“There was a cabaret, and there was a master of ceremonies… and there was a city called Berlin, in a country called Germany…and it was the end of the world.”
What a line to sum up one of the most conflicting musicals I have ever seen. In just one quote, the entirety of this vibrant, lively, and absorbing performance was brought to an abrupt and somber halt. For the first time, you realize the depth of the storyline you just watched unfold before your eyes. It was at this moment in the musical when I realized I had witnessed yet another life-changing performance by our very own Musical Theatre Department.
On my way to see the play Friday night, I was unsure of what to expect. I have found that not knowing the premise of a performance before seeing it makes for an exciting and spontaneous experience. I much prefer it this way if I am ever given the chance. Thus, you could say I was even the more pleasantly surprised when I came walking out of the theatre Friday grinning and decompressing from an outstanding performance.
The musical starts out with an air of light heartedness and progresses through a whirlwind of emotion until you tumble out the other end questioning the world you live in. Though I must admit much of the symbolism in the show flew over my head, what I did catch on to made me fairly pensive. The story, though it takes place in a lively and vibrant Cabaret, revolves around life in Berlin during the rise of Nazism in Germany. And not to spoil the ending, but each character is left with hard decisions they must make in the face of a challenging political climate.
The personal connections were heartbreaking and invigorating, a reflection of the talent of the actors and their dedication to their characters. All the music was spot on, and I must compliment the leading lady on her role of Sally, a very conflicted and dynamic character throughout the story. What truly struck me as extraordinary was the choreography and stage direction between the many dance numbers. The Cabaret girls had very demanding parts but pulled them off without a hitch, perfectly illustrating their professionalism. I must applaud the wide range of skills held by the performers in singing and dancing as these complex characters in extreme costumes, all while contributing to the greater plot arc. And finally, I must give the show to the Emcee, whose character is essential to pull together the entire musical. His spirit was tangible throughout all 3 hours of the performance, and his voice was superb for the role. The musical’s finale has the Emcee as an essential part, and his role was so convincing that I felt shivers run down by spine as I watched the scene unfold.
All in all, I am so grateful I went out to see this performance. I would highly suggest it to anyone who has the opportunity, and if you understand it to any greater depth than me, I invite you to leave a comment!