Life is a Cabaret old chum

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Now at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, one America’s most enduring musicals Cabaret has returned. It is flamboyant and begins with a joyous “Willkommen” by the Kit Kat Klub and its Emcee [Randy Harrison]. Soon an aspiring American novelist Clifford Bradshaw [Lee Aaron Rosen] arrives in Berlin and meets the lovely British girl and star of the Kit Kat Klub Fraulein Sally Bowles [Andrea Goss].

What unfolds is a tale of uncontrolled free spirit and debauchery sprinkled with some elements of impossible love. Cliff and Sally Bowles move in together and Sally becomes pregnant. Fraulein Schneider [Shannon Cochran] begins to fall in love with fruit vendor Herr Schultz [Mark Nelson]. The happiness cannot and does not last because the year is 1931 and this is the beginnings of what the world comes to know as Nazi Germany.

Throughout Act I of Cabaret the story is of an anything goes society in Berlin at the famed Kit Kat Klub with its eager to please Kit Kat Klub girls and boys and its haunting Emcee. But the world around them is rapidly starting to fall apart. The point is driven home at the close of the first act when one of the Kit Kat Klub entertainers takes center stage, bends over and reveals swastika on his or her ass.

Act II reveals the rapidly emerging destruction orchestrated by the Nazis in the early 1930s. The effect it has on the individuals who lived then and there is made painfully clear. Fraulein Schneider returns her engagement present to Cliff and Sally explaining that her marriage to Herr Schultz has been called off because Herr Schultz is a Jew.

Even the Kit Kat Klub is pointing out through song just how easily and unthinkingly so many of the people of Germany during that time were led to deep prejudice against the Jewish people. But the dark march of destruction just keeps on getting stronger.

Seeing the dark storm ahead Cliff tries but fails to convince Sally Bowles to return with him to America. But Sally is unmoved by the politics of the day and wants to remain at the Kit Kat Klub. Heartbroken Cliff prepares to flee when approached by Ernst Ludwig [Patrick Vaill] and offered another courier job which Cliff rejects. Ultimately Cliff is beaten by Ernst’s Nazi bodyguards.

Cabaret is a story of transformation and evolution and a revelation of just how easily people can and have been twisted into the hell of unmitigated hatred. In many ways it can be a difficult show to watch. But frankly given our current times it probably needs to be seen now more than ever. The music and dancing and stage craft all deliver the message in a far more palatable fashion than a college text book but it is no less important.

Cabaret is showing now through August 7th 2016 at The Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, California. Show times are Tuesdays through Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 1:00 p.m. and 6:300 p.m. Reservations may be made and tickets purchased by calling 800-982-2787. I recommend this as an adult’s only show.