Theatre Department, is a show that must be experienced and shared.
Cabaret is a musical based on a book written by Christopher Isherwood. The music is by John Kander and the lyrics are by Fred Ebb. The musical is set in 1931 Berlin where the Nazis are rising to power in Germany. Young British cabaret singer, Sally falls in love with American writer, Cliff Bradshaw. In a subplot, Fraulein Schneider is debating if she should marry Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit vendor. The Emcee, the master of ceremonies at the notorious Kit Kat club, serves as a narrator for the action. The musical, which won eight Tony Awards in 1967, features the songs “Willkommen,” “The Telephone Song” and of course, “Cabaret.” It was a star-making vehicle for Liza Minnelli and Joel Gray in the 1972 movie.
Shelly Elman, director of Cabaret and Professor of Theatre, explains why Cabaret was chosen for this year’s musical.
“We always look at what’s good for our students,” she said. “It also was an opportunity for the department to explore a partnership with the Carroll Symphony Orchestra and Carroll County Wind Ensemble.”
The orchestra and ensemble will be under the direction of Terry Lowry for the musical. Elman believes that a musical like Cabaret is fitting for UWG’s campus because of the subject matter.
She said, “Being able to find a place to be who you really are is pretty relevant; that and the fact that we have to be conscious of and partake in the politics of our society or even that of our social cliques.”
Eric Graise, who is a performer in the musical, described his first time seeing Cabaret as “fearless.”
“I watched the televised performance from the Donmar Warehouse production. It starred one of my favorite actors, Alan Cumming as the Emcee,” he said. “I’d hoped to one day be a part of it.”
He mentioned that one of his favorite aspects of the musical is the daring choreography. Jeff Mckerley choreographed the musical. He has been an active performer, director and choreographer in the Atlanta theatre for 24 years.
Graise said, “Jeff’s choreography does an excellent job paying tribute to the ’30s musical style.”
Graise also believes UWG is a diverse campus and the student body would make a suitable audience for a musical like Cabaret.
“It begs the question: who decides what the social norm is? The audience will definitely be presented with questions that only they can answer for themselves.”
Cabaret will be presented Oct. 15-19 at 7:30 p.m. in the Townsend Center for the Performing Arts. Matinees’ will be 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are free with your UWG ID, $10 for adults and $7 for seniors and may be purchased through the Townsend Center. A final dress rehearsal, which is open to the public, will be held Oct. 14 before opening night. Tickets for the dress rehearsal will be free with your UWG ID card and $3 for all others.