Willkommen, Bienveue, Welcome to Cabaret, the OU Theatre’s first performance of the year. With outstanding set design, marvelous characterization, and beautiful singing from all the actors, this is a performance that will have everyone singing, laughing, and thinking long after the show is over.
Cabaret is set in Berlin, starting from the year 1929 and moving throughout the years. The play takes during the rise of the Nazi Party and four years before the horrific tragedy of the Holocaust. The plot follows the stories of Clifford Bradshaw, a struggling American writer, Sally Bowles, a featured adult performer at the Kit Kat Club, Fraulein Schneider, an old landlord who helps Clifford, and Herr Schultz, a fruit salesman who does his best to keep his Jewish identity hidden from the Germans. The play tracks their individual stories and displays how each character deals with the triumphs and the trauma of their own environments closing in on them.
Cabaret is designed to make the audience think about politics, especially of this day in age, and question how politics affect how we treat one another in our own relationships. An example of this is when the audience discovers that Clifford’s friend, Ernst Ludwig, is a Nazi. This discovery turns Clifford and Ernst from friends into lifetime rivals. Another is when Ernst discovers that Herr Schultz is Jewish and tells Fraulein Schneider to not marry him for her own good, to which she grudgingly agrees to later in the play.
This poses the question for the audience: If you discovered that someone you know or are close to support a side that you disagreed with, would you continue to support them?
More importantly, would you stand for what you believe is right against all odds and opposition?
Another great feature of the performance is the shock value of the play. You as an audience member slowly start to discover that the Nazis start to influence parts of the play, through songs such as “Tomorrow Belongs to Me”, and “If You Could See Her Through My Eyes”, ending with the disturbing line, “Then she wouldn’t look Jewish at all!”
In addition, the play has cues that refer to the Nazi Party such as the red lighting that starts to become more prevalent as the play continues through the end of Act One into Act Two.
Cabaret is expertly directed by Kyle Brumley, a member of Alpha Psi Omega and is a part of the OU Staff and Faculty. We thank him for bringing this play to OU and having the audience think seriously about these kinds of hard topics while also being entertained. Cabaret is a play that will be in everyone’s minds for a long time, thanks to the excellent hard work of the OU Theatre Program.