CABARET, with music by Kansas City’s own John Kander and his partner Fred Ebb, is the next production of The Lewis and Shirley White Theatre at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City with nine performances Feb 2-17.
This landmark musical takes place in 1931 Berlin, a time when political unrest racks the country, the economy has been destroyed, and millions of unemployed roam the streets, and offers an escape at the decadent, dark and sexually charged “Kit Kat Club.” Where anything goes, and “life is beautiful.”
Winner of the coveted Tony Award for Best Musical (1967) and Best Revival (both 1988 and 1998), CABARET follows an American writer – Cliff Bradshaw, and a vivacious English cabaret dancer – Sally Bowles as they try to navigate the unease of pre-WWII Berlin. Several characters wreak havoc, including a rich German politician, a young Jewish man struggling with his identity, an Englishman teacher from London, and of course the all-knowing, all-seeing Master of Ceremonies.
“It’s 1931, and Germany is in a downward spiral. And yet, inside the Kit Kat Klub, things are beautiful… or so it seems,” said Director Tim Bair. “In the background – the Nazi party is on the rise… right under everyone’s noses. As the climate became darker, some saw the clouds approaching – but in our play – most were blinded… surviving. It was a dark time in history, but a story worth telling and worth remembering,” Bair said. “It is also a poignant reminder for us all to pay attention.“
Rehearsals for CABARET began Jan. 7 under the experienced tutelage of director Tim Bair with musical director Marsha Canaday, and choreographer Kacy Christensen. The talented 16 – member cast features actors from across the Kansas City metro area including Jennifer Renfrow who performed for sold-out audiences as Mary Poppins, John Edmonds who has performed in Company and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Ron Meyer, who played Pulitzer in our most recent sold-out run of Newsies.
According to White Theatre Managing Director and Director of Arts and Culture at The J, Keith Wiedenkeller, “One thing I’m really excited about – besides our amazing cast — is our unique staging of this show, literally immersing the audience into the atmosphere of the KitKat club.” Wiedenkeller, who helped chose the show for its story about regular people navigating the complexities of Pre-WWII Germany, goes on to point out that “there’s a great juxtaposition between the decadence and frivolity of the club and what’s happening outside its walls.”.
As part of the immersive experience mentioned above, for the first time, The White Theatre is offering the opportunity to enter the Kit Kat Club with comfortable VIP seating in the thick of things. Included in this limited VIP experience are a “meet and greet” with the cast as well as a drink each to add to your CABARET experience. There are only eight seats available each night and are sold on a first come, first serve basis.
Assisted listening devices are available for all CABARET performances. Open Captioning will be available at the Feb. 9 & 10 performances. Theatre patrons will be able to purchase beer and wine and select cocktails an hour prior to the show, as well as at intermission.
CABARET is rated R for language, adult content, and provocative subject matter. Tickets for CABARET are $14 to $30, depending on seating selection. Tickets may be purchased online at TheWhiteTheatre.org, by calling the box office at (913) 327-8054, or in person at 5801 W. 115th St., Overland Park. The White Theatre box office is open Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.