TDAA to close out season with ‘Cabaret’

Southern Utah University’s Department of Theatre, Dance, and Arts Administration will be holding their final production of the 2022-23 season on April 14, 16, 17 and 21 at 7:30 p.m. with matinee performances on April 15 and 22 at 2 p.m. “Cabaret,” directed by Britannia Howe, has a book by Joe Masteroff, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fredd Ebb. The show is free to SUU students.

“Cabaret,” which is based on the play “I Am a Camera” by John Van Druten and the book “Goodbye to Berlin” by Christopher Isherwood, follows American writer Clifford Bradshaw as he moves to Berlin in 1929 to work on a novel. Cliff becomes entangled in the nightlife of the Kit Kat Klub and cabaret performer Sally Bowles as the Nazi party begins to take power in Germany.

“In this production, what you’ll see different from other productions of ‘Cabaret’ is that people use their art in a way to combat what is happening politically but also in a response to the trauma that they feel is happening within their world,” said Howe. 

The rehearsal process for “Cabaret” was one that prioritized the importance of the story and having respect for the issues covered in the show.

“We’ve had really big, tough conversations and talked about what the work for the show is,” said Assistant Director Eleora Ryan. “We’ve made the work important to us in a way that hopefully shows and makes the work important to everyone that sees it, too.”

“Cabaret” also fostered a sense of community within the cast, allowing the actors to grow as performers and challenge themselves in new ways. 

“I think we just have such a tight-knit cast,” said Avery Peterson, who plays Sally Bowles. “Not only that, but I feel like it’s helped give me confidence as a performer because Sally is so different than I am.”

From a technical standpoint, “Cabaret” is very complex, with automations, lights and other effects throughout the show.

“There’s a lot of different moving parts that take a lot of communication and a lot of planning,” said Stage Manager Dora Watkins. “Putting it all together has been really challenging.”

Despite “Cabaret” taking place in the pre-World War II era, the show has themes that are still incredibly relevant today, with anti-semitism once again rising in society.

“It’s definitely something we need to be kind of aware of and have brought to light that these things, while they were really horrible in hindsight, are happening right now,” said Watkins.

For more information on “Cabaret,” visit the website made by the show’s dramaturg, Bee Manesse.

“‘Cabaret’ fundamentally changed my outlook because I was very burnt out of fighting for things that I believed in,” said Rockwell MacGillivray, who plays Ernst Ludwig. “This show reinvigorated that. Cliff says, ‘If you’re not against all this, then you might as well be for it,’ and that is also extremely prevalent right now. It shouldn’t be, but it is.”

Article by: Tessa Cheshire
Photos courtesy of Eleora Ryan