‘Cabaret:’ flashy musical to make ‘huge political statement’

Lauren Harksen


While making the musical “Cabaret,” the cast and crew gave insight on how it parallels today’s political turmoil.

“Cabaret” is a musical based in Berlin during the rise of Adolf Hitler in the German government.

“Right now, people really want change (in the country), and that parallels with the time of the play in Germany,” said Taylor Montgomery, who plays lead Cliff Bradshaw. Montgomery is a sophomore theater major from Troy.

The Germans wanted change because they felt oppressed by the government. Large groups of Americans today feel the same way, according to Montgomery.

Montgomery’s character struggles to find acceptance from the world. He relates with his character, Cliff, by finding this approval through relationships.

Because of his lack of life experience, it is difficult to connect on an emotional level with the story.

Tommy Newman, director of “Cabaret” and a theater lecturer from Hawkinsville, Georgia, agrees with Montgomery.

“The young people (in the cast) aged 18-23 have limited experience,” Newman said. “But we have a really smart cast that can empathize.”

He compared the musical to the image of a flame or a match that has been struck: “It’s a cultural hotbed.”

The entire show begins full of glitz and glamour, and by the end, it is full of decay and ashes. It is a tragedy that sheds light on what is actually important in the world.

“You have your relatable love story and entertainment, but you also get a message for the audience,” said Melissa Dillon, student stage manager from Burlington, Texas. Dillon is a triple major in theater, graphic design and business.

Dillon doesn’t want to spoil any scenes, but said she hopes people become curious to search for themselves. Though it may take longer for some than others, everyone will get something from it.

As the stage manager, Dillon is the communication between the cast and crew, and the go-to person. When the director’s job is finished, she takes over.

“I look forward to coming to rehearsals with the full company,” Dillon said. “When we have the whole team, it’s my favorite. We all come together and put in so much hard work and effort while having fun.”

Because “Cabaret” is a musical, singing and dancing are involved. Two of the dancers, Jarvis Williams and Neely Aaron, agree that getting to know more of the theatrical side of the dance industry has been a great experience. 

Williams is a senior dance major from Phenix City. Aaron is a sophomore dance major from Nashville, Tennessee.

Aaron said she has the most difficulty learning to sing while dancing.

“It is something I have to adapt to,” she said.

“There is French, German, German-Yiddish, English-British and American dialect,” Newman said. “Lots of language challenges to overcome.”

The cast has difficulties to overcome as a group and as individuals. With each process, the cast and crew learn something different about themselves.

“(I’ve learned) that I am very patient,” Williams said. “Sometimes things change, and we don’t have a plan and that’s OK.”

“I am learning that there is no right or wrong way to live your life,” said Mallory Wintz, a sophomore communication major with a theater track from Jacksonville, Florida. She plays Sally Bowls, the female lead of “Cabaret.”

The main premise of the musical is of Sally Bowls and her life in the Cabaret. While her life is consumed with sex, drugs and alcohol, she chooses to ignore the real world.

Many who attend the Cabaret are Jewish, gay or outsiders looking for a way to escape. They are oblivious to the outside world until it catches up and hurdles them into their worst nightmare.

The cast and crew of “Cabaret” said they wish to see a packed house for their performance Oct. 27-30, one week before the presidential election.

“It’s a huge political statement,” Aaron said. “That’s why we are doing it now.”

The musical will take place in Trojan Center Theatre at 7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Student tickets are available for $5 at the Trojan Center box office with an ID.

“Get ready to be uncomfortable,” Wintz said.

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