University of Wisconsin-River Falls

News Source

Oct. 24, 2003

Scandals Turn Lyrical as "Cabaret" is Performed at UW-River Falls

Sex, drugs, and violence predominated Germany's street savvy youth in the 1920s. After World War I, Germany was in a state of desolation as the new government struggled to pay back restitutions of war.

The recent depression of today's economy is not unlike the postwar conditions of Germany. Today's youth seem to bounce back with increased vitality and optimism; however, in Germany, the kids' response to the bleakness and gloom was recklessness and experimentation. Among all the chaos and licentiousness emerged the word—Cabaret.

Since its premier in 1966, "Cabaret" has been a musical hit that explores this period of German history. It is sure to be another blockbuster after its premiere at the UW-River Falls, this November.

"Cabaret" will be performed at 8 p.m. on Nov. 6-8 and 12-15 in the Blanche Davis Theatre, located in Kleinpell Fine Arts Building. For tickets and information, contact the theatre box office at 715/-425-3114 or 800/-228-5423. Due to the nature of this play, it may only be appropriate for mature audiences.

Two love stories unfold in the midst of Germany's pre-Nazi apprehension and dismay. Into the stagnant city of Berlin, Germany, walks Clifford Bradshaw, played by sophomore Nate Messina, a speech communication major from Madison. As an average American, he finds an apartment where he tries to undertake the writing of a novel. The tale turns scandalous when he meets Sally Bowles, played by senior Meghan Olson, a speech communication major from Bloomer. Sally is an irrepressible young woman looking for a few laughs and a good time. Sally is a flirtatious performer who is self-involved and sexy. Cliff falls in love with her and they spend many nights together at the local cabaret. The cabaret is brimming with mystery and seduction. Their amusement comes to a screeching halt when Germany is taken over by Nazis. The young couple soon realizes that life is more than fun and games as Europe prepares itself for World War II.

The book, "Cabaret," written by Joe Masteroff, includes other characters, such as the Emcee, played by sophomore Mike McKay, a theatre arts major from Hibbing, Minn., and Ernst Ludwig, played by junior Bradley Jennings, a threatre arts and English major from Chetek. A second tale of desire involves Cliff's landlord, Fraulein Schneider, played by sophomore Sonja Baron, a music major from Brooklyn Park, Minn. Conflict erupts, within the framework of the Nazi movement, when she wants to marry a Jewish man, Herr Schultz, played by freshman Erik Olson, a music major from Hudson.

In addition to having some of the most memorable characters and a powerful story, "Cabaret" contains a number of classic musical selections including: "Wilkommen," "Don't Tell Mama," and of course, "Cabaret."

The play is directed by speech communication and theatre arts Professor Margaret Swanson. UW-RF student actors and actresses were auditioned in the first two weeks of the fall semester. Rehearsals have lasted for two months. Also helping in preparation for the upcoming event is the stage manager, senior June Berg, a theatre arts major from Sauk Rapids, Minn. Overseeing the design and creation of the set and costumes is Professor Robin Murray who is responsible for costuming, and Professor Kenneth Stofferahn, who is responsible for scenic design. The musical director is music department chair Professor Mike Roy, and choreographing the dances is Denise Baker, a theatre arts secondary education major from Hudson. The popular songs of "Cabaret" would not be heard without senior Kyle Gettelman, a theatre arts and agricultural education from Hartford. He is responsible for sound design.


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