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School Of Theatre Challenges Audience Complacency With ‘Cabaret’

Penn State’s School of Theatre will return with its latest musical production, “Cabaret,” opening Friday, October 28, in the Playhouse Theatre.

Following struggling American author Cliff Bradshaw (portrayed by Jimin Moon) and flirty dancer Sally Bowles (portrayed by Thea Celey), Cabaret depicts scenes of a Berlin nightclub: the Kit Kat Klub. The city’s regulars are driven toward universal pursuits such as wealth, love, sex, and unity.

“Life is beautiful,” the show’s emcee proclaims.

As the characters’ attention stays focused on their personal goals, the ideologies of nazism are brimming underneath the city’s otherwise typical surface. The Nazis’ pervasiveness slowly infects the musical and its staging before it finally becomes too ever-present for the characters, and the audience, to ignore.

The production’s director Chaz Wolcott believes the show’s messages are still as important as ever.

“Hindsight may be 20/20 now, but millions of Germans sat by as Nazis committed their crimes. Why?” Wolcott said. “While I won’t promise a happy ending, I do hope you will walk away with something to think about on the way home.”

Penned by Joe Masteroff, John Kander, and Fred Ebb, Cabaret made its Broadway premiere in 1966, though its origins stem from far earlier. The musical is based on a 1951 play, which is based on a 1945 anthology titled “The Berlin Stories.” The included stories, written by Christoper Isherwood, are based on the author’s firsthand accounts of Germany’s descent into turmoil.

“Political tensions, anti-Semitism, and nationalistic strongmen dominate the news cycle every day,” Wolcott said. ”Almost 90 years have passed since the story featured in Cabaret and yet we are still struggling to heed its lessons.”

The show runs for approximately two hours with a 15-minute intermission. Performances are set to run until Saturday, November 5.

Tickets are on sale through Penn State Centre Stage’s website with student prices at $12.50. For general admission, evening tickets are priced at $25, while matinee performances are $20.

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About the Author

Sam Fremin

Sam is a senior from Ashburn, Virginia, majoring in journalism and political science & minoring in German and creative writing. He is a Dallas Cowboys fan who relishes the misery of Eagles fans. All hate messages can be sent to [email protected] or @SamFremin on Twitter.

He may or may not read every single comment he gets.

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