Centreville It’s the early 1930s in Berlin, and the scene in the Kit-Kat Club is rowdy and boisterous. The free-spirited indulgence of pre-World War II is alive and well there, and people just want to have a good time.
That’s the setting for Centreville High’s fall musical, “Cabaret.” Show times are Nov 9, 10, 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m., and Nov 11 at 3 p.m., in the school theater. Tickets are $10, students; and $12, adults, and are available online at www.brownpapertickets.com and at the door. For more information, www.theatrecentreville.com.
“During that time period, political views and decadent entertainment clashed in the popular nightclubs,” said Director Mike Hudson. “Our production of this Tony Award-winning musical packs a big message, which takes the sting away from the mature issues. Once the audience realizes the intent, everything else is of secondary importance.”
The moral of the story, he said, is “Do not ignore political movements or social change in favor of one more night of entertainment. As it is said, ‘There is the devil to pay.’ So ‘Cabaret’ has a tremendous role as a modern- day morality play. Activism is at a new height today. To quote a line in the play, ‘It’s too tawdry and terrible and everyone’s having such a great time.’ Sound familiar?”
Hudson said Centreville’s show downplays the tawdry element and, instead, offers a more glittering interpretation, while focusing on the message. “I’m very proud of the cast; they’ve worked hard with the choreography and the music,” he said. “They’ve been overwhelmed with a rehearsal schedule that’s had the leads rehearsing most every day. And the dancers have worked long and hard to master the choreography, which they present with a casual flair.”
Every member of the cast has maintained the intense focus required to open the show,” continued Hudson. “They’ve been brilliant. And the technical aspects should offer some beautiful visuals. The Nazis don’t figure into the story until the last 15 minutes. Their presence is necessary to the story and cannot be glossed over; they did exist and we refuse to forget their actions.”
Senior Binta Barry plays Sally Bowles, a performer in the Kit-Kat Club. “She’s over-the-top and lively, but tends to be a little naïve,” said Barry. “Her goals are self-centered, so she can be unaware of what’s going on in the world and its implications toward her.”
She said it’s challenging for her to see things from Bowles’s point of view. “But she’s also adorable, quirky and charming,” said Barry. “She’s almost childlike, easily excited and jumping from one thing to another, so I like playing that.”
Her favorite song is “Don’t Tell Mama,” when the audience first sees her character. “My backup singers and dancers, the Kit-Kat Girls, give a really strong performance in that number,” she said. “Our choreographer [Rachel Dolan] did an awesome job with the show.”
Barry said “Cabaret” might change people’s misconceptions about the show. “It has a deeper meaning about the rise of Nazi Germany and how it started affecting people there and those from other countries,” she said. “It’s a really interesting piece and it’s cool to see it from the lower class’s perspective.”
The club’s emcee is portrayed by senior Daniel Lindgren. “Whenever he shows up and sings a song, he mirrors what’s going on in the story,” said Lindgren. “He’s a bit of a character, and you’re not sure if you should like him or not. At first, he seems nice and welcoming; but later on, you get a bad vibe from him, plus hints of his more sinister side. His actions fit with the mood of the play at the time and eventually give it a sense of uneasiness.”
Enjoying his role, Lindgren said, “It’s a lot of fun. My character has a big personality and, since he’s only seen through songs, I can create him as larger-than-life. “
He especially likes “The Money Song” because, “not only is it fun to sing, but the choreography that goes with it is very exciting. I think the audience will love it.” Lindgren says people will like all the songs and dances and “will be surprised by the direction the show takes. Overall, they’ll very much enjoy it.”
Senior Marcus Schmidt plays Ernst, a Nazi who’s often at the club. “He’s portrayed as a friendly person; but when he finds out someone is Jewish, he’s mean toward them,” said Schmidt. “This musical brings to light how the Nazis judged people not on themselves, but on their background. It’s an interesting role; I enjoy it because it shows another side of the human condition. I’m usually cast as a good person, so it’s a change for me.”
His favorite number is “Willkommen” which both opens and closes the show. “But it has a different tone each time, portraying Germany’s mood at the time,” said Schmidt. “The audience will enjoy ‘Cabaret’s’ catchy music and good character development. I also think they’ll admire the set; we’ve put a lot of effort into all its details.”
Playing the club’s maitre d is junior Jeremy Pritchard. “He’s sociable and, most of the time, he just stands by to help with the dancers or talk with the club patrons,” said Pritchard. “I love being in the show with everyone and, since I’m involved in the club, I’m on stage during most of the scenes there.”
He likes the song, “The Telephone Dance” because “it gives you a good feeling of the club as a fun, happy place to be. It’s also really upbeat. The audience will feel like they’re actually part of the club and all its strong emotions. We have amazing acting and singing, and they’ll just enjoy the show overall.”
Centreville High grad and former Encore dancer Rachel Dolan did the choreography. Toughest, she said, was making it “age and talent appropriate. ‘Cabaret’ is a risqué show, so I wanted the dancing to be fun, playful and family-friendly.”
“We had a lot of fun creating the Kit-Kat Club scenes,” she continued. “I loved working with the kids. This is a cast of dedicated and curious students. They’re talented but, more importantly, willing to work hard.”
Dolan said the choreography and musical numbers tell the story from the prospective of the Kit Kat Club. “As events happen in the book, the emcee and Kit-Kat dancers are doing show-stopping numbers that directly reflect the drama — and that’s one of the cleverest parts of the show.”
Sandy Forces Date Changes
Last week’s school closures forced Centreville High to cancel the Nov. 9, 10 and 11 performances of its boisterous, fall musical, “Cabaret,” and add extra performances the following weekend. The new show times are Friday, Nov 16, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 17, at 3 and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov 18, at 3 p.m., in the school theater. Tickets are $10, students; and $12, adults, and are available online at www.brownpapertic... and at the door. For more information, visit www.theatrecentre...