Justin Gleiberman. Photo by Joseph GuidiWillkommen to the new Canyon Crest Academy and their Envision Conservatory. Only in its second year, this new school with an emphasis on the arts is off to a fantastic start with Director Ashley Adams and Musical Director Brian Kohn leading their actors and musicians in an impressive production of Cabaret.

It takes place in their intimate, very atmospheric theatre set up with cabaret-style chairs and tables surrounding a bare stage with a glitzy curtain in the back. Flirty Kit Kat Girls, the dancers/performers at the seedy cabaret in Berlin, mingle here and there with the patrons (the audience), giving the feeling that we truly are part of their cabaret.

One of the remarkable aspects of this well-performed and highly polished show is that the cast and musicians are all freshmen and sophomores, the first two classes of Canyon Crest, and they already have a deep pool of talent.

As the Emcee, Justin Gleiberman invites us all into the lively, carefree, uninhibited cabaret with a showy, permanent grin that never falters – even as the carefree world crashes down under the boots of Nazi soldiers who are just beginning to take over the leadership of Germany – making Justin’s mindless but somehow knowing expression seem all the more disturbing. He is surrounded by the lovely Kit Kat Girls who charm throughout. Except when their fun comedy routines begin to be mixed with a troubling, ominous goose-stepping march (excellent choreography by Tracy Yates).

Their world is seen through the eyes of a young American novelist named Cliff Bradshaw who loves the party he’s found in Berlin, but as an outsider he can better see the frightening developments taking place. Andrew Abrams is exceptional in the role of Cliff, a believable normal guy who gets captivated by his new home but faces its horrors with determination and anger. The most captivating thing he meets is nightclub star Sally Bowles, with entrancing Leandra Baldwin quick-talking Cliff into falling for her, but life is going put her in a situation that fast talking, great looks, and a magnificent singing voice won’t get her out of. 

Photo by Joseph GuidiAshley Abed makes for a sweet, bashful Fraulein Schneider who is embarrassed but eager to be in a relationship with kind, elderly tenant Herr Schultz (Wyatt Gastil), but their romance will be tested when Nazi fundraiser Ernst Ludwig (an authentically cold Max Hall-Anderson) tells her to end her relationship with her Jewish lover. Other standouts include Maddie La Rue as a Gorilla ballerina, Ruby Gorcey-Biblowitz as a prostitute who is both amusing and cruel, and Staley Carter as the operatic soloist of a German lullaby Tomorrow Belongs to Me that will eventually be distorted by Ruby in the scene that changes the whole complexion of the play from frivolity to tragedy. As the darkness descends, Brian Kohn has his flawless orchestra falter into a cacophony of disaster.

Performed May 11-20, 2006.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Photo by Joseph GuidiEmcee: Justin Gleiberman
Sally Bowles: Leandra Baldwin
Cliff Bradshaw: Andrew Abrams
Fraulein Schneider: Ashley Abed
Herr Schultz: Wyatt Gastil
Ernest Ludwig: Max Hall-Anderson
Fraulein Kost: Ruby Gorcey-Biblowitz
Kit Kat Girls:
Emily Barrow
Staley Carter
Krista Colley
Caitlin Curl
Xochi Holt
Maddie La Rue
Mackenzie See
Max: Keith James
Bobby: Isa Del Signore-Dresser
Victoria, the Maitre D': Roxana Dhada
Soloist: Staley Carter
Gorilla: Maddie La Rue
Vaudeville Act: Ally Snyder & Loren Thompson
Train Officers: Keith James & Dan Kohler
Sailors: Keith James, Dan Kohler, & Esten Montemayor
Sitting Pretty Singers:
Isa Del Signore-Dresser
Roxana Dhada
Tiffany Gaines
Keith James
Dan Kohler
Estevan Montemayor
Ally Snyder
Loren Thompson
Lizzy Weiss

Director: Ashley Adams
Music Director: Brian Kohn
Choreographers: Tracy Yates and Brian Shay
Technical Director/Set and Light Designer: Craig Dettman
Costume Designer: Jennifer Hanson
Sound Designer: Travis Prater
Stage Manager: Isabelle Gerbatsch


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