JCC Uncommoners To Present ‘Cabaret’

I was very excited to share several media conversations with Bob Schlick, Artistic Director of JCC Uncommoners production of “Cabaret” which opens Friday.

“This is a huge project for our company,” states Schlick “however, the students (and cast) have come through with outstanding dedication which has made the process go very smoothly.”

Steven Gustafson, technical director, and Schlick, decided to resurrect the 27-foot diameter turntable to facilitate scene changes quickly and efficiently. Most proscenium openings are 36-40 inches in width so the turntable that is motorized and computer driven takes up most of the deck. Gustafson is confident that it will move in synchrony to the music tempo.

“We’re trying something brand new for this show,” explains Schick. They will use tracked sliding panels that contain a stage element – window, doors or solid wall to depict scenes that complement the unit set of the seedy Kit Kat Klub. The audience will be integrated into the theater experience with hanging chandeliers and a lighted runway that bring the action into close proximity.

“Cabaret” is a musical based on a book written by Joe Masteroff, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. This musical opened on Broadway and has featured many headliners on stage and screen, not limited to Liza Minnelli as Sally Bolles and Neil Patrick Harris as The Emcee. I had the pleasure of seeing Harris on Broadway in that role and enjoyed the music including “Willkommen,” “Maybe This Time,” “Money,” “Cabaret” and many more. Mary Anne Harp will direct the pit elevated in a loft above the stage where her conduction will be monitored in projection at the back of the house for vocal pickups and cutoffs. Schlick and Gustafson anticipate balance and EQ mixing the orchestra and the talented voices in this production.

“I have rated the show ‘R,’ for mature audiences because I don’t want anyone to be surprised at the subject matter,” states Schlick. “There is no nudity, but the actions and mannerisms of the performers in the Klub are pretty raw at times. So this isn’t something children should see. The show pretty accurately depicts the kinds of behavior that would have been going on in a club like this in 1920s Berlin, but more importantly, there is a very strong and meaningful message that the show ultimately tells.”

A major portion of the plot revolves around the young English Cabaret performer Sally Bowles and her relationship with an American writer Cliff Bradshaw.

A sub-plot involves the doomed romance between German boarding house owner Fraulein Schneider and her elderly suitor Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit vendor.

Overseeing the action of the play is the Master of Ceremonies at the Kit Kat Klub the club serving as a metaphor for ominous political developments in late Weimar Germany.

“Cabaret” features JCC students Gordon Brooks, Joshua Carlson, William Gilroy, Emily Hanson, Hillary Hornyak, Chloe Kilmartin, Brayton Lydell, Erros Quinones, Raelyn Robinson and Taylor Smetska. Also in the cast are Haeli Augenstein, Dylan Carlson, Michael Correy, Lauren Engallina, Jessica Hochstine, and Tristan May.

The musical will play Friday, Saturday and Nov. 11, 12, 18 and 19, at 8 p.m. in the Scharmann Theatre. There will be one matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Nov. 13.

Tickets may be purchased by calling 338-1187 or online at: campusstore.sunyjcc.edu. Ticket pricing is as follows: $15 preferred seating, $10 general seating and $7 restricted view. FSA cardholders and senior citizens receive $2 off any ticket when paid in person.