A group of New School students performed the classic musical “Cabaret” on April 20 at the Tishman Auditorium. Upon entering the auditorium, the audience was greeted on the left and right walls by scantily clad women and strutting men in costume. These figures are the regular workers at the Kit Kat Klub, a decadent Berlin nightclub set in the 1930s. The garish Emcee, played by Angelita Romero, possibly the most memorable performance of the night, introduces the audience to the club.
The plot involves Nazis and a seedy nightclub in Weimar-era Berlin where anything goes. A poverty-stricken American writer named Clifford Bradshaw arrives in Berlin seeking inspiration for his next novel and finds himself romantically involved with runaway nightclub starlet Sally Bowles, while doing mysterious financial errands for a politically involved Nazi. Against the backdrop of the nightclub a tender romantic relationship between an old female innkeeper and a Jewish fruit merchant unfolds, but the rise of the Nazis threatens this intercultural couple, as well as the freewheeling decadence of the Kit Kat Klub.
The story of “Cabaret” is compelling, but the experience is defined by its many musical numbers, and the on-stage orchestra forms part of the set. A word of warning: don’t go to this expecting to be blown away by musical virtuosity or dazzling spectacle – however, you may be
titillated by the dancers.
This work of musical theatre is the creative offspring of the Musical Theatre Organization (MTO), which aims to carve out a strong space for musical theatre at the New School. The vast majority of participants in the production are undergraduates, either at Lang or neighboring Pace, NYU, or Marymount Manhattan College.
In the unrefined character of the singing and sparse set backgrounds, the amateur character of this student-driven production is evident, but there is a felt enthusiasm from the cast. It is evident that a tremendous amount of hard work has been put into this production, and audiences should anticipate fine work forthcoming from MTO in the future.