Short & Sweet critic Karen England shares her perspective on Cabaret
Short & Sweet critic for the day, Karen England of Lake Zurich, was as impressed by the high-quality vocal performances, dances and set design as she was by the deeper themes and historical context. Set in pre-war Berlin, England notes that despite the exuberant musical numbers, throughout the performance there is a sense of "impending doom." Despite a few shocking moments - England admitted to gasping out loud a few times - England had no complaints: "It's just a wonderful, wonderful musical."
See below for a review by Diana Martinez of Broadway in Chicago
The 1998 Tony award winning production of Cabaret, co-directed by Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall, has been resurrected in honor of RoundAbout Theatre Company's 50th Anniversary. It was also the first opening at the newly named The PrivateBank Theatre. For those of you who love the movie, you will love the voices of this cast - but fasten your seatbelt, this version is edgier.
Cabaret is the story of a group of people associated with the Kit Kat Club, located in Berlin during the rise of Nazi Germany. The story is told in cabaret style, with scenes that are "play within a play" weaving in and out of the lives of various characters. The ensemble seamlessly provides social and political comedy and serves as a metaphor for ominous political developments. This Cabaret is a little darker and a little more decadent than the original, appealing to a 21st century audience and still standing strong as a relevant piece of theatre in 2016.
Andrea Goss is a petite and peppy Sally Bowles with a surprisingly powerful voice that hits all the right notes. The sarcastic and funny Randy Harrison takes on the role of the Emcee where he really plays best to his strengths when he's in the audience, in an improvised top of Act II opener. The real tension and heart of the story comes from the subplot of a developing love affair between Sally's boarding house owner, Fraulein Schneider (Shannon Cochran) and her elderly, kind and Jewish suitor, Herr Schultz (Mark Nelson). Their engagement party uncovers the tension of discrimination rising from the Nazis when one of Frauline Schneider's guests reveals his unwarranted disdain for her fiancé.
As the song says, "life is a cabaret" and this show perfectly portrays how life can imitate art through compelling and poignant song and dance. The opening night audience was riveted at the disturbing tension mounting toward the finale. It's a powerful show with a strong reminder of a time where the most horrific anti-Semitic behavior catapulted us into the most widespread war in history.
This Tony Award-winning musical is in Chicago through Feb 21, 2016 at The PrivateBank Theatre, The show runs about 2 hours and 30 minutes with an intermission and is suitable for those 16 and up.
On behalf of the Daily Herald, and Broadway In Chicago, I'm Diana Martinez and I look forward to seeing you at the theatre! Thanks for reading!