Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Aug 01st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

‘Cabaret’ Captivates

AE_cabaretShow’s actors, ensemble ignite the Cabrillo Stage
When director Trevor Little took on the task of bringing all the glitz, glamour and grime of 1931 Germany to life, he had one choice: go big or go home. Lucky for us, he chose the former. With an awe-inspiring cast of commanding vocalists and dancers, an enveloping storyline that mixes romance, promiscuity, fascism and enough lingerie to make anyone’s head spin, Little’s rendition of “Cabaret” ends Cabrillo Stage’s summer season with a bang.

The Tony-winning musical, which garnered a great deal of attention thanks to the Oscar-winning film version starring Liza Minnelli in the ’70s, chronicles love and hope, and the destruction of innocence and ideals in the midst of the rise of the Nazis in Germany. Twenty-five-year-old Aptos High School graduate Briana Michaud steals the show here as Kit Kat Klub femme fatale Sally Bowles. During the play’s first half, when Michaud’s Sally breaks into song with the sinful “Don’t Tell Mama”—and later “Mein Herr”—the actress does more than charm the audience. She keeps us invested in the story and its characters all the way to the end.

Michaud certainly stands out, but so do many of her co-stars, for a number of reasons. There’s strong chemistry between Cabrillo Stage veteran Kathryn Adkins and Doug Baird who shine as the tragic couple Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz—Schneider’s a German boarding house owner; Schultz a Jewish fruit vendor. But their romance, while heartwarming, is doomed, and the actors manage to evoke compassion every step of the way.

Then, there’s the looming presence of the Kit Kat Klub Emcee (Roddy Kennedy). With his heavy eyeliner, maniacal laugh and tilted top hat, Kennedy’s Emcee is an ominous constant, sometimes lurking in the corners of the stage as the drama unravels. “We have no troubles here! Here life is beautiful,” he tells us at the beginning of the show. But it’s a metaphor of the times, a haunting reminder that while questionable politics were on the rise, many were asked to look the other way—this is evident in the first act. But Kennedy is a triple threat—actor-singer-dancer. He simply commands the stage.

Andrew Ceglio, who played the Scarecrow in Cabrillo’s “Wizard of Oz” last year, rounds out the main cast as Clifford Bradshaw, the American writer who falls for Sally. Together Michaud and Ceglio make a winning and, more importantly, believable team. They croon “Perfectly Marvelous” as their love blooms. Yet later, Cliff sings, “Why Should I Wake Up?” which, again, can be interpreted on a number of levels.

Meanwhile, there are other scantily clad performances, sexual innuendos, bedroom romps and more, thanks to a dynamic ensemble of singers and dancers who are truly on the mark.

Interesting to note: The orchestra, under the direction of Michael McGushin, sits at the back of the stage, where the action mostly shifts between the Kit Kat Klub and Fraulein Schneider’s boarding house. Little makes great use of a multi-leveled set and Costume Designer Maria Crush’s sequined flapper dresses, floral kimonos and detailed military uniforms effectively capture the era. But it’s the score, which builds emotionally as the play evolves, and how well the cast tackles it, that truly impresses. From the buoyant “Two Ladies” to the more foreboding “Tomorrow Belongs to Me,” the ensemble is pitch perfect. Little, who also choreographed the numbers here, also offers a slightly different take on the show’s signature number, “Cabaret.” Here, our Sally is near complete meltdown, desperately trying to bolt from the startling realities of life—and her life circumstances—that she suddenly has to deal with. It’s a unique twist and Michaud handles it well without playing it over the top.

Little and crew manage to do something very well with Cabrillo’s “Cabaret.” Delving into important issues like the influence of politics on relationships, the question of whether ignorance is bliss, and the correlation between religious practice and national allegiance, it is nearly impossible to leave the theater without some self-reflection. An excellent summer surprise, “Cabaret” will leave a lasting impression.


“Cabaret” runs until Aug. 15. For showtimes and more information, visit cabrillostage.com.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Picture of Health

Santa Cruz just received a high ranking among California counties. But it may be hiding some of the biggest health dangers facing our area

 

In The Time of Leo: Our Creative Efforts

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Time Capsule

Actors age in real time in audacious, mesmerizing ‘Boyhood’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Foodie File: Maharaja

Chef Didar Singh on Royal Taj’s reincarnation as Maharaja

 

I remember Santa Cruz when…

Santa Cruz | Librarian

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Muns Vineyard Rosé of Pinot Noir

This vivacious cherry-pink Rosé is a simply beautiful summer wine.