(Submitted by Brooke Heppinstall)
Dear theater lovers and history buffs,
This show is not Liza Minelli's "Cabaret"! This is a powerful and riveting show that masterfully blends archival film from the end of the Weimar Republic and through the end of the Nazi regime in Berlin with a fantastic stage production in the Wild Berry Theater. This "Cabaret" is a full frontal assault of the sleaziness and bigotry that propelled Nazism to its short self-destructive triumph.
Move over Joel Gray! Blake Steenhoven's blockbuster performance as the multi-lingual emcee steals the show and will have you believing this young fellow is a seasoned actor at nineteen! Rebekah Franklin and Stewart Matthews as Sally Bowles and Cliff Bradshaw make a lovely star-crossed couple. Kudos to the costume designer as Rebekah’s Sally fills her fantastically clingy wardrobe very well! Lady of the night, Fraulein Kost’s -Rachel Marquez- costumes are fabulously scanty! Candace McKenzie and Todd Sherwood as Frau Schneider and Herr Schultz, the elderly lovebirds will bring tears to your eyes as the reality of religious and racial bigotry tear them apart. Erick Hayden’s undercover Nazi, Ernst, in perfectly accented German English, proves the snake offering the apple of all the Party has to offer until he reveals his true bigotry at the end. The Kit Kat club dancers take on plenty of side roles moving smoothly through their scenes with choreography that will take you back to the kick-stepping dancers of the period and the sleazy costumes of the nightclub atmosphere. It’s hard to choose between the beautifully projected images and the dancers with the artful juxtaposition between historic footage and the present. Aaron Johnson, AK Progressive Media, did a masterful job putting it all together.
This is one "Cabaret" that will blow you away! While the show may offend some sensibilities it is perfectly dovetailed with the simmering rage of our current global state of affairs, this production is provocative, thoughtful, and chilling. Stark film images and propaganda quotes fill the air above the stage and throw the period into your face. The director’s cutting edge use of vintage film and digital video production is not new to his work. His Anchorage Theater of Youth’s Hamlet, and his recent Reefer Madness, both used these techniques to good advantage and make the small theater venue very fulfilling. This fall, Actors Repertory Theater, ART, will be bringing the Tony and Pulitzer award-winning Broadway rock opera Rent to the Wild Berry Theater. I can’t wait!
Full disclosure: Director, Christian Heppinstall, made his mother, brother-in-law, and me- his big sister, proud last night! Keep it up, baby brother!!
8pm Fri/Sat until April 9th!! Centertix.net or 263-ARTS (2787)