Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Nunsense: The Second Coming"

THE THEATER MIRROR, Boston's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

entire contents copyright 1998 by Tony Annicone


Book By Joe Masteroff
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Music by John Kander

Directed by Bill Pett
Musical Director: Lila Kane
Orchestra: David Neves, Herb Toro, Kevin Kane, Fritz Benz, Dennis Frati, Arnold Saslavsky
Choreographers: Kelly Cannone, Judy Mailloux, Sheila DiSarro, Kristen Allen
Produced by JoAnn Maccarone
Stage Manager: Kim McGarghan
Stage Crew: Christine Weaver
Set Construction Crew: Dan Clements, Joyce McGinn, George D'Amico and members of the cast
Costumes: Deb Weaver, Kim McGarghan
Properties: Chris Weaver
Set Design: Bill Pett
Sound: Mike Hyde

Cast Of Characters
Wayne A. Hawkins - Master of Ceremonies (Emcee)
Judy Mailloux - Sally Bowles
Michael G. Johnson - Clifford Bradshaw
Pat Zawistoski - Fraulein Schneider
Frank Toti- Herr Schultz
David C. Olsen - Ernst Ludwig
Ann Marie Sylvester - Fraulein Kost
Joh Britto - Headwaiter, Sailor 3 (Fritz)
Nishan Lawton - Max, Ensemble
Kit Kat Girls:
Kristen Allen - Sonja
Krista Anderson - Fritzie
Sheila DiSarro - Frenchie
Donna Marie Gemma - Renate
Shana Groeneveld - Liebchen
Kimberly Marthers - Gretchen
Joyeux Noel - Texas
Alan Rosenberg - Customs Officer, Ensemble
Justin Foster - Sail(Rudy), Drunk, Ensemble
Ryan Kenney - Sailor, Taxi Man, Ensemble
Ensemble: Kathry Anderson, Mariah Ely
Caroline Joaquin, Julia Levins, Taylor Mitchell, Margy O'Rourke,
Bruce Pollock, Dorothy Riley, Ethan Rosenberg

entire contents copyright 1998 by Tony Annicone
Little Rhody Theatre Reviewer

The Academy Players of East Greenwich open their 43rd season with the Tony award winning musical "Cabaret". (It won Best Musical in 1967 and Best Revival in 1998 as well as an Academy award for the movie in 1972). "Willkommen" (Welcome to Cabaret) sings the Master of Ceremonies (Emcee - Wayne Hawkins) in white face and with red lips as the Kit Kat girls and people of Berlin, 1930 join him. Heading for Berlin in a railway compartment is Clifford Bradshaw (Mike Johnson), a young struggling American writer touring Europe to find inspiration for his second novel. He is joined in the compartment by Ernst Ludwig (David Olsen), a Berliner in the smuggling business. When Cliff accidentally helps Ernst, he in return gives him the name of a rooming house in Berlin. It is Fraulein Schneider's house. Schneider (Pat Zawistoski) rents Cliff a room for half its price. She has lived through a lot, nothing is that important as she sings in "So What". Cliff tries to write on his typewriter but the Kit Kat Club seems more inviting on New Year's Eve. As Cliff enters , the emcee introduces Sally Bowes (Judy Mailloux), a young English girl. Sally and the Kit Kat girls sing "Don't Tell Mama" and afterwards the club owner Max (Nishan Lawton), threatens Cliff for being interested in her. (sally has been living with Max). People get matched up with each other in "The Telephone Song". The next day, Sally decides to move in with Cliff, Max has thrown her out and she convinces him by singing "Perfectly Marvelous". The Emcee and his two frauliens, Sonia (Kristen Allen) and Frenchie (Sheila DiSarro) indicate that everyone in Berlin lives with someone "Two Ladies". (One of the funniest numbers in this show). Fraulein Schneider is being courted by Herr Schultz (Frank Toti), a widower who lives in her house. He is Jewish and owns a fruit shop. He brings her a costly pineapple "It Couldn't Please Me More". A sense of danger comes in a scene in the Kit Kat Club when the headwaiter (John Britto) sings "Tomorrow Belongs to Me", the Nazi party is gaining strength in Berlin.
Months pass by and Cliff hasn't done much writing but enjoys his life with Sally "Why Should I Wake Up". However, Sally is pregnant, Cliff has no money or job but Ernst arrives and gives Cliff a job smuggling a briefcase into Germany from Paris. Cliff needs the money and accepts the job. Everyone in Berlin earns money in strange, illegal ways. The Emcee announces in "Sitting Pretty". Fraulein Kost (Ann Marie Sylvester), a prostitute, discover that her landlady, Fraulein Schneider is having an affair with Herr Schultz. He saves the day by saying they are to be married in three weeks ("Married"). Sally arranges an engagement party at the fruit shop and wonders if she and Cliff can be happy together "Maybe This Time". Cliff arrives at the party with the smuggled suitcase. he is shocked to see Ernst wearing a swastika arm-band. Herr Schultz, a little tipsy , sings a Yiddish song, " Meeskite". Ernst disgusted by this song, decides to leave but Fraulein Kost persuades him to stay by singing the Nazi song with the other guests , "Tomorrow Belongs to Me". The omnipresence of the Nazis end the party as well as Act I.

Act II begins with the Emcee and the Kit Kat girls doing a Rockette type number that turns into the goose-step. (The Nazi threat is here to stay). Fraulein Schneider frightened by the Nazis, breaks off her engagement to Herr Schultz. She returns the crystal bowl gift back to Sally and Cliff and tells them "What Would You Do?. The Emcee echo's her problem. He's in love with a female gorilla (Taylor Mitchell) "If You Could See Her". Cliff decides to take Sally to America since Berlin is no longer a place to raise a family. But Sally refuses to leave, she loves Berlin and her life there "Cabaret". They have a savage argument. Sally returns the next day, she's had an abortion!. Heartbroken, Cliff slaps her and leaves alone because she's always hated Paris. On the train, Cliff begins to write about Sally and the people of Berlin heading right into the disaster of the Third Reich.

Director Bill Pett has done a masterful job with a difficult musical to pull off. The happiness of the people at the beginning of the show has to turn into a dark threatening one at the end of Act I. (two lit swastikas shone on the set to prove this point). He has accomplished his task and done it extremely well.

Musical director Lila Kane has done an outstanding job with all the singers and musicians. Lila, a true pro, always does excellent work on all the musicals I have seen her do. (I absolutely loved the Wagner section in "Sitting Pretty" for the German mark.

Mike Johnson does a tremendous job with the underwritten role of Cliff. He brings depth to this character by making the transition from happy go lucky bon vivant to serious family man (when Sally's pregnant) to being frightened of the Nazi threat and smart enough to get out of Berlin. he also handles the difficult melody of "Why Should I Wake Up" with ease.

Judy Mailloux does a wonderful job as Sally Bowles. Her most outstanding number in the show is "Maybe This Time" which she belted out to the audience and it brought her thunderous applause.

Pat Zawistoski and Frank Toti act perfectly together and make the older couple into a tragic depictor of what the Nazis did to ruin peoples happiness. Pat also does a terrific job with "What Would You Do?" because an old woman has to think of herself in times of trouble and had the audience in tears.

Frank also shone in his "Meeshite" song portraying the happiness that will be destroyed very shortly by the nazis. The two Nazi characters in the show, Ernst, played by David Olsen, and Fraulein Kost played by Anne Marie Sylvester did a magnificent job in the transition scene "Tomorrow Belongs to Me". They turned the happy party into a frightening moment when the audience sees how Nazism could destroy people in a split second. Both David and Anne Marie commanded the stage and turned the end of Act I into a very memorable piece of theater!. David also makes the change from being an amiable friendly person into a cold, calculating fiend with the dialogue and his body language and does it extremely well.

Last, but certainly not least, is Wayne Hawkins as the Emcee.. using facial expressions, dance movements, and great energy singing and acting, Wayne does such a fabulous job in his role that he steals almost every scene he is in by making them a comic romp. My favorite numbers Wayne did in the show are "Two Ladies" with Sheila DiSarro and Kristen Allen (who I haven't seen in at least 10 years.) I directed her in "Dames at Sea" and Hello Dolly" when she was 13 and 14 years old respectively). "Sitting Pretty" with Sheila, Kristen Allen, Krista Anderson, Shana Groeneveld and Joy Noel (who I've known since she was a baby)[ this number the Kit Kat girls play money from different countries] and "If You Could See Her". with Taylor Mitchell as the Gorilla. (Taylor is a teenage boy who danced excellently in a hot gorilla costume).

Wayne also handled the character sinister side with the goose-step dance and the closing of the show. A triple threat, singer, actor and dancer, Wayne was a joy to watch in his role as the Emcee. The whole ensemble also deserves a big hand for a job well done. Kudos to everyone who made this show possible. Look forward to more great work at Academy Players in East Greenwich, Rhode Island.

"Cabaret" (till 22 November)
1 (401) 885-6910

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