Review

Cabaret
by La Jolla High School

Wilkommen to Berlin circa 1929. Itís all one big, crazy party with no end to the fun in sight. As long as you donít look too closely at the rising Nazi Party or read the hate-filled autobiography of their leader, Adolph Hitler. When American novelist Cliff Bradshaw arrives, he is charmed by the city and its residents Ė from his prudish but pragmatic innkeeper Fraulein Schneider, to the helpful German Ernst Ludwig who helps him make friends and make money, and especially the fast-talking, fast-moving cabaret dancer Sally Bowles.

Bryce Slatic had just a few days to jump into the role of Cliff Bradshaw on the Thursday night I saw the show, following an injury to cast member Maxfield Jones. And Bryce does an admirable job as the good-natured but green American who quickly embraces the freewheeling ways of his new home, and just as quickly realizes when the party is over. On the night I attended, Megan Evans starred as the singular Sally Bowles with Megan completely transforming herself into the flirty but vulnerable cabaret star, topping it all off with a Liza Minnelli look and a carefree, sultry, high-on-life (and high-on-other-things) voice.

Providing some of the more humorous and definitely the sweetest moments of the show, and also one of the saddest, were the matronly, thickly accented innkeeper Fraulein Schneider (Jennifer Bendelstein) and the calming, gentle Herr Schultz (Ryan Luster), a fruit shop owner who knows how to use a pineapple to reach Fraulein Schneiderís heart. But the tender romance will have to overcome the objection Nazi Ernst Ludwig (Jake Mogin) has to Fraulein Schneiderís romance with a Jewish man.

And then you have the Cabaret. A lively place where cares and morals are left at the door. But can that door also keep out the hatred and fears being pressured on all Germans? The charismatic Cabaret emcee (Luke Marinkovich) offers us clues to that answer with songs that grow increasingly dark and troubling. In that, Luke is helped out by a cast of dancing Kit Kat Girls who clearly revel in their work and perform Denise Lynneís stark, intense choreography in scenes like Money and Mein Herr.

Director Ann Boutelle once again shows her passion for having her students take on challenging and thought-provoking theatre, and demonstrates her skill in making all aspects of the production work so effectively. For this one, she also got with Kirk Johnson and the school orchestra to be the traditional band on the Cabaret stage, the orchestra doing an excellent job with the score.

Performed through March 26, 2006.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Emcee: Luke Marinkovich
Sally Bowles: Megan Evans
Cliff Bradshaw: Bryce Slatic
Ernst Ludwig: Jake Mogin
German Official: Mustafa Kakar
Fraulein Schneider: Jennifer Bendelstein
Fraulein Kost: Amanda Shafer
Herr Schultz: Ryan Luster
Max: Sprig Allan
Patrons, Soldiers: Mustafa Kakar, Carl Gordon

~ Kit Kat Girls ~
Rosie: Niki Zager
Lulu: Shereen Cohen
Frenchie: Amanda Vincent
Texas: Brittany Milove
Fritzie: Jennifer Huntley
Helga: Katie Willert
Jacqueline Bookstein
Lilia Houshmand
Emiline Musarra
Naomi McKenna
Sara Bergquist

~ Patrons Chorus ~
Diane Earl
Ariel Coon
Takara Miller
Megan Evans
Lindsey Olsen
Carl Gordon
Amanda Shafer
Chelsea Maidhof

Director: Ann Boutelle
Choreographer: Denise Lynne
Music Director: Kirk Johnson
Choral Director: Brenda Henderson
Set Designer: Katherine Ward
Costumes: Katherine Ward, Walt Stewart, Ann Boutelle
Lighting Designers: Courtney Sorenson, Chris Renda, Doug Hooton
Stage Manager: Julie McGrew

   

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