Theater presents risqué ‘Cabaret’ play

Sarah Casagrande, Campus Carrier Entertainment Editor

Junior AnnaBeth Crittenden was shocked when she found out that the Berry College Theatre Company would perform the 1966 Broadway musical “Cabaret.”

“It is a little risqué,” Crittenden said. “But it adds to the whole plotline. It’s not just sexy for the sake of being sexy.”

Crittenden is one of the 17 students cast for the musical, which will premiere on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. in the E.H. Young Theater. The musical involves seven main actors, 10 ensemble actors and 17 crew members.

“Cabaret” is set in Berlin, Germany in 1931, just as the Nazis begin to rise to power. The plot revolves around 19-year-old Sally Bowles, an English cabaret performer played by Crittenden, and her life at the local Kit Kat Club where she performs. The musical was also made into a film in 1972.

“It’s basically about her innocence and naiveness amidst the rise of the Nazis to power,” Crittenden said. “She doesn’t care at all because it has nothing to do with her.”

About 30 students, ranging from football players to chemistry majors, auditioned for the play in November. In order to prepare for the musical, the cast researched cabaret culture and memorized their lines over winter break.

“I think that it will bring interesting conversations and thoughts,” director Hannah Hammond, visiting assistant professor of theater, said. “It’s a little on the edgier side for Berry.”

Within the musical, each character has their own interpretation of the Nazis and the resulting changes in society. While Crittenden’s character is naive and carefree, junior Alec Leeseberg’s character, the Emcee, is more deeply affected by the turmoil.

“There’s an internal struggle between the Emcee and Berlin,” Leeseberg said. “He’s literally the personification of the city of Berlin throughout the play, so his character and behavior represent what’s going on.”

“Cabaret” is also unique because it will feature a pit orchestra of about 10 students led by financial aid counselor and Berry alumna Grace McMullen (15C). Over winter break, while the cast memorized their lines, the musicians memorized their sheet music.

“[The orchestra] fits with the feel of the show because you’re in a club, and in that time period they would’ve had a live band while the performers went on stage,” McMullen said.

Both Crittenden and Leeseberg have performed before, but they still do not know how audiences will react to the musical.

“I’m more nervous about interacting with the audience because it’s more of a wild card,” Leeseberg said. “I tell a lot of jokes which could be received in any number of ways.”

“I think I enjoyed the final product most, and how the storyline develops through the music, dance and acting,” Crittenden said. “We’ve got a good cast and a good creative team.”

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. from Feb. 18-20 and Feb. 25-27, and at 2 p.m. on Feb. 21 and 28.

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