TATC Cabaret Emcee wide

“Cabaret” is Wowing Audiences at TATC

**** Highly Recommended **** A sexy and seductive production of “Cabaret” is wowing audiences at Munster’s Theatre at the Center.  Director Linda Fortunato’s reimagined “Cabaret”, which begins and ends in the decadent Kit Kat Klub features the Emcee (Sean Fortunato), as a kind of link drifting into – and out of – every scene.  Don’t miss “Cabaret”, the cast is fabulous, the music is Kander and Ebb, and the choreography is tight and Fosse-esque.  TATC definitely pulled out all the stops for this one!  4 BIG Spotlights

Kudos to Scenic Designer Jack Magaw for the simple yet complex set featuring moveable black panels with oversized letters – C-A-B-A-R-E-T – outlined in white lights.  The audience can catch glimpses of the band whenever those panels are moved.  The lights are on for the Kit Kat Klub, off for scenes anywhere else.

The armistice at the end of World War I left created a power vacuum in Germany and the country impoverished.  The lives of the characters in “Cabaret” play out against the rise of the Nazi Party.  Their naiveté about the Nazis is reflected in their behavior.  The seedy Kit Kat Klub was a place for weary people to escape their dreary lives.

“Cabaret” begins as the Emcee sings “Willkommen”, the signature song of the Kit Kat Klub, a seductive somewhat salacious invitation to enjoy the Klub’s delights, including the Kit Kat girls – Rosie (Mallory Maedke), Lulu (Julie Baird), Frenchie (Courtney Mack) and Helga (Ann Delaney), and/or the Kit Kat boys – Bobby (Adam Fane), Victor (Tony Carter), Hans (Collin Sanderson) and Herman (Jhardon DiShon Milton).

By the way, Brenda Winstead’s costumes are perfect.  She put the Emcee in a sleeveless black leather jacket which made him a lot sexier and a less androgynous than usual.  The Kit Kat girls and boys’ outfits are just naughty enough, while Sally Bowles’ costumes are sexy, bright and colorful.

A poor American would-be writer, Clifford Bradshaw (Patrick Tierney), on a train bound for Berlin, is befriended by Ernst Ludwig (Christopher Davis), who slides his brief case under Cliff’s seat when a customs officer comes by.  Ernst recommends an inexpensive boarding house then invites Cliff to visit the Kit Kat Klub.

Clifford rents a room from Fraulein Schneider (Iris Lieberman), then goes on to the decadent Kit Kat Klub, where headliner Sally Bowles (Danni Smith) sings “Don’t Tell Mama” and flirts with Clifford.

At the boarding house, Fraulein Schneider catches Fraulein Kost (Casiena Raether), ‘entertaining’ a sailor and warns her not to do it again.   Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz (Craig Spidle), a Jew who owns a fruit market, begin a flirtation.  After she’s fired by club owner, Max (Gary Smiley), Sally shows up at Clifford’s room.

“Cabaret” runs through June 4th at Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster.  Running time is 2 hours, 20 minutes, with an intermission.  Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 2:00 pm; Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm; Sunday at 2:30 pm; with select Thursday and Sunday evening performances and Saturday matinees.  Tickets range from $40-$44.  Parking is free.  FYI (219) 836-3255 or www.theatreatthecenter.com.  The costumes for the Kit Kat girls and boys are real costumes with sparkle, not pseudo-underwear. The choreography is precise and totally Fosse; the timing is perfect.