Posted: Thursday Jan 16, 2014
Jan. 16, 2014
Saint Vincent College Players will present five performances of the popular Broadway musical hit, “Cabaret,” at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, Saturday, Feb. 15, and Friday, Feb. 21, and at 2 p.m. Sundays, Feb. 16 and 23 in the Performing Arts Center of the Robert S. Carey Student Center on the campus of Saint Vincent College.
Cabaret, with music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb who have been responsible for a number of popular American musicals over the past few decades, made its debut on Broadway in 1966. It was made into a multi-Academy Award winning musical in 1972.
The show will be directed by Colleen Reilly Rossmiller with choreography directed by Renata Marino and music direction by Eric Barchiesi. Penny Lin Lambright is serving as the technical director and designing the costumes and set.
Rossmiller said she chose this show because she thought that patrons would love the music and the story. “Cabaret is set in Berlin, Germany, in 1929 and 1930,” she explained. “So, the Nazis had not yet come to power, but their popularity as a political party is rising. The play itself is not primarily political. It’s more of a love story that tells of two romances, both of them doomed to a certain amount of disappointment. One romance is between Sally Bowles, who is a night club entertainer and has an affair with Cliff Bradshaw, who is an American ex-patriot living in Berlin trying to write a novel. The show also deals with the love story between an older lady who runs the boarding house where Sally and Cliff live and one of her older gentleman boarders. This is a truly charming romance that is sadly doomed because he is Jewish and the lovers get caught up in the growing tide of anti-semitism in Germany. The story is really about how people are able to blind themselves to evil, both in small things and in large, and how carelessness can be as responsible for societal ills as deliberate malicious intent.”
“It sounds like a serious story but, as I said to the students when I was first talking about how much I love this show, I can’t imagine what a difficult sale this was to backers in the mid-1960s if you said it was a play about doomed romances, a night club and Nazis,” she continued. “But the fact of the matter is that it’s one of the most entertaining serious musicals you’ll ever encounter. It is a delightful, delightful show. There’s a reason why it keeps getting revived over and over again. It’s been on Broadway twice in the last 15 years. First of all, it has magnificent music. Most people are familiar with the title song, Cabaret. They may also know Willkommen, another popular song from the show. Tomorrow Belongs To Me is another well-known song. The Money Song and a lot of other really wonderful numbers that I think people will recognize are from the movie or the show.”
“It also is funny,” Rossmiller concluded. “It’s very funny. Part of what makes it poignant is actually a lot of lighthearted, funny stuff going on in the forefront as it were, while in the background, like a dim noise from a radio playing in the background, is the rise of Nazism. The audience knows it’s coming, but the characters obviously don’t know exactly what’s coming. It’s really just a wonderful show. Very moving, very entertaining.”
“People have asked me if it’s problematic doing it at Saint Vincent,” Rossmiller noted. “And the fact is I don’t think it is. It’s not suitable for younger children, but I think it’s one of the most moral musicals in existence. It affirms the necessity of personal morality and the relationship between how we treat each other on an individual level and how societies are structured. I think it’s one of the most moral and life-affirming musicals there actually is.”
Several students have featured roles. “One of the best known is the role of the emcee, master of ceremonies, at this nightclub where Sally works and where much of the action takes place,” Rossmiller explained. “The Emcee is played by Mark Harris, a junior music major from Belle Vernon. He has been in a number of shows at Saint Vincent and is a very talented young man. This is one of his dream roles. He has wanted to play this role ever since he first heard the music for Cabaret, so he’s really thrilled about it and I’m really looking forward to seeing his performance. The structure of Cabaret is interesting. Some parts of the musical are handled in a very traditional musical theatre fashion, people are talking and then they reach a moment of emotion and they break out into song. But a great many of the numbers in Cabaret are actually supposed to be numbers in this nightclub where Sally works. And many of those numbers are indirect commentary on what is going on in the plot. It’s a very clever way to structure a musical. There are these numbers that are perfectly justified, stand-alone Cabaret in 1930s Berlin entertainment numbers. But the audience will perceive that they are sort of the playwright’s way of commenting on what the characters are going through and doing to each other. So the Emcee is a leading figure at the Cabaret but he also, throughout the musical, is sort of a go between, between the audience and the cast. He stands between them, he observes and comments on what’s going on in the story.”
“Sally Bowles, one of two female leads, is being played by Maria Kegg, a freshman arts administration major from Irwin,” Rossmiller said. “She was in Babe the Sheep Pig, which I directed last fall, and she did a lovely job. It was a very difficult casting process actually; we saw a number of people who could have played all of the lead roles. But I think Maria is going to do a beautiful job. She’s very excited.”
“Fraulein Schneider, the boarding house owner who for my money has the most tragic love affair in the show, is played by Casey Ciocco, a senior criminology, law and society major from Latrobe,” she said. “Casey is a talented actor and also a very talented director. She’s done some directing in student club shows. I think she has a lot of talent in that direction and I’m looking forward to what she does with this role. It’s a difficult role for a young person to play. It’s supposed to be a woman who’s about 60 and it can be tough for people in their early 20s to imagine what that’s like. But Casey’s very imaginative and thoughtful, and I’m sure she’s going to do a beautiful job.”
“Her partner is Herr Schultz, and he’s being played by Jordan Ralph, a junior English major from Irwin,” she said. “It’s another difficult role for a young man to play, a gentleman in his late 50s. Jordan is also an intelligent, thoughtful actor. He’s been in shows for several years now and I know he’s going to do a beautiful job. It’s a very challenging role, but one of the most charming in the show. He’s a very decent, good man who just wants to do the right thing and doesn’t understand why being Jewish should prevent him from doing whatever he wants because this is Germany where Jews have always been welcome.”
“Cliff Bradshaw, a young American who comes to Berlin, is being played by Brandon Snyder, a senior biology major from Laughlintown,” Rossmiller noted. “He was a very talented dancer among other things in last year’s Pajama Game. He’s also been in some Company student-directed musicals. I’ve actually known Brandon for years now since he was a little kid. When he was 11 or 12 he was in the production of The Nerd that the Summer Theatre did. He played the young boy and I met him then. I was delighted that he decided to come to Saint Vincent, and I’ve had the pleasure of working with him on a few things. So I’m very happy that he can do this.”
Other members of the cast include Abigail Sugrue, a sophomore music major from Export, as Fraulein Kost; Cameron Smith, a junior history major from Kittanning, as Ernst Ludwig; Taylor Maldonado, a freshman English major from Fayette City, and Megan Paullet, a freshman early childhood education major from Vandergrift, as Two Ladies; Noelle Patrick, a freshman biology major from Patton, Maggie Bahm, a freshman political science major from North East and Stacie Sikora, a senior English major from Pittsburgh (15210), as Telephone Girls; Mickey Orange, a sophomore biology major from Latrobe, as Bobby, German Customs Officer, Sailor and Tomorrow Belongs To Me Lead Waiter; Mitchell Magiera, a sophomore political science major from Jefferson Hills, as Max, Waiter and Sailor; Steve Sherman, a senior political science major from Butler, as Maitre D’, Waiter and Sailor; Tim Diehl, a freshman music performance major from Lititz, as Waiter, Sailor and Victor; Ian Homer, a freshman psychology major from Allison Park, as Waiter, Taxi Man and Nazi Guard; and Jon Nace, a freshman political science major from Masontown, as Assistant Customs Officer and Nazi Guard.
The ensemble (Kit Kat Klub performers, patrons, and engagement party guests) includes Victoria Copenheaver, a freshman history education major from Pittsburgh (15234); Annie Rifilato, a freshman early childhood education major from Johnstown; Abigail Sugrue, Taylor Maldonado, Megan Paullet, Noelle Patrick, Maggie Bahm, Stacie Sikora, Mickey Orange, Mitchell Magiera, Steve Sherman, Tim Diehl, Ian Homer and Jon Nace.
General admission reservations are available in advance by contacting Colleen Rossmiller at 724 805-2229. Tickets ($10) will also be available at the door on the day of each performance.
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