‘Cabaret’ is sexy, serious and smart

Lisa Hlavinka

Nazi-themed play coming to Wright-Curtis

It’s all fun and games until the Nazis show up.

Students and faculty in the theater and dance departments have been working since the end of September to put on “Cabaret,” a musical originally written by Fred Ebb and John Kander.

The play begins just before World War II in a seedy Berlin nightclub called the Kit-Kat Klub, where dancers perform in skimpy outfits and for a fee, will privately entertain. Throughout the play there are vaudeville-like dance numbers, with sexy choreography and funny songs.

By the end of the play, however, the dancing becomes less glamorous, increasingly militaristic and Nazi-supportive as Hitler’s iron grip on Germany tightens.

Acting like a Nazi is hard for anyone. For Allison Nacht, senior musical theater major who played the Kit-Kat dancer Rosie, the role was almost excruciating -ÿshe is Jewish.

“It was hard, actually. You know, I’m hailing Hitler (in the dances) with the Nazi flag and swastikas, but it’s just acting.”

Act I of “Cabaret” is mostly light and entertaining, but the plot takes a dark turn during the engagement party for Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz, one of the main love interests in the play. One of the guests denounces the marriage because Shultz is Jewish. By this time in the play the audience can see that the happy, carefree times in Berlin are being squashed under the boots of the Nazi soldiers. Actors like senior theater major Gabriel Riazi, who played the exhaustive role of the nightclub Emcee, were especially in tune with the darker themes in the musical.

“The Holocaust was such a huge event and is something we all know about, but it’s crazy to think about when you have individual people,” he said. “We represent individuals in a crazy world, and yet, we represent everyone.”

The cast worked for six weeks to produce the play and rehearsed six nights a week for four hours, often until 11 p.m. Riazi and others in the musical spoke with German accents throughout, which were learned through extensive lessons with voice coach Chuck Ritchie.

“Just getting here we worked so hard, the whole group of us.” said Riazi, referring to both the cast and the crew. “It was a great dynamic the whole way through and I think we showed that on stage. We’re family. It’s all of us.”

Contact on-campus entertainment reporter Lisa Hlavinka at [email protected].


From The School of Theater and Dance

Where? Wright-Curtis Theater, located in the Music and Speech Building

When? Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., final performance is Sunday at 2 p.m.

How much? $12 for general public, $8 for students. Call (330) 672-2497