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Based on a play by John Van Druten and Stories by Christopher Isherwood
Music by John Kander Lyric by Fred Ebb

Lakeside Community Theatre

Directed by Katlyn Snader
Music Director – Kevin Sutton
Choreographer – Emily Leekha
Stage Manager – Rustin Rolen
Scenic Design – Benjamin Keegan Arnold
Lighting Design – Jeri Tellez
Sound Design – Daniel Bergeron


Emcee – Daniel Dean Miranda
Sally Bowles – Aracelli Radillo Bowling
Cliff Bradshaw – Travis Kitchens
Frauline Schneider – Lindy Englander
Herr Schultz – Ben Ambroso
Ernst Ludwig – Jorge Martin Lara
Frauline Kost – Maranda Kinsella
Max/Customs Official – Dakoda Taylor
Rudy – Thomas Tolivar

Kit Kat Girls
Rosie – Kaci Franssen
Lulu – Kendall Lannin
Frenchie – McKenna Benson
Texas – Suzanne McCubbin
Fritzie – Reanna Bell
Helga – Kayley Reay

Kit Kat Boys
Bobby – Nathan Scott
Victor – Pierce Davis
Hans – James Martin
Herman – Tommy Toliver

Reviewed Performance: 8/12/2017

Reviewed by Richard P. Buswold, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

"Leave your troubles outside. In here life is beautiful." Probably one of, if not the most, profound lines in American musical theatre. I first heard this line as a sophomore in high school while rehearsing "Finnian's Rainbow". What does one have to do with the other? Well, it was high school and some of the actors were bringing their everyday high school drama into the rehearsal so my director uttered these words to make a point; when you're in the theatre, you can forget about life for a while. Cabaret is just that, two hours of leaving your troubles. However, this show, first produced on Broadway in 1966 is still troublesome because of the timely issues it addresses; zealots in the government, gender identification and interracial divides. Cabaret is a musical based on John Van Druten's 1951 play, I Am a Camera which, in turn, actually came from Christopher Isherwood's semi-autobiographic, "Berlin Stories". Set in 1931 Berlin as the Nazi Party is rising to power, it centers on nightlife at the seedy Kit Kat Klub, and revolves around a young American writer, Cliff Bradshaw (Travis Kitchens), and his relationship with an English cabaret performer, Sally Bowles (Aracelli Radillo Bowling).

A sub-plot involves the doomed romance between the German boarding house owner Fräulein Schneider (Lindy Englander) and her suitor Herr Schultz (Ben Ambroso), a German fruit seller who is inconveniently Jewish. Leading us through the story is the Emcee of the Kit Kat Klub (Daniel Dean Miranda). The club is the glue that bonds the characters' lives and serves as the social backdrop of the action.

"Willkommen" is an apex of Broadway opening numbers and must be pulled off with no detractions to set the stage for what you are about to see. Miranda does an exquisite job of doing just that. He and the Kit Kat girls and boys vamp it up and camp it up to make it a most enjoyable treat. Everybody on stage is as sexy as they need to be without being vulgar. Miranda is not a Joel Grey nor an Alan Cumming look-alike which far too many times is what is cast because people think that's what it needs to be. Kudos to director Katlyn Snader for casting Miranda against the expected "look". It was a bold choice and one that paid off in talent spades. He was truly entertaining throughout the night and conveyed such pure emotion in "Money" and the end of the show it made me believe that he was experiencing all the joy and the pain.

A word or two about details. The Emcee's makeup and the Kit Kat girls' costumes. The makeup for the Emcee was beautiful and elegant and pristine in the first act but as the show gets darker in the second act and things aren't going as well in the club, his makeup starts to reflect that. It is more smeared and runny as his life gets more stressful and by the last scene it is very discombobulated as is his life. Very astute and very well presented. The Kit Kat girls on the other hand .... Their costumes were waaay to aesthetically pleasing. There was only one girl with so much as a hole in her stocking. The Kit Kat Klub is a dive; worse than that really. This was a seedy joint even by the standards of the owners of seedy joints. The stockings were too clean, the undies weren't torn or even frayed and nothing was dirty. A few pieces looked as if they were purchased at Dillard's last week. So, we have the good and the bad of attention to detail.

Most all the performances were solid musically and emotionally. Travis Kitchens as the novelist trying to find himself and a good story was totally believable in every scene. I was thoroughly convinced he was experiencing everything Bradshaw was. Lindy Englander and Ben Ambroso, as Frauline Schneider and Herr Schultz respectively, were a beautiful couple to watch on stage. Ben was the perfect lovable Jewish grandpa that sneaks you treats when mom isn't looking and Lindy was constant as an aging spinster. My only complaint was that she just didn't take the emotion far enough. When she sings "What Would You Do?" after giving up on the love of a Jew, I should be in tears. I wasn't. This brings us to Sally Bowles.

Aracelli Radillo Bowling underplayed Sally Bowles. She never reached the point where I cared about her or what she was going through. "Maybe This Time," a lamenting song about whether she has found love or whether or not she even can, ended up being the absolute worst thing an emotional song can be in musical theatre, unmemorable. The main reason is that she stopped acting when she sang it. She was acting, she stopped to sing the song and then she went back to acting. This happened more than once, unfortunately and I know she can do it because when she sang the title song, "Cabaret" it was an emotional roller coaster of realization for her that was a pleasure to watch. I just wish she had that for every number.

The Kit Kat Orchestra was right there on stage right in full view just as it should be in a nightclub. The best thing is that the band never overpowered the actors and as such was completely entertaining. A special gold star to Chase Fowler on the clarinet etc. al. for rounding out a lush sound produced by just five musicians.

When Cabaret was reimagined in 1998 for Broadway, Alan Cumming brought a highly sexualized tone to his Kit Kats. That production actually played mostly in the old Studio 54 space so it was a show about a nightclub set in a nightclub and those of us who remember Studio 54, can see the parallels. This set was made to look like a nightclub even to the point of having cocktail tables for the front row patrons. Subtleties in the lighting design were captivating and perfectly melded into the show's overall look. Jeri Tellez, you did amazing work.

Lakeside Community Theatre is a little out of the way off of Main ST in The Colony and it would be easy to expect mediocrity from their productions. While this performance did have its flaws, it was an enjoyable evening well worth the time to enter the theatre and leave your troubles outside.

Cabaret plays Friday and Saturday nights through Aug. 25 at 8:PM and ends with
a 3:PM Matinee on Aug 26.
Tickets are $15-20 General Admission. For more information or to purchase tickets go to: Box Office - 214/801-4869