In here, life is beautiful.
I won’t bury the lede: this incredible production of Cabaret is a must-see for any musical theater fan. It’s an intense show, pulling the audience through joy and misery, sweetness and seediness, and tremendously well-performed by this company. Randy Harrison’s Emcee is sexy and a little frightening, and I was especially impressed by Andrea Goss as a very raw Sally Bowles, at once fragile and tremendously tough. Cabaret may seem at first glance like your standard musical (and there’s definitely no shortage of great songs), but there’s a darkness under the glitz. Even apart from the ever-looming specter of the Nazis, there’s an omnipresent grime and quiet desperation, a sense that this life of sex and parties isn’t quite all it’s cracked up to be.
The show really starts before the lights go down with the girls and boys of the Kit Kat Klub warming up on stage. Throughout the show, the theater began to smell faintly of cigarette smoke. I loved how immersive it was, bringing you deep inside the seedy world of the nightclub. Like I said before, the performances were great from both the lead cast and the ensemble (how do you get to be an awesome saxophonist AND an awesome dancer??). And the dark political narratives are, unfortunately, still so relevant today. Can, like Sally, we insist that politics have nothing to do with us? The (futile, the audience knows) hope of so many characters is especially chilling to me.
This one’s only in town for a short time, so if you’re thinking of seeing it, don’t hesitate.
Cabaret is playing at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts now through Sunday, February 28.