I’m Debbie Swanson from the Board of Directors here at Lyric Arts Main Street Stage and I’d like to take a minute to tell you why I love our upcoming show Cabaret so much… First off, I really like musical theater. The idea of moving a story forward, of expressing emotion through songs or dancing really speaks to me. And in particular, I’m drawn to musicals that have history. The stage show Cabaret is almost as old as I am! It won the Tony for Best Musical in 1967 and for Best Musical Revival in 1998. The music is by songwriters Kander and Ebb—you may have heard of another little musical they wrote called Chicago. And one of their signatures is that they write old-fashioned Broadway style tunes for completely unconventional, morally and emotionally complex situations. And it is in that incongruity that you get energy…you get power.
Second, I really like the story of Cabaret. Cabaret is as relevant today as it was when it opened in 1966. We are surrounded with political propaganda from all sides this year…things haven’t really changed on that front much since 1929 Germany. Cabaret tells a story that parallels our contemporary problems. It’s only compelling, only shocking, only powerful because we can see today at least some of what the character Cliff could see back then.
As you see the story in Cabaret unfold, you’ll start identifying with the characters. Sometimes you feel like Sally Bowles, who sticks her head in the sand and refuses to believe there is a problem. Other times you’ll identify with Herr Schultz who believes so completely in the goodness of humanity that he can’t see what is happening right in front of him or Fraulein Schneider, who truly thinks she has no power to change anything.
The story, the music of Cabaret is meant to entertain, yes. But it is also to make the audience uncomfortable. We want to see ourselves in Cliff—he is the only character that sees what is happening and refuses to accept it. But in reality most of us are really more like one of the other characters. My barometer of a good musical is that I either want to leave the theater humming a tune or mulling over the story and its meaning. I guarantee--this show will have you doing both.
Third, and the most important, I really like Lyric Arts. This theater just keeps getting better and better over the years. This production of Cabaret has a first rate set, fabulous costuming, innovative and creative staging, light design and music direction and a truly talented cast of actors. It really is the frosting on the cake for our final show this season. On behalf of the Board of Directors for Lyric Arts, I invite you to Cabaret running from July 13th through August 5th. I hope to see you there!