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Cabaret



 
Cabaret opened on Broadway in November, 1966, nearly 50 years ago! Roundabout Theatre Company is bringing back the musical to theatres with a national touring company and is now in performance at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre. The book is by Joe Masteroff based on the play by John Van Druten and stories by Christopher Sherwood. The best thing about this production is the music written by John Kander with lyrics by Fred Ebb (Chicago).

The play takes place in 1929-1930 Berlin, Germany as the Nazis are just beginning to rise to power. Based on night-life in a seedy cabaret, the Kit Kat Klub, who’s Emcee (Randy Harrison) oversees the plot as he shows up often throughout the performance. The Klub serves as a parallel to the threatening changes that are happening in Germany.

An American writer, Cliff Bradshaw (Lee Aaron Rosen), arrives in Germany where he intends to work on a novel. He meets a young songstress, Sally Bowles (Andrea Gross), an entertainer at the decadent Kit Kat Klub. When she looses her job at the Klub and finds herself with no place to live, she asks Cliff if she can stay with him where he rents a room from Fraulein Schneider (Shannon Cochran). They eventually fall in love.

Herr Schultz (Mark Nelson), a Jewish fruit merchant, often stops by to bring Fraulein Schneider fruit from his market. He eventually proposes to Fraulein Schneider, but alas, both couples’ relationships are doomed as is the life of the Emcee with the advancement of the Nazis in Germany.

The marvelous songs by Kander and Ebb, such as Cabaret, Willkommen, Maybe This Time, and Money are what make Cabaret worth seeing. My favorite song from the show is Married, and Mark Nelson and Shannon Cochran are the standouts in the production as is Randy Harrison as the Emcee. There isn’t the warmth between Sally and Cliff as one might expect, and some of the interpretation of the Kit Kat Club scenes, are more explicit than I had seen in previous performances.

The Kit Kat Band, under the Musical Director/Conductor Robert Cookman, is a fantastic group of musicians. Their wonderful rendition of Cabaret is a tension relief to an otherwise somber play.

Cabaret plays at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, Tuesdays through Fridays, at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2 PM and 8 PM, and Sundays at 1 PM and 6:30 PM, through Aug. 7. Tickets are available online at www.HollywoodPantages.com, www.Ticketmaster.com, or by phone at (800) 982-2787, all Ticketmaster Outlets, or at the Pantages Box Office (open daily at 10 AM).