* Famous musical explores timely and relevant message about apathy, indifference and totalitarianism *
Leave your troubles at the door and come hear the music play. Bristol Riverside Theatre presents the landmark Broadway musical Cabaret, with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Joe Masteroff. Dark changes are taking place in early 1930s Germany and the Kit Kat Klub invites all who enter to cast their worries aside. Inside, American writer Cliff Bradshaw meets fellow English ex-pat and star of the cabaret, Sally Bowles. The lovers’ attempts to remain in the world of fantasy are fleeting as reality always pays a visit, even at the cabaret where life is always beautiful. The Nazis rise to power is knocking at the front door and the characters find themselves caught up in the swirling maelstrom of a changing society. Winner of Twelve TONY Awards, the Kander and Ebb’s musical features one of Broadway’s most memorable scores, including “Money,” “Willkommen,” Maybe This Time” and “Cabaret.” Directed by Artistic Director Keith Baker, Cabaret runs from March 10 through April 12, 2020, with opening night on March 12th at 7:30pm. All performances will be held at Bristol Riverside Theatre, located at 120 Radcliffe Street. Tickets are on sale now starting at $48, with military and student discounts available. New for Cabaret, audiences can enjoy an up-close-and-personal view of the action that is only a wink and a kiss away, with special cabaret-style seating at every performance. Tickets can be purchased online at brtstage.org, at the theatre’s box office, or over the phone at 215-785-0100.
Cabaret debuted in 1966 as a Broadway musical with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Joe Masteroff. Cabaret was based on the 1951 play I Am A Camera by John Van Druten, which was adapted from the short 1939 novel Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood. The musical opened on Broadway on November 20, 1966 and closed on September 6, 1969, after 1,165 performances and 21 previews. The musical went on to premiere in London’s West End on February 28, 1968. Cabaret had seven major revivals on Broadway and in London. Cabaret was also turned into an eight-time Oscar-winning 1972 movie starring powerhouses Liza Minnelli, Michael York and Joel Grey.
Bristol Riverside Theatre’s production is based on the 1998 version. This same version was used for the revival co-directed and choreographed by Rob Marshall and directed by Sam Mendes that originally starred Alan Cumming and the late Natasha Richardson. While Cabaret is known for the celebrities, the music, the high heels and the fishnets, the work brings with it timely and dark examination of apathy and indifference still relevant today.
“I have wanted to share the brilliance of Cabaret with our audiences for a long time,” said Baker. “Cabaret is a true cautionary tale about casual indifference – that could happen anywhere, at any time, no matter what side of the aisle you find yourself on. Cabaret is just as relevant today as it was when it debuted in the 1960s. The events that truly shape our lives happen slowly, incrementally and often without our awareness. This story is a timely examination of darker forces at work in Germany in the early 1930s.”
Baker added, “I invite audiences to come for the music, sparkle and romance. I challenge audiences to leave talking about the important and timely messages for days and weeks after the curtain comes down.”
Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome. Baker’s production of the TONY award-winning classical musical will transport audiences to Germany in the early 1930s to the Kit Kat Klub, a symbol of the time for all things decadent. Guests at the club are greeted by the dazzling emcee, along with the Kit Kat Klub’s Boys and Girls. Audiences then meet American writer Cliff Bradshaw, who arrives in Berlin by train. At the station, he meets Ernst, who offers him work and invites him to spend the evening at the Kit Kat Klub. There, Cliff is fascinated by the club’s star performer, the intriguing “Toast of Mayfair” Sally Bowles. While life is beautiful inside the club, Cliff moves into a Rooming House run by Fraulein Schneider, who becomes the romantic interest of Jewish fruit shop owner Herr Schultz. Also living in the house is the promiscuous Fraulein Kost. These characters circle each other as the Nazi regime begins to rise to power.
Cabaret will be Baker’s final directorial show at the artistic helm of the theatre. Baker will step down at the end of the 2019-2020 season. He has assembled an all-star cast for this lively production. Joining Baker will be Douglass Lutz returning to BRT as the Music Director. He was the Music Director for Triumph of Love, The Producers, and Jesus Christ Superstar.
Robb Sapp welcomes the audience as the Emcee. Sapp appeared on Broadway as Boq in Wicked, and Pinnochio and the Magic Mirror in Shrek. He also appeared as Tank in Zanna Don’t! and was on the National Tour of Saturday Night Fever. Lauren Molina, one half of the comedy-pop duo The Skivvies, is Sally Bowles. Molina was Joanna in the Studio 54 revival of Sweeney Todd with Patty Lupone. She also appeared in Rock of Ages. BRT veteran Sean Thompson, who recently appeared on Broadway in Sunset Boulevard, on the National Tour of Love Never Dies and was Clark Gable in the Judy Garland musical biography Chasing Rainbows at Paper Mill Playhouse plays Cliff Bradshaw.
Ernst is played by Bob Stineman. Stineman was recently in Elf at Media Theatre. K O’Rourke is Fraulein Kost. O’Rourke last appeared at BRT in last season’s The Christians. She was recently in People’s Light’s Dot. Jo Twiss and Phillip Hoffman are Herr Shultz and Fraulein Schneider. Twiss was last seen at BRT in The Producers as Hold Me-Touch Me and Shirley. Hoffman, a veteran of 12 original Broadway casts including Into The Woods, Falsettos, Is There Life After High School?, Baby, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and Cabaret (2014), has also appeared on TV in Billions, Blue Bloods, Bull, Law & Order, Orange Is The New Black, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and the HBO mini-series The Plot Against America.
The cast is rounded out by the Kit Kat Boys and Girls played by Julianna Babb, Meredith Beck, Nicole Calabrese, Wesley Ian Cappiello, Adam Hoyak, Gabrielle Impriano, Christopher McHugh, Annelise Pajewski, Andy Spinosi and Kendyll Young.
Stephen Casey is the Choreographer. Jason Simms is the Scenic Designer. The design for the show includes cabaret tables on the floor of the theatre to bring audiences closer to the action. Joe Doran is the Lighting Designer. Conor Mulligan is the Assistant Lighting Designer. Resident Costume Designer Linda Bee Stockon is creating the costumes. William Neal is the Sound Designer. Michael Long is the Video Designer.
“I want the choreography to have a sense of period, style, and authenticity,” said Casey. “ I am not attempting to duplicate or re-stage someone else’s work or vision of the piece. Authenticity to me is very important, as this is a period piece, and bodies moved differently (and danced differently in 1929 and 1930) than they do today. So it’s important for me to understand the score completely, the music as it dictates style of these numbers, and period movement that influences and references the specific time period represented. I also plan to create my own vocabulary on the dancers and the Sally Bowles that we have cast. To find the angles and positions that suit their particular bodies and styles of movement.”
Cabaret runs at Bristol Riverside Theatre from March 10 to April 12, 2020. The show begins previews on March 10th, opens March 12th and runs for 35 performances.
For audience members that want to soak in the sensuality and the raw tension on stage, Bristol Riverside Theatre will offer special cabaret style seating for each performance. Tickets are $60 and will offer audiences an up-close-and-personal view of the action.
Bristol Riverside Theatre is located in the heart of Bucks County, at 120 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, PA. Tickets start at $48 with military and student discounts available. Tickets can be purchased online at brtstage.org, at the theatre’s box office, or over the phone at 215-785-0100.
To close out the season, Bristol welcomes the World Premiere of A Leg Up by Bucks County’s own Ken Kaissar, running May 12 to May 31, 2020. The world-premiere farce will be directed by Amy Kaissar. Both of the Kaissars will take over leadership of the company this coming summer.
Bristol Riverside Theatre continues to enhance the theater-going experience with pre- and post- performance programs during the run of each production, including: Post-Show Discussions (first Tuesday and Wednesday of each run); Opening Night (first Thursday of each run) featuring a post-performance reception; Friday Festival (first Friday of each run) featuring beer and appetizers; Wine-Down Wednesday (second Wednesday evening of each run) featuring pre-show crudité, desserts, and wine, and Thirsty Thursday (third Thursday of each run) featuring unique beer selections from local breweries.
ABOUT BRISTOL RIVERSIDE THEATRE
Since 1986, BRT has continued to bring critically acclaimed professional theatre to Bucks County. The theatre is the recipient of over 71 Barrymore Award nominations for Excellence in Theatre, given annually by Theatre Philadelphia. Under the direction of Artistic Director Keith Baker, Founding Director Susan D. Atkinson, and General Manager David J. Abers, the theatre serves as a cultural hub for the community. In addition to its Mainstage productions, BRT offers four concerts, including the holiday tradition An American Christmas Songbook, the new play development series America Rising, and the summer theater arts camp ArtRageous. For information, visit www.brtstage.org.
Photo Credit: Tori Repp