Let's start with a quick lesson, this production opened in 1993 in London. In 1998 it transferred to Broadway to critical acclaim and fanfare. It ran for more than 2,300 performances (making it the third longest running revival on Broadway). This production went on to tour the country (including Proctors). Due to large demand the production was revived again in 2014 with original star Alan Cumming reprising his prolific performance as the emcee. This production has earned more than 26 nominations over its two decades. We could simply say bravo, it's still great, and stop me from having to type anymore. However, that would be unfair and unjust to a production that is not only still vibrant and relevant but still fresh, alive, and worthy of a standing ovation. So come to the cabaret!
Sam Mendes (Director) and Rob Marshall (Original Co-Director and Choreographer) have created a sordid, sexy, visually stunning world. A world that helps us escape our current problems sends us into a world of wonder, thrusts us into a reminding world of horrifying history, and then sends a shock to the system while reflecting on problems in our daily headlines.
Cabaret is led by the wonderful Emcee, played with charisma, creativity, and tenderness by Jon Peterson. The singing actor moves in a fluent and flamboyant way. His sound, his moves, his quirks are fun, unique, and entertaining. His poise in the shadows as he reflects on other parts of the show is beautiful. Brilliantly staged by the directors by his soft feeling is all him.
As Peterson opens the show with the world famous number "Willkomen." He introduces the "Toast of Mayfair, Fraulein Sally Bowes," while above the main level of the stage in the hanging frame lights up to see Leigh Ann Larkin as she shouts "Hello, Darlings!" It's celebratory and vibrant, much like Ms. Larkin's performance. What you don't see coming is the hauntingly beautiful one-two punch performance that she gives. As a long time fan of Larkin's (her angry-beautiful Dainty June vs. Patti Lupone's Mamma Rose was beautiful and her sexy, fun, fast performance of A Little Night Music's Petra opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones) I was still taken aback by her amazing performance. The sensational performance of the title number blows you into your seat. Not only the visual aspect, a simple small spotlight that turns to a brightly lit stage, but Ms. Larkin's performance is a massive part of the wave. Get to Proctors to see her Sally Bowls before Sunday. You won't regret it!
Benjamin Eakeley plays Cliff the American who falls into the seedy world of Cabaret with sex appeal and brilliant voice.
Allison Ewing returns to Proctors (Mamma Mia) with a risky and sometimes funny performance as Fraulein Kost. If you don't fall in love with Mary Gordon Murray and Scott Robertson, Fraulein Schneider and Heff Schultz respectively, then you're probably not seeing Cabaret. Patrick Vaill returns to the Capital Region after performing in Hamlet at Cap Rep, with a more realistic and semi-flamboyant member of the Nazi Party, Ernst Ludwig.
The ensemble/orchestra is sensational, the set yet simple is wonderful, and the lighting is amusing, entertaining, and shocking. If you've seen this production before, go see it again. If you haven't seen it, no excuses, GO SEE IT.
As I finish this review I've just received an email from my friend who joined me at Cabaret last night. It reads "Thank you, thank you, I can't get the show out of my head. It was really affecting."
You don't listen to me; listen to Barbra's fair warning then (see the paragraph above). This show will stick with you. Whether it's the catchy songs, the wonderful performances, or the frightening realization that comes from the story. Get to the Kit-Kat-Klub on Proctors main stage by Sunday, and remember - life is a cabaret!