Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

Stuart Theater becomes the Kit Kat Klub in 'Cabaret'

Stuart Theater has been transformed into the Kit Kat Klub, where the musical "Cabaret" takes place and "life is beautiful," as the Emcee, Aubie Merrylees '10, sings in the opening number. The production, directed by Don Mays, who has directed other plays at local theaters, is a colorful display of nuance and chutzpah with the constant pop and fizz of double entendres and plain old indecency.

"Cabaret" takes place in 1930s Berlin, where cultural life thrived despite - or because of - Weimar Germany's economic and social uncertainty. The Nazis were a rising force but had yet to grab hold of the reigns of power. Against this pre-World War II backdrop, the cast of Brown students portrays ill-fated love stories and struggles with identity, allegiance and fear while mastering German accents, elderly hobbles and shameless innuendo. The foremost storyline is that of Sally Bowles (Emily Borromeo '09), a cabaret singer, and her tempestuous love affair with an American writer, played by Michael Williams '10.

The show's subplots undermine the champagne-like bubbliness of the cabaret world, reminding viewers of the darkening cloud hanging over Germany. Facing anti-Semitic pressure, an elderly German woman (Alicia Coneys '09) decides not to marry the Jewish man she loves (Ellis Rochelson '09, a Herald sports columnist). Meanwhile, bigoted Fraulein Kost (Jessica Goldschmidt '10), Sally's prostitute neighbor, refers to bedding good German sailors as her patriotic duty.

The theme of sexuality, in explicit references and symbols as well as implications from characters' costumes and body language, is a major facet of the play and

the production.

The play centers on various love stories, and burlesque dancers and pan-sexuality dominate the scene at the Kit Kat Klub. The members of the orchestra, mostly male, wear beautiful sequined gowns. When the Emcee is introducing Sally, he announces, "I told her, 'I want you for my wife.' She said, 'What would your wife want with me?'"

The cast is saturated with the skills of triple threats - performers who act, sing and dance with equal talent. Many prove to be exceptional character actors, changing their inflections, accents and postures to embody their roles. The ensemble numbers involving the Cabaret's Kit Kat Girls (and boys) and the Emcee are formidable portrayals of lasciviousness and cunning.

For this production of "Cabaret," the Kit Kat Klub occupies the same space as the theater itself, and the audience shares in the characters' own escapism. There are theatergoers seated on stage at red-draped tables under the club's yellow-bulb sign. With this arrangement, Mays blurs the line between the reality of Stuart Theater and the suspended non-reality of the Klub, making concrete the musical's refrain, "Life is a cabaret."

"Cabaret" runs Thurs. through Sun. with performances at 8 p.m., Thurs. through Sat. and 2 p.m. Sun.


Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Brown Daily Herald, Inc.