“In here everything is beautiful, the girls are beautiful, the boys are beautiful, even the orchestra is beautiful!” Theater Latte Da and the Hennepin Theater Trust come together again to add to the Broadway Re-Imagined series in creating their version of the beautiful musical Cabaret. Cabaret evolves from sexy strip teases and a witty dialogue to a dark and truly symbolic representation of Germany during World War II. The show opens with the Emcee (Tyler Michaels) facilitating a night at the Kit Kat Klub where everyone is beautiful and troubles are forgotten at the door. Cliff Bradshaw (Sean Dooley) an American struggling novelist, who is new to Berlin in search of inspiration, stumbles into the Kit Kat Klub, where he meets Sally Bowles (Kira Lace Hawkins). Sally is a British performer who gets fired from the “Klub”, the same night Cliff comes in. Newly homeless, Sally moves in with Cliff and they rapidly fall in love. The story progresses touching upon the theme of loving who you love, and not letting other obstacles get in the way of that. This theme is illustrated through both the landlord of where Cliff and Sally live falling in love with a Jewish fruit salesman and Cliff exploring his own sexuality. Cabaret is an artistic, passionate, and powerful story exploring Berlin as the Nazis rise to power.
Cabaret includes iconic musical numbers “Willkommen”, “Maybe This Time”, and “Money” to breathe life into the depressing and unjust time of Germany in the 1930’s. The individual performances are impeccable, with each actor capturing their character and bringing the story beyond the stage and into our hearts. Even though all the performances were all spot-on, Tyler Michaels who embodied the role of the omnipresent Emcee, narrates, and carries out the story. Michaels shined far beyond the other performers. With breath-taking vocals, an authentic accent, trapeze stunts, dancing with audience members, and repelling from the upper level of the house to the lower, Michaels exceeds all expectations of his demanding and powerful role. His performance is not to be missed in this production.
Directed by Peter Rothstein, Cabaret is on point behind the scenes as much as it is onstage. With a dynamic and functional set design, there was very little moving of large set pieces. When things did need to be moved onstage, instead of calling a blackout and resetting the stage for the next scene, the meaningful and complex choreography complimented bringing new aspects and pieces of the set onstage effortlessly, creating a smooth transition.
The story of Cabaret contains a deep and proactive message that is perfect for today’s time period. Even though the story is set in the 1930’s of Germany, the idea of limiting whom one can fall in love with is still incredibly present today. Examining these important and heated issues onstage through art is bold, yet will also create discussion and create a voice for many. Cabaret is a clever and racy story, but on the ride home, you will still be processing the haunting and varying layers of what went on upon that stage. Of course, everything was beautiful, but yet the girls, the boys, and even the orchestra were more than that.