note: entire contents copyright 2007 by Beverly Creasey
So here comes another revival of Kander and Ebb’s CABARET. It’s a striking musical, of course, but you might think its anti-Nazi message a bit dated. You’d be wrong and if you were a minority citizen of Berlin today, you might be dead wrong. The DISCOVERY Channel just aired a report of present day, unified Germany and the rise of the new “National” Party. The new Nazis have been winning the support of the lower and middle classes, not only the skinheads who target immigrants for taking away jobs from the “real” Germans.
The Metro Stage Company’s surprising production nails the singing and the sexy, decadent choreography---but director James Tallach delivers a definite chill along with the smart and sassy songs. He places the (faux) Nazi anthem center stage and you will never hear a more gorgeous rendition of “Tomorrow Belongs to Me.” You will be stunned by how moving it is and just in case you’re not horrified enough at how beautiful evil can be, they do it twice.
I never realized it before, but the star-crossed older lovers, Fraulein Schneider (Mary O’Donnell) and her Jewish intended (Harry Rothman) get a lot more songs than Sally Bowles (Tracy Nygard) and Clifford Bradshaw (Robert Case). In Metro’s powerful, dangerous take on the story, the older couple’s troubles seem more substantial. Herr Schultz, who thinks “governments come and governments go,” will be amazed when he’s carted off to a concentration camp after Clifford and Sally’s brief love affair, and the musical, ends. O’Donnell and Rothman make their urgency and heart break as important as Clifford and Sally’s.
Michael Letch as the creepy, cynical Kit Kat Club Emcee creates a riveting spokesperson for “the end of the world.” Tallach and choreographer Linda Sugrue get extra laughs by introducing Gary Ryan as one of Letch’s “Two Ladies.” Meredith Stypinski brings a lovely vulnerability to the philandering Fraulein Kost and Adam Riccio will make your blood run cold in the second “Tomorrow” (exquisitely arranged and conducted by Juri Panda Jones).
John Farchione and Donald Gregorio dance the pants off their roles (not really, but almost) and Julie Ann Silverman, Monica Stein, Kimberly Suskind, Rydia Q. Vielehr, Kerri Nichole Wilson and LaurenHall make each Kit Kat girl unique.
Prosit, Metro, for a timely, chilling CABARET.