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Cabaret
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Cabaret:

I've seen the film of Cabaret, and the filmed 1993 Sam Mendes Donmar Warehouse production that later was adapted by Rob Marshall into the 1998 Broadway revival, but had never seen it staged before. The other week I saw a production at Reprise here in Los Angeles, directed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge* . It's a difficult show to extract from the Prince/Fosse shadow, and Dodge managed to not only do that but also avoided the bare 'n' raunchy staging of the Mendes/Marshall revivals of the '90s. Casting an Emcee of a very different physical type (the angular-featured, tall and atheltic-looking Bryce Ryness) than the slight and femme Joel Grey and Allan Cumming was a very shrewd choice in particular. The choreography was very '20s- Charlestons and Lindy Hops, etc. Lisa O'Hare was a great Sally Bowles- she looks like Twiggy and sings like Glynnis Johns! Jeff McLeans as Cliff was competent, occasionally a bit wooden in his line-delivery. Supporting cast were all quite good, especially Mary Gordon Murray and Voyager's Robert Picardo as Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz.

Stagings of Cabaret today must decide what songs from the original, the film, and the revivals they will use and where. Here, "Mein Herr" was dropped and I didn't miss it, ditto with the Gratuitous German verses of "Married". "Sitting Pretty" and "Money" were performed as a medley; I think I would have preferred to have lost "Sitting Pretty" for time and had the original and slightly slower arrangement of Schneider's "So What" retained, rather than the rushed tempo used.

Perhaps Dodge's most interesting choice was to change "Maybe This Time" from a Kit Kat Klub performance that comments on the action to a non-diegetic song of Sally's thoughts performed in counterpoint to Cliff's "Don't Go." It worked- in a way that was more Sondheim and less Brecht- but nonetheless it really worked for the show.

The ending of the Mendes/Marshall revivals with the Emcee in concentration camp stripes with his Jewish star and pink triangle worked pretty well for that production. This production had a similar concept- during "Wilkommen/Finale Ultimo", all the characters who are German citizens formed a snakeline in the background with their armbands of either swastika, star, or triangle. I found this a stronger directorial choice because it showed the effects of the rise of Nazism on the entire cast- and by extension, the entire population. Chilling. Probably the best production at Reprise since their {{1776}}, which opened barely a week after 9/11.

Er, so that actually turned out to be much more of a review that I intended when I started writing this little post. In general, I'm just curious to know what your thoughts are on Cabaret, on stage or screen?
Dramaturg, troper, theatre reviewer. (Please hire me.)
Dat Troper
I've never seen an actual production live, but I want to so, so bad.

...That's about all I have to say. I like the movie but having seen clips from live performances it looks like a much better live show than movie.

 3 Madrugada, Tue, 4th Oct '11 10:27:04 PM Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
First, Copy paste that into a review attached to the page so it doesn't get lost in the depth of the forgotten thread pile. (Go to the Cabaret page, click on Reviews, and paste it in.

Second, I worked on a production of Cabaret back in the late 70s, long before the revivals, when the movie was the main image anyone had of it. It was a strange and very powerful show. But since I was running props and stage managing, (and had to do the make-up for Cliff's black eye) I didn't really get to see it. I still regret that more than somewhat.
...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
Oh, indeed, I strangely never thought to post my review there. I'm having a hell of a time trimming down a stray 30+ words to make the 400 cap, though. In fact, I was hoping to add some details- "Meeskite" and Cliff's "Why Should I Wake Up" were also absent. And that I would be interested to see the reintroduction of "Why Should I Wake Up", as it reenforces a lot of what brought Cliff to Berlin and is the major theme of the first act ("What Would You Do" is of course act 2). Especially because it comes back: in their final scene, before she has the abortion and sings "Cabaret", Cliff tells Sally to wake up. It's been absent in all major revivals ever since the film came out, and I think that's something of a shame.
Dramaturg, troper, theatre reviewer. (Please hire me.)
 5 Madrugada, Wed, 5th Oct '11 12:20:40 AM Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
Well, let's see about doing some trimming...

I've seen the film of Cabaret, and the filmed 1993 Sam Mendes Donmar Warehouse production that later was adapted by Rob Marshall into the 1998 Broadway revival, but had never seen it staged before. The other week I saw a production at Reprise here in Los Angeles, directed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge * Tony nominated director of the recent Ragtime revival.

It's a difficult show to extract from the Prince/Fosse shadow, and Dodge managed to not only do that but also avoided the bare 'n' raunchy staging of the Mendes/Marshall revivals of the '90s. Casting an Emcee of a very different physical type (the angular-featured, tall and atheltic-looking Bryce Ryness) than the slight and femme Joel Grey and Allan Cumming was a very shrewd choice in particular. The choreography was very '20s- Charlestons and Lindy Hops, etc. Lisa O'Hare was a great Sally Bowles- she looks like Twiggy and sings like Glynnis Johns! Jeff Mc Leans as Cliff was competent, occasionally a bit wooden in his line-delivery. Supporting cast were all quite good, especially Mary Gordon Murray and Voyager's Robert Picardo as Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz.

Stagings of Cabaret today must decide what songs from the original, the film, and the revivals they will use and where. Here, "Mein Herr" was dropped and I didn't miss it, ditto with the Gratuitous German verses of "Married". and replace with: Here, "Mein Herr" and the Gratuitous German verses of "Married" were dropped and I didn't miss them. "Sitting Pretty" and "Money" were performed as a medley; I think I would have preferred to have lost "Sitting Pretty" for time and had the original and slightly slower arrangement of Schneider's "So What" retained, rather than the rushed tempo used.

Perhaps Dodge's most interesting choice was to change "Maybe This Time" from a Kit Kat Klub performance that comments on the action to a non-diegetic song of Sally's thoughts performed in counterpoint to Cliff's "Don't Go." It worked- in a way that was more Sondheim and less Brecht- but nonetheless it really worked for the show.

The ending of the Mendes/Marshall revivals with the Emcee in concentration camp stripes with his Jewish star and pink triangle worked pretty well for that production. This production had a similar concept- during "Wilkommen/Finale Ultimo", all the characters who are German citizens formed a snakeline in the background with their armbands of either swastika, star, or triangle. I found this a stronger directorial choice because it showed the effects of the rise of Nazism on the entire cast- and by extension, the entire population. Chilling. Probably the best production at Reprise since their {{1776}}, which opened barely a week after 9/11.

That gets you 16 words down.

edited 5th Oct '11 12:26:02 AM by Madrugada

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
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Total posts: 5
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