Cabaret is a Kander & Ebb musical based on a book written by Joe Masteroff . The 1966 Broadway production became a hit that spawned a 1972 film starring Liza Minelli in the role that won her the Oscar, and it has been revived many times.
After seeing this production, I know why, let me start by saying here, SEE THIS PLAY! If you are going to the theater one time this year, this is the show you must see. Why? This is real theater, in every sense. I have grown weary of movies that are made into musicals, with thin plots, forced together because there is an assumed built in audience, it was a pleasure to be able to spend a night enjoying what theater should be about.
What should theater be about you ask? I want to connect with characters, feel for them, be it love or hate. I want to be drawn into the story and have interest in what happens to these people. I want to leave the theater with that “wow, now that was an experience!” feeling. This production of Cabaret achieves a perfect score on all levels.
In addition to the two enthralling plots Cabaret offers here you will find a flawless score and choreography that leaves no chance of that look at your watch moment. This is an experience that you will not want to end! The amazing and intimate Wyly Theater in the Arts District downtown Dallas has been transformed into The Kit Kat Club. It's 1931 in Berlin, and one of the many ingenious designs of this set has the first level of the theater filled with tables offering drink service. Much of the action takes place out amongst the “patrons” of the Club.
If you pay attention you will notice the manager of the Kit Kat is walking throughout the club before the show starts keeping an eye on his club. This is the kind of minor detail that this show pays very close attention to and we are rewarded with only the second show I have ever seen that I would call Flawless.
The show offers dual plots intertwined. The club and it's performers are one, the second is Cliff Bradshaw, an American writer who bounces from city to city, globetrotting for inspiration for the novel, I believe he will never actually write. His involvement with the star of the Cabaret Sally Bowles ties the two plots together and their scenes in his apartment introduce us to his landlord and her boyfriend who are a very important, very rich part of the play. The character that is lurking over the play the entire time without really being there is Hitler the rise of the Nazi Party, and it's impending impact on all involved. I do not want to give to much away, as this is a play that is best served fresh.
The takeaway from this amazing ride is that you cannot judge a book by its' cover. The cabaret characters are portrayed as overly sexual, drug enjoying devil may care types, and I think that is what is amazing about this play. All your preconceptions are going to be challenged, you are going to be forced to see these characters as what they are, and maybe realize we all are, multi dimensional people.
You will not far into this ride when you are forced to rethink the conclusions you have drawn, and that is what is brilliant about this play. We are all multidimensional characters with no knowledge of the story behind the other characters we encounter on a daily basis. Who are we to judge, we must live and let live.
Normally here is where I would point out the one stand out, the star of the show, but I cannot do that here. This cast is full of stars, and I could not place one above another. Kate Weatherhead and Lee Trull play perfectly off each other as Clifford and Sally, Julie Johnson and David Coffee as Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz are a delight to watch. The song they sing when he brings her an ever rare pineapple is enchanting. Wade McCollum as the ever present Emcee is amazing. Not to mention his very distracting abs!
The Wyly theater is in my opinion the best theater Dallas has to offer, the intimacy is unparalleled, there is not a bad seat in the house, and the productions found here are of the caliber you would expect from a touring show, yet these are local productions. I will repeat, DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW!
Cabaret plays the Charles and Dee Wyly Theater in downtown Dallas' AT&T Arts District through May 22. Tickets are $10-80 and available at dallastheatercenter.org.
This last photo is Me, Wade McCollum (Emcee) and Nat Reasor at the opening night Cast Party.
Mark your calendars now for the next offering from the Charles and Dee Wyly Theater, The Wiz, with, are you ready for this, Denise Lee, Liz Mikel and Cedric Neal, with a cast like that, I am ready to ease on down the road right now!
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