Wright State Theatre presents ‘Cabaret’ Nov. 3–19 in Festival Playhouse

In a reimagined production, “Cabaret” returns to the Festival Playhouse stage in the Creative Arts Center from Nov. 3 to Nov. 19.

Wright State University Theatre will present the classic Broadway hit musical “Cabaret” Nov. 3–19 in the Festival Playhouse in the Creative Arts Center.

Performances are Nov. 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 17 and 18 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 5, 12, 18 and 19 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $23 for people 60 and older and $15 for students. Tickets can be purchased at the Creative Arts Center box office between noon and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday or at wrightliberalarts.universitytickets.com.

Following the 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, Nov. 18, Gary Schmidt, Ph.D., dean of the College of Liberal Arts, will give a special talk about cultural and political developments in the Weimar Republic that preceded the rise of the Nazis to power in 1933. Tickets are not required to attend Schmidt’s talk.

Schmidt will address in particular women’s emancipation, LGBTQ+ rights and antisemitism. He will also explore similarities and differences between the rise of fascism in Europe in the 1930s and support for ultra-right-wing movements across the globe today.

In a reimagined production, “Cabaret” returns to the Festival Playhouse stage under the direction and choreography of Greg Hellems, head of musical theatre.

Filled with classic hits like “Cabaret,” “Maybe This Time” and “Money,” this classic musical will entertain and illuminate the dark corners of our culture.

The Broadway hit by John Kander and Fred Ebbs follows the rise of fascism in the 1930s and its inevitable costs to the German people. It focuses on the nascent relationship between Kit Kat Club singer Sally Bowles and American novelist Clifford Bradshaw. As Sally and Clifford connect amid the disturbing rise of Nazism, the seedy Emcee comments on the world inside and outside the infamous club.

“Cabaret” is based on the play by John Van Druten and the stories of Christopher Isherwood. It opened on Broadway in 1966 and became a box office hit, running for 1,166 performances. The award-winning musical inspired numerous subsequent productions and the 1972 film of the same name.

Hellems said one of the main reasons Wright State Theatre selected “Cabaret” for the 2023–24 season is its relevancy.

“We have only to look at recent headlines to find ‘Cabaret’s’ relevance in 2023,” he said. “A hundred years after the events of the play totalitarian rhetoric and ideals are seeing a resurgence. Across the globe and here in the United States, there are new endeavors to qualify national identity, increased attacks on, and the scapegoating of, minority groups, and the visible evidence of the dangers of a blindly following populace. One particular aspect of our examination is through the lens of gender identity as it existed in the Weimar Republic.”

In addition to his role in Wright State’s School of Fine and Performing Arts, Hellems is a professional director and choreographer. He most recently directed “Sister Act” at Wright State in the fall of 2022 and “Shipwrecked: An Entertainment” in the Human Race Theatre Company’s current season.

“Cabaret” is musical directed by Wade Russo, instructor of musical theatre, with scenic design by guest artist Michael Brewer; costume design by guest artist Jeremy Floyd; lighting design by Matthew Benjamin, professor of theatre; sound design by James Dunlap; and dialect work by Deborah Thomas, professor of theatre.

On the stage, “Cabaret” features Anderson Rothwell as the Emcee, Tommy Thams as Clifford Bradshaw, Kendra Lodewyk as Sally Bowles, Kyle Channell as Ernst Ludwig, Julien Goldenstein as Herr Schultz, Bella Marcigliano as Fraulein Schneider, Lily Rowan as Fraulein Kost, Eamon Mitchell as Max, Aiden Edwards as Bobby, Orion Carter as Victor, Toby Hattemer as Rudy/Hans, Arianna Schrage as Lulu, Ciara McCarthy as Fritzie, Claire Northcut as Rosie, Lindsay Bates as Texas, Megan Murray as Frenchie and Sara Tuohy as Helga. Gracie Harper and Ariana Bush play KitKat Girls, and the swings are Emma Edwards, Eoin Collins and Emma McCaslin.

2023–24 theatre season continues

Wright State Theatre’s season will continue in 2024 with “By the Bog of Cats” Feb. 2–11 in the Festival Playhouse. The season also includes:

  • “A Doll’s House,” Feb. 15–18, Herbst Theatre
  • “A Doll’s House, Part 2,” Feb. 22–25, Herbst Theatre
  • “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” March 15–31, Festival Playhouse

View the schedule online.

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