THEATER REVIEW: “Cabaret” @ Mac-Haydn Theatre [Berkshire on Stage]
Review by Macey Levin
Cabaret, first produced in 1966, is set in 1929-1930 as the Nazi Party under the leadership of Adolf Hitler is growing into a major political/social force in Berlin. The musical by John Kander (music), Fred Ebb (lyrics) and Joe Masteroff (book) based on John Van Druten’s 1951 play I Am a Camera, was the Tony Award winner for best musical. Currently playing at the Mac-Haydn Theatre in Chatham, the 1998 version of the show is a gritty piece of theater.
The opening moments set the tone as the Emcee (Pat Moran) makes his entrance, followed by a spotlight as he climbs a spiral staircase; his face hit by the light, he leers at the audience in an eerie, other-worldly pose which mocks our bourgeois comfort. We find ourselves in the Kit Kat Club, a seedy bistro whose entertainers are young men and young women of speculative sexuality. The main plot line centers on Cliff Bradshaw (Dakota Dutcher), a struggling American novelist just arriving in Berlin, and Sally Bowles (Emily Kron), the headliner at the Kit Kat. Through the aid of an acquaintance, Ernst Ludwig (Nathaniel Dolquist), Cliff finds a room in the boarding house of Fraulein Schneider (Liz Gurland), who has a gentleman friend, Herr Schultz (Fred Frabotta), a Jew. When Sally is fired, she moves in with Cliff. As the year progresses, the impending power grab by the Nazis becomes more and more evident. It affects the relationship of both couples, as well as Berlin’s social structure.