Area Stage Company is set to present one of the most ambitious shows in its history, an original production of Cabaret, directed by the innovative John Rodaz, the troupe's founder and Artistic Director.
Cabaret follows the success of ASC's dynamic and critically acclaimed production of Shrek the Musical this spring. Cabaret opens August 10th and runs through August 26th, with performances Friday to Sunday at Area Stage Company at the Riviera Plaza in Coral Gables.
A story of love, ambition, and moral decay set at the decadent Kit Kat Klub during the rise of the Nazis in 1930’s Berlin, Cabaret features music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb and book by Joe Masteroff.
Though Rodaz is inspired by the iconic 1972 Bob Fosse-directed film starring Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey, as well as the highly successful Broadway revivals headed by Sam Mendes, he is determined to make this Cabaret his own.
"Cabaret broke the mold of what musicals can do," says Rodaz, who is also designing the set and lighting. "We want to do it completely differently. That’s the point of theatre – saying something new."
The set will amplify the show's innovative theatrical structure, with the satirical nightclub numbers paralleling the love stories of singer Sally Bowles and her naïve American lover, Cliff, and the elderly Fraulein Schneider and the Jewish vendor Herr Schultz. The nightclub stage, dressing rooms, and turbulent Berlin streets will all be part of a multi-layered, multi-dimensional set, putting multiple worlds next to each other.
Add a 17-member cast and six onstage musicians, and the scale of Cabaret marks a significant step up for Rodaz, for ASC’s professional productions, and for the growing cadre of young actors fostered at the troupe’s Conservatory and starting to find a place in ASC's professional shows. Sally Bowles will be portrayed by former student Marilyn Caserta, who played the part as a young teenager in an early conservatory production of Cabaret, and who has returned from a professional career in New York to reprise the part. The role of the Emcee goes to Giorgio Volpe, a chameleonic actor and Vine and YouTube star, while Cliff will be played by Ryan Bauta, critically praised for his performance in the title role of Shrek; both are veterans of numerous ASC conservatory shows. The orchestra includes Shrek musical director Katie Duerr, who also plays the prostitute Fraulein Kost. Choreography will be by ASC faculty member and professional dancer, Rebecca Ashton. Though she, too, is inspired by Fosse’s iconic, original choreography, she will re-imagine the musical numbers for this production.
As groundbreaking and entertaining as the original Cabaret was, Rodaz believes its enduring power stems from its underlying message of love struggling against evil. "If you let the darkness of the world creep in, the biggest victim is love," he says. "There's an opportunity for love to connect people from different places. If darkness wins, it corrupts that, and it does in the show. It's a warning to the future."
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