Pentacle Theatre’s production of Cabaret is one to watch out for. A stunning nine piece orchestra and a highly talented cast guarantees a terrific night of theatre, music and dance. Directors Ed and Susan Schoaps bring an edgy, timely and risqué musical to the stage. Cabaret originally opened on Broadway in 1966 as an adaptation of John Van Druten’s play I Am a Camera, which was an adaptation of Christopher Isherwood 1945 publication “The Berlin Stories” about life in Berlin in the late 1920s. In fact, adaptation has been a constant of Cabaret’s history with each new production an integration of the available versions of the original production on Broadway and the 1987 and 1998 revivals. Cabaret culture formed in Paris in 1881 and by the 1920s “Kabarett” took off in a big way, becoming the experimental domain of cafe poets, Dadaists and expressionists.
Yes, this production is sexual, yes, its political and yes, simulated drug use and physical violence occur. Co-director Ed Schoaps observes, ‘this is not your grandmother’s Cabaret’. Pentacle Theatre’s Cabaret is set in the early 1930s, a time when the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazi Party) was gaining strength and popularity under the leadership of Hitler and Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels established the newspaper Der Angriff (The Attack) in July 1927 as a weekly, targeting mostly working-class readers. Within this setting, the characters of Cabaret are forced to come to terms with what this new party’s politics are doing to the world they live in. Some, like Sally Bowles turn a blind eye, while others like Fräulein Schneider make choices to survive.
Two key relationships form in this powerful story, one between visiting American writer Cliff Bradshaw (Jeff Presler) and British expat cabaret singer Sally Bowles (Natalie Pate), who find each other across a crowded, smoky room. The other relationship is between Fräulein Schneider (Chris Fletcher), an independent woman who has chosen to comfortably settle into her advanced age and social status, and one of her adorable tenants, Herr Schultz (Brian J Schneider), a Jewish German who owns the local fruit store. You won’t want to miss the sublime singing of Fletcher and Schneider, two seasoned professionals who bring the struggles of love and politics right to your front door. The mood of Cabaret is exciting, dark and seductive, ‘leave your troubles on the outside’ urges the Master of Ceremonies as we become seduced by the infectious music, singing and dancing, almost ‘like a bunch of kids playing in their room, getting wilder and wilder, knowing any minute their parents are going to come home!’ (lines from the text of Cabaret.)
Directed by Ed & Susan Schoaps
May 25 – June 16
Pentacle Theatre, 324 52nd Avenue, NW Salem. (Salem-Dallas Hwy 22).
BoxOffice phone: (503) 485-4300
Price: $32.50 – $34.00
Gender fluid sexuality, language, part nudity, simulated drug use and light physical violence..
Photo above: Tom Mayal Rastrelli as Master of Ceremonies, Natalie Pate as Sally Bowles in the Pentacle’s production of Cabaret.