Story by Jim Bishop
Theater at Eastern Mennonite University is pleased to continue its season with one of the great achievements of the American musical stage, Cabaret.
The three-time Broadway smash hit, directed at EMU by Patrick K. Reynolds, theater department chair, will be presented 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 14-16 and the same time Feb. 21-23 in the mainstage theater of the University Commons.
The scene is a night club in Berlin, Germany, as the 1920s draw to a close. The master of ceremonies welcomes the audience to the show and assures them that, whatever their troubles, they will forget them at the cabaret.
Yet, the dawn of the new year finds new and troubling political forces rising in pre-World War II Germany. An urgency to choose sides grips members of the small community, even as they find joy and release through song and dance on the stage of the cabaret.
The 10-member student cast includes Braydon Hoover, Elizabethtown, Pa., as the emcee, Charlotte Wenger, Lancaster, Pa., as Sally Bowles and Steve Kniss, Chicago, Ill., as Clifford Bradshaw.
Assisting the director are Sarah Harder, stage manager; Ingrid Johnson, choreographer; Phil Grayson, set designer; Erin West, costume designer; and David Vogel, light designer.
“It’s a testament to Cabaret that during its four decades of production this classic American musical has taken on so many shapes and supported so many different interpretations,” Reynolds said. “What attracted EMU Theater to the show – aside from the wonderful music and dancing – is the setting of the story on the very cusp of the Nazis coming into power.
“It’s a musical about incandescent good times in danger of consuming the most innocent people in society,” Reynolds added. “In that, it’s a pretty rare show, and one beautifully suited to the concerns of the program and the university.”
“Cabaret is a story that doesn’t shy away from mature themes that affect both the characters in the play and those in the audience,” said Heidi Winters Vogel, director of theater operations. “The hatred and fear endemic in the Weimar Republic of Germany between the wars resulted in conflict, racism and sexual exploitation that allowed the Nazis to emerge and flourish. Parents should consider the age and maturity level of their children before bringing them to this production.”
Tickets are $10 advance, $12 at the door; seniors and non-EMU students $8 advance, $12 at the door. Tickets are available by calling the EMU box office, 540.432.4582, or online at www.emu.edu/boxoffice. Information regarding age appropriateness is available through the box office.