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Way Off Broadway presents Iowa premiere of ‘Cabaret’

Mar 21, 2013
Courtesy of: WAY OFF BROADWAY Nationally known pop music singer Lyric Benson will make her Way Off Broadway debut as Sally Bowles in a new version of “Cabaret.”

Way Off Broadway, Iowa’s only professional musical theatre company and the residential company at the Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts, announces its Iowa premiere production, the newest version of “Cabaret,” which won the Tony for Best Revival.

“Cabaret” is a musical based on a book written by Christopher Isherwood, with music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. The 1966 Broadway production became a hit and spawned a 1972 film as well as numerous subsequent productions including a major “re-think” revival in 1998, which WOB will present.

“Cabaret” is based on John Van Druten’s 1951 play, “I Am a Camera,” which in turn was adapted from the 1939 short novel “Goodbye to Berlin” by Isherwood.

Set in 1931 Berlin as the Nazis are rising to power, it focuses on nightlife at the seedy Kit Kat Klub and revolves around the 19-year-old English cabaret performer Sally Bowles and her relationship with the young American writer Cliff Bradshaw. A sub-plot involves the doomed romance between German boarding house owner Fräulein Schneider and her elderly suitor Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit vendor.Overseeing the action is the master of ceremonies at the Kit Kat Klub, which serves as a constant metaphor for the tenuous and threatening state of late Weimar Germany throughout the show.

The 1967 original production won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical; and the Bob Fosse movie won eight Oscars, including Best Director. The 1998 version, which is what WOB is producing in its Iowa premiere, won four Tony’s, including Best Revival.

Nationally known pop music singer Lyric Benson will make her WOB debut as Sally Bowles, and Jonathan Christopher will return after performing in WOB’s tour of “Plaid Tidings’ this past fall.

Other WOB favorites include Robert Kemp as Cliff, Margaret Clair as Frau Schneider, Brendan Thomas as Herr Schultz, George Kelley as Ernst and Natalie Saunders as Frau Kost. The Kit Kat Girls are played by Madeline Sloat, Noel Wotherspoon, Pricilla Marlar, Rebecca Frasier, Sara Hawthorne and Nina Benjamin. Shawn David Walker and Brian Graziani are German Sailors, Mitchel Price plays Max, and Gareth West is the Nazi youth.

“Cabaret” is produced by Paul Praither, directed and choreographed by artistic director Randal K. West and musically directed by Shari Rhoads, who also will conduct the live orchestra.

“Cabaret” will open at the Fairfield Arts & Concention Center’s Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m. March 29. Other shows at the Sondheim will be: 7:30 p.m. March 30; 7:30 p.m. April 4, 5, 6; and 2 p.m. April 7.

Following the Fairfield dates, “Cabaret” will travel to the new Coralville Performing Arts Center for another two shows at 7:30 p.m. April 12-13.

Tickets for shows at the Sondheim center can be reserved by calling the box office at 472-ARTS or going to FairfieldACC.com.

The Coralville tickets can be reserved by calling 319-248-9370 or going to coralvillearts.org.

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