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WVU presents Broadway musical ‘Cabaret'

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MORGANTOWN, WV — "Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome!" The Tony-award winning musical "Cabaret," will be "sitting pretty" in the West Virginia University Creative Arts Center Oct. 30 and Nov. 1-3 in the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre.

The seedy Kit Kat Klub, with its enigmatic Master of Ceremonies, is a den of decadent celebration where a young American writer, Cliff Bradshaw, meets British cabaret singer, Sally Bowles. Their unique relationship and the carefree partying of 1930s Berlin masks personal and political conflicts, all reflected in songs such as "Willkommen," "Two Ladies," "Tomorrow Belongs to Me," "What Would You Do?" and of course, "Cabaret."

This Tony Award-winning musical, with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Joe Masteroff, is set in Germany as the Nazi Party closes in on its rise to power. It is based on Christopher Isherwood's "Goodbye to Berlin" about his time spent during the Weimer Republic. Isherwood's novel was subsequently adapted into the play then the film, "I Am A Camera" and ultimately, the musical "Cabaret." This staging of "Cabaret" is the 1987 revival, which balances out the storylines of the Kit Kat Klub, Sally Bowles and Clifford Bradshaw, as well as the burgeoning romance between Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz.

Professor Lee Blair is the director of "Cabaret" which reveals a modern sentiment through the atmosphere of the Kit Kat Klub and its patrons' seeming indifference to the changing political climate: their attitudes betray the fact that everyone in Germany will be personally affected by the changes to come and that "the party" will soon be over, if it's not already.

"Germany was in a state of political upheaval during the Weimar Republic in the years following World War I," said Blair. "There was a plethora of political parties that jockeyed for power: Communists, Socialists, Social Democrats and the Nazis. There was rampant unemployment, terrible inflation and a drop in basic living standards. At the same time, Berlin itself was a cultural hotbed for intellectual thinking, artistic movements and sexual experimentation. Cinema, music, theater and dance all thrived during this time; perhaps a response to the realistic instabilities of Germany. 

"‘Cabaret' shows one story of that time through the eyes of our idealistic American writer, Clifford Bradshaw, his relationship with the British chanteuse, Sally Bowles, and his encounters with the Berliners of this time. Sometimes I think Berlin of the early 1930s was like New York City in the late 1970s—a magnet for excess in art, culture, fashion, celebrity, sex and drugs. You could compare the fictional Kit Kat Klub to Studio 54 and not be far off the mark in many ways."

Musical direction for "Cabaret" is by Professor Robert Thieme, director of the WVU Opera Theatre. Thieme was the musical director of last spring's lavish opera "Carmen," and going from Spain to a seedy night club in Berlin offers interesting new opportunities for both the School of Theatre & Dance and the School of Music, partnering once again on this production.

"Cabaret" features students Nora Perone as Sally Bowles, Bryan Staggers as Clifford Bradshaw and MFA Acting students Vincent Pelligrino as the emcee, Brianne Taylor as Fraulein Schneider and Beau Harris as Herr Schultz.

This show contains adult situations and language. Parental guidance is advised.

"Cabaret" is in the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m. (no show on Halloween night) and continues Nov. 1-2 at 7:30 p.m., with a closing matinee on Nov. 3 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for senior citizens and WVU students. There is a group rate of $15 per ticket for groups of 10 or more.

Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com, the CAC or Mountainlair box offices, or by calling 304-293-SHOW. For information on the production, visit theatre.wvu.edu call304-293-2020, or email theatre@mail.wvu.edu.