‘Cabaret’ brings romance, song to UT Arlington

Doomed romances and personal identity in a changing world take center stage in “Cabaret,” the Tony Award-winning musical presented by the Department of Theatre Arts Oct. 15-16 and 21-24.

The musical, directed by department chair Kim LaFontaine, is the first production of the Theatre Arts’ 2010-2011 season.

“The story is about people searching for themselves in a changing world,” LaFontaine said, “how we cope when the world is in disarray. It’s about finding a place to anchor ourselves.”

Mallory Nunez, left, and Britney Hudgins rehearse a scene in "Cabaret."

Set in 1929 Berlin as the Nazis begin their rise to power, “Cabaret” focuses on the nightlife at the provocative Kit Kat Klub, its star performer Sally Bowles (played by senior Theatre Arts major Britney Hudgins), and her relationship with the young American writer Cliff Bradshaw (portrayed by freshman Theatre Arts major Kyle Sharp).

A sub-plot involves the doomed romance between German boardinghouse owner Fräulein Schneider (senior Music major Tracy Davis) and her elderly suitor Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit vendor (freshman Theatre Arts major Matthew Keller).  Overseeing the action is the Master of Ceremonies at the Kit Kat Klub (senior Theatre Arts major Jackie Pickard, who serves as a constant metaphor for the threatening state of late Weimar Germany throughout the show.

“It’s also a historical piece,” LaFontaine said. “Unlike other plays, this one looks at a specific time and subject matter. The times change and so does the perspective of the American writer who gets caught up in it. He realizes in the end he needs to get out, that there’s no place for him there.”

“Cabaret” is based on John Van Druten’s 1951 play I Am a Camera, which in turn was adapted from the novel Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood. The musical’s book is by Joe Masteroff, with music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. Anne Healy, Senior Lecturer of Theatre Arts, is music director and Dan Cavanaugh, Assistant Director of Jazz Studies, is conductor. Persis Ann Forster, of Miss Persis Studio of Dance in Arlington, serves as the show’s choreographer.

In anticipation of the musical, Theatre Arts hosted a series of lectures to explore the history and social context of the story. Professors from Theatre Arts, History, English and Communication participated in the September lectures. LaFontaine said the mini-lecture series reflected UT Arlington’s commitment to interdisciplinary education.

“UT Arlington has taken a decidedly integrated approach to learning,” said LaFontaine. “We wanted to bring together different departments in the University to inform as well as entertain our audience.”

The musical will be presented in the UT Arlington Mainstage Theatre in the Fine Arts Building. Performances are October 15, 16, 21, 22, and 23 at 8 p.m., and October 24 at 2:30 p.m.  Tickets are $11 for general public, and $8 for senior citizens, students with ID, and UT Arlington faculty and staff.

LaFontaine said he’s excited about opening the box office season with a musical for the first time. Part of the show’s run will coincide with Parents Weekend, Oct. 22-23.

For tickets/reservations, group rates, or further information, please contact the UT Arlington Department of Theatre Arts Box Office at (817) 272-2669.

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