Cabaret – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

If you were in the habit of wearing rose colored glasses and of dancing as if the music would never end, you might be excused for not acknowledging the world was in danger, on the edge of chaos and collapse. In Germany, the rise of the Nazi party was insidious and sinister, frightening and demoralizing and sufficatingly wrapping its talons like a poisonous snake around its victims, the Jews. Today with headlines about serious problems splashed across newspapers and journalists strategically placed around the world ready to comment on the latest disaster, it is not hard to remember other times in history when circumstances were ripe for global trouble. Certainly when American writer Cliff Bradshaw hopped aboard a train to enter 1930’s Berlin, he could not have foreseen the storm brewing so close to the horizon.

The Ivoryton Playhouse invites you to revisit this frenetic and frantic time as created by John Masteroff’s book, John Kander’s music and Fred Ebb’s lyrics in “Cabaret” until September 1. Pull up a chair at the Kit Kat Klub and get caught in the escapism that the partygoers indulged in so breezily and completely. The excellent cast makes it heartbreakingly clear that danger is in the nightclub, on the clever set by Daniel Nischan, the great costumes by Kate Bunce, the distinctive lighting by Marcus Abbott, the on target sound by Ray Smith and the intoxicating music directed by Michael Morris.

Sam Given is the incredible erstwhile Emcee leading the grandiose parade, dedicated to seeing you have a good time and forget all your troubles, if you ever had any. He welcomes you to leave any worries outside the door and let the sparkling singer Sally Bowles, played by a perky Katie Mack, entertain you. You will be encouraged, like Cliff (Andy Tighe) to ignore the precision marching of Hitler’s army and the rise of the Nazi movement. If you dance fast enough, you can pretend there are no dangers lurking, to those of the Jewish faith like Herr Schultz (John Little) or his intended wife Fraulein Schneider (Carolyn Popp). The major symbol of Germany is embodied by Ernst Ludwig (Will Clark) while Fraulein Kost (Carlyn Connolly) is emblematic of the Germany ready to fall in line with the new regime.

Light hearted fun in songs like “Don’t Tell Mama” and “It Couldn’t Please Me More” give way to the alarming message of “Tomorrow Belongs To Me” and the hidden in plain sight discrimination of “If You Could See Her.” Todd Underwood directs and choreographs this “musical with teeth.”

For tickets ($55, seniors $50, students $25, children $20), call the Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton (exit 3 off route 9) at 860-767-7318 or online at Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Scrap off the glitter on the surface of the Kit Kat Klub and discover that all is not beautiful, no matter how hard the Emcee tries to make you believe otherwise.

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