Arts & Entertainment

‘Cabaret’ Captures Decadence of 1930’s Berlin in Stunning Chatham Players Production

c772f6080921dd6df0b8_johnandkatherine2.jpg
John Sechrist and Katherine Le Fevre. Credits: Howard Fischer
6807ec04ef8eb82abd8b_katherine_-_sally.jpg
Katherine Le Fevre as Sally Bowles. Credits: Howard Fischer
c772f6080921dd6df0b8_johnandkatherine2.jpg
CHATHAM, NJ – Kander and Ebb’s “Cabaret” has had  a couple of durable Broadway runs and a hit movie with Liza Minelli, Joel Grey and a brilliant supporting cast.
 
In Chatham, another talented cast delivers this play’s powerful message of anti-Semitism (and anti-gay attitudes) on the eve of  Nazism in the Berlin of 1929-1930.
 
 
Based on John van Druten’s “I Am a Camera,” the plot swirls around Sally Bowles, a singer from England who is appearing at the risqué Kit Kat Klub. Katherine Le Fevre is the sultry singer who falls in love with the handsome Cliff Bradshaw, a writer from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Steve Sharkey is her appealing boyfriend. He can see the writing on the wall as the Nazis gain more control, but Sally is oblivious to that reality.
 
But the real centerpiece of this production is the androgynous Emcee, stunningly played by John Sechrist. Sechrist has played this part before, according to his credits, and he brings a sensual, sly interpretation to the role.

 
Other standouts are Pat Wry as Fraulein Schneider and Steven Nitka as Herr Schultz. She runs a boarding house and he has a fruit store. They’ve both led lonely lives and have now found a loving relationship with each other. Their songs together provide a moving contrast to the raucous nightclub numbers.
 
Also very good is Stacey Petricha as Fraulein Kost, with her series of German Navy boyfriends. When she and Chip Prestera as Ernst Ludwig lead the chorus in “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” at the end of Act I, we begin to see the throbbing, military takeover of what will become Nazi Germany. 
 
Special mention should be made of Sean McManus as the Young Boy who introduces the song as a Hitler Youth, in a sweet, innocent clarity. It would have been a treat to hear more from him.
 
Music from “Cabaret” is familiar, yet still carries quite a wallop, from “Willkommen” to “Mein Herr” and the haunting “Maybe This Time,” sung by Sally. Throughout, there is a frightening undercurrent of what we know is to come. Especially devastating is “If You Could See Her” between the Emcee and a chorus girl dressed as an ape. All the music, in fact, is smoothly integrated into the plot, with much of it taking place in the club. The savage mood of some of the songs contrasts with an almost sickening innocence in other numbers.
 
The Kit Kat chorus girls were sexy and precise, especially  in Act II’s “Entr’acte/Kick Line” with their goose stepping maneuvers.
 
The Kit Kat Girls Orchestra, on a platform at the rear of the stage, is directed by Jill Finnerty and beautifully augments the singers.
 
Jeffrey Fiorello directed this heady production, with costumes by Fran Harrison and lighting by Richard Hennessy. Some of the actors could have projected more clearly in their dialogue, particularly in the small space where an audience absorbs sound.
 
The full house on opening night was testimony to this outstanding production. Performances continue at The Chatham Playhouse, 10 North Passaic Street in Chatham, through May 19.  For tickets call 973-635-7363 or visit chathamplayers.org

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Chatham

Upcoming Events

Tue, July 17, 10:00 AM

Healing the Children, new providence

Summit Old Guard

Giving Back

Fri, August 10, 6:00 PM

Museum of Early Trades and Crafts, Madison

Downtown Concert Series: Mama D & The Vexations

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_8ab0795d7266f1cbd501_9f7a7a4ff4becf97e74c_regwalk_skyrw_9.30.18_email-1

Sun, September 30, 8:00 AM

College of Saint Elizabeth, Morristown

Walk to Fight Alzheimer's

Giving Back Health & Wellness

A Week at the Library of The Chathams Monday, July 9 – Sunday, July 15, 2018

Please note that the library will be closed on Sundays now through Labor Day weekend

PROGRAMS AND EVENTS

Our summer program is in full swing.  This week we are starting some of our most popular children’s programs, Chess for Kids and sewing classes with Miss Polly.  Children will also enjoy a visit from a special guest, Queen Maria Isabella from Medieval Times.  Teens ...

Longtime Chatham Resident Passes the Torch to Current Residents

July 13, 2018

To the Editor,

I moved to Chatham from Ohio in 1961 and left just over a year or so ago. My daughters went through the school system and one of them still lives there with her son.

Clearly, we found the Library and local educational opportunities to our liking. 

When it came to giving back to the community, I chose to support the Library and served as a Board member for 15 ...

Chatham Residents Corry, Garavente, Myler, Radigan and Robbins are 2018 Graduates of Loyola University Maryland

July 14, 2018

BALTIMORE, MD -- Loyola University Maryland recognized the class of 2018 at its 166th Commencement Exercises on May 19, 2018, which included Chatham residents Bridget Corry, who received a BA degree in Communication; Elizabeth Garavente, who received a BBA degree in Business Administration; Jacqueline Myler, who received a BA degree in Communication; Leigh Radigan, who received a ...

5 Things You Should Know About Your Air Conditioner

How an air conditioner works

Air conditioners use refrigeration to cool indoor air. When a liquid converts to a gas, it absorbs heat. This process is called phase conversion. Air conditioners use phase conversion by forcing refrigerants to evaporate and condense over and over in a closed system of coils. 

What air conditioner filters do

Filters remove particles from the air, keeping ...