Thursday, November 17, through Saturday, November 20
Augustana College's Brunner Theatre Center, 3750 Seventh Avenue, Rock Island IL
One of American theatre's most exciting, acclaimed, and tune-filled entertainments receives an Augustana College staging in the November 17 through 20 run of Cabaret, the legendary Kander & Ebb musical that earned a combined 12 Tony Awards for Broadway's 1966 original and 1998 revival, and that was adapted into a 1972 film classic that received eight Oscars including Best Actress for Liza Minnelli and Best Director for Bob Fosse.
Based on John Van Druten's 1951 play I Am a Camera, itself adapted from Christopher Isherwood's 1939 novel Goodbye to Berlin, Cabaret is set in 1931 Berlin as the Nazis are rising to power. The musical by composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb focuses on the nightlife at the seedy Kit Kat Klub, and revolves around young American writer Cliff Bradshaw and his relationship with English cabaret performer Sally Bowles. Overseeing the action is the Kit Kat's eccentric Master of Ceremonies, with the club serving as a metaphor for ominous political developments in late Weimar Germany. With the 1966 Broadway production running for 336 performances and its Tony wins including Best Musical and Best Featured Actor for Joel Grey (who would win a Supporting Actor Oscar for recreating his stage performance), Cabaret's hit songs include “Willkomen,” “Money,” “Maybe This Time,” and Sally Bowles' torch-song rendition of the title number.
Serving as director for Cabaret is Augustana's assistant professor of theatre arts Shelley Cooper, whose area directorial credits include Augustana productions of The Threepenny Opera and Into the Woods; Black Box Theatre presentations of Ride the Cyclone and Cooper's own one-woman show La Divina: The Last Interview of Maria Callas; the Mississippi Bend Players' Big River and Dames at Sea; and the recent opera Two Remain (Out of Darkness), produced as part of the Holocaust-remembrance project Out of Darkness and performed by the Quad City Symphony Orchestra.
Cooper's production of Cabaret will feature four significant roles double-cast for eight students who will each be featured in two out of the show's four performances. In the “Joel Grey Cast” showcased on Thursday and Saturday of the musical's run, Julie Tarling will portray Sally Bowles, Reader theatre reviewer Roger Pavey Jr. will play the Emcee, Mukupa Lungu will enact Fraulein Schneider, and Maggie Caliendo will appear as Fraulein Kost. In the “Liza Minnelli Cast” that takes the stage on Friday and Sunday, Sally Bowles will be played by Camryn Maclean, the Emcee by Eli Bates, Fraulein Schneider by Jacqueline Isaacson, and Fraulein Kost. (With both casts, the performer in the Kost role also plats Fritzie and the Chanteuse.)
Additional members of Cooper's ensemble include Jack McCurdy as Cliff and AJ Perez as Schultz (with cast members Kaden Micklos and Spencer Warfield as their understduies), and the Caberet team of performers is completed by Lauren Clarke, Ava Coussens, Dash Crow, Maxwell de Buys, Alyssa Frazier, Anya Giordano, Sarah Heiser, Sylvia Hughes, Titus Jilderda, Rose Klinger, Abby Malina, Ella Miller, Milan Nielsen, Audrey Siblik, Grey White.
Cabaret will be staged November 17 through 20 with performances as 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $10-15, and more information and tickets are available by calling (309)794-7306 and visiting Augustana.edu/tickets.