Theater Latté Da’s “Cabaret” at the Pantages Theatre: Leave your troubles at the door

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“What does that have to do with us?”

On January 15, 2014, the audience of the Pantages Theatre Cabaret performance is taken inside the heart of 1930’s Berlin, when the Nazi party rose to power. The seedy Kit Kat Klub serves as a lens to the era’s turbulence.

As political unrest racks the country, a British cabaret dancer, Sally Bowles, pays little attention to anything happening off the stage or outside her relationship with American writer Cliff Bradshaw. A sub-plot involves the doomed romance between German boarding house owner Fräulein Schneider and her elderly suitor Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit vendor. Overseeing the action is the Emcee at the Kit Kat Klub.

While following the stories of each character, the musical Cabaret paints a poignant picture of what can happen when you look the other way in order to survive.

What survives in the musical itself is not the costumes, though rather becoming to those a part of the dark and crude nightlife, or the music performed by the Kit Kat Klub band. What survives is the concepts and metaphors of the musical.

Kira Lace Hawkins played a perfectly naïve Sally Bowles, singing with rose-colored glasses of how “Maybe this Time” it’s gonna happen, a silly woman with hopes of falling in love and performing. In contrast  the Emcee, played by Tyler Michaels, questions life. With no hope of survival as the Nazis begin to takeover, he gives a breathless rendition of, “I Don’t Care Much,” while suspended in the air holding on to his last feelings.

The sub-plots of failed relationships become a distraction to the overall theme of passiveness in Cabaret. The Kit Kat Klub is no longer a place to “leave your problems at the door.” Reality creeps in as one sees the clips of Hitler youth singing “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” and as the Cabaret dancers march with arms in salute to Hitler.

Cabaret becomes a musical where one cannot sit back and enjoy the show. Where one can’t laugh at the sexual innuendos of the Emcee and the Cabaret girls. There are concepts and meanings behind each line and song.Cabaret asks difficult questions through song and dance, through comedy and tragedy. The metaphor of the show is to remember that life in all its good and particularly bad continues to happen to us and around us.

In answer to the question asked by Sally Bowles, what goes on in the world has everything to do with us and withCabaret.