The show is not recommended for children under 10.
The Middle and Upper School Fall Musical, Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret, will be produced at BFS on Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 21-23.
Take a look into the experiences of the cast and crew as they rehearse CABARET and gather context for the difficult and sensitive material that will be performed. The students and director hope that this 15-minute video will help the BFS community (and future audience!) to understand both the challenges and rewards of this creative process.
Cabaret, the 1966 musical, with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb and book by Joe Masteroff, traces its lineage to the eve of World War II. It is based on John Van Druten’s 1951 play, I Am a Camera, which in turn was adapted from Christopher Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin (1939). Set in 1931 Berlin, as the Nazi threat is becoming a reality, Cabaret focuses on two relationships at the Kit Kat Club, that of American writer Cliff Bradshaw and English performer Sally Bowles, as well as the one between Fraulein Schneider, a boarding house owner and Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit seller.
A Cabaret Conversation with Director Lorna Jordan
Lorna, why did you choose this show?
“I choose shows for a number of reasons, the first being to provide material that will add depth of understanding to the existing curriculum and push students to think critically about the world around them and the power of the arts. This show, in particular, was chosen this year because of some of the social and political issues we are facing now, which can be mirrored in the material. I hoped it would help to clarify some of the misunderstandings around nationalism vs. patriotism.”
Were the students familiar with the play, and the story it was based on, before auditions?
“Many students knew of Cabaret to some degree, though there are several versions. There was a strong sense of excitement when it was announced at the end of last year.”
How many students are in the cast and crew?
“We have 24 students in the cast and about 20 students helping to either build the set and/or run the show.”
Who is doing sets, choreography, musical direction, and costumes?
“Larson Rose (Theatre Production Manager) is doing technical direction; Catherine Clark (US and IB Theatre Instructor) is our costume designer; Stephen Buck (MS/US Chorus and IB Music Instructor) is doing the musical direction; and Jamara Hill (MS/US Physical Education and Dance Instructor) is our choreographer.”
What version of Cabaret are you using and why did you choose this one?
“We are working from the 1998 script, edited down for age appropriateness. The musical has evolved quite a lot over the last 60 years and each iteration has cut or added songs and material. This version acknowledges diversity of sexuality. Christopher Isherwood, author of The Berlin Stories, on which Cabaret is based, was unable to come out fully as a young writer and his sexuality was only briefly hinted at. Over the years, each version of Cabaret has brought that theme further to the forefront of the story and, at BFS, we seek to acknowledge and honor all identities.”
What message do you hope audiences will take home with them?
“Historically, cabarets were more than just dance clubs. They came out of a more vaudevillian background and focused on comedy acts with political satire, as well as song and dance, so that’s the direction we’re heading in. The major themes of Nazism and prejudice will remain as they are crucial to the story, and exploring these themes is how we come to name and understand them.”