Olney Theatre Center launches the 2019-2020 season on the Mainstage with Kander and Ebb’s CABARET directed by Alan Paul (August 28 – October 6, 2019). Broadway veteran Alexandra Silber, who played Guinevere in Paul’s 2019 Helen Hayes Award-winning production of Camelot, and Tzeitel in the acclaimed Bart Sher revival of Fiddler on the Roof, will star as Sally Bowles, the flamboyant showgirl carried away by the glitz and debauchery of Weimar Berlin. Invited press night is Saturday, August 31 at 8:00pm.
Alan Paul notes the sudden topicality of the musical, “Although the show was written in the 1960’s (and about the 1930s), it is modern. It is about complicity, and what happens when citizens of 1930’s Berlin turn a blind eye to the rise of the Nazis. It has huge political overtones now as we think about what it means to be a citizen in this incredibly partisan and political moment.”
In 1929 Berlin, Cliff arrives to work on his novel but finds himself swept up in the life of the cabaret with its bawdy Emcee, and swept away by the performer and provocateur Sally Bowles. Bunked together at Fräulein Schneider’s boarding house, their impossible affair bumps up against the threatened love between their landlord and a Jewish fruit seller. From the opening notes of “Willkommen” through the title song and such classics as “Don’t Tell Mama” and “Money,” Cabaret delivers a raw theatrical experience on a knife’s edge between unbridled sexuality and looming disaster.
Says Olney Theatre Center’s Artistic Director, Jason Loewith, “We’re thrilled to be working with Alan Paul who has become in a very short time, one of the top musical theatre directors in the region and the country. And I can’t wait to bring back some of our audience’s favorite performers from past seasons, like Gregory Maheu as Cliff (Once), Tom Story as Ernst (Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical), Jessica Lauren Ball as Fraulein Kost (South Pacific), Mitchell Hébert as Herr Schneider (Mary Stuart) and Donna Migliaccio as Fraulein Schneider (On The Town). It’s also a thrill to introduce the Olney community to Alexandra Silber as Sally Bowles, and introduce all of DC to the incredible Mason Alexander Park as our Emcee.” Park has previously appeared as the standby for the title character in the national tour of the Broadway production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Other credits include Frank-N-Futer in the Bucks County Playhouse production of the Rocky Horror Show and recurring roles on Nickelodeon shows iCarly and Bucket & Skinner’s Epic Adventures.
Rounding out the ensemble are Jessica Bennett, Ben Gunderson, Andre Hinds, Lina Lee, Connor James Reilly, Bridget Riley, Katy Tabb, Louisa Tringali, and Rick Westerkamp.
Paul’s collaborators on the creative team include, Chicago-based Choreographer Katie Spelman whose recent credits include Oklahoma! at the Goodspeed Opera House and she will serve as Associate Choreographer on the upcoming Broadway production of Moulin Rouge. OTC’s Associate Artistic Director Christopher Youstra serves as Music Director, Set Designer Wilson Chin makes his OTC debut, having worked extensively on the regional theatre scene and provided designs for Next Fall on Broadway, as well as off-Broadway hits The Thanksgiving Play (Playwrights Horizon) and Cost of Living (Manhattan Theatre Club). Kendra Rai (Elf The Musical) and Ali Pohanka (Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical) return to OTC to design costumes and wigs, respectively. OTC veterans Colin K. Bills (Mary Stuart) and Matt Rowe (Once) are also back for another Mainstage musical. John Keith Hall is the stage manager and Madison Bahr is the assistant stage manager.
Regular performances are Wednesday-Saturday at 8:00 pm; matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm; and Wednesday matinees at 2:00 pm on September 4, 11, and 18 and October 2. No Saturday matinee on August 31.
There will be an Audio-described performance for the blind and visually impaired on
Wednesday, September 11 at 8:00 pm and a sign-interpreted performance on Thursday, September 19 at 8:00 pm. Audience members who wish to use these services should contact Julie Via, Patron Services Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org) to confirm.
Tickets begin at $42. Discounts available for groups, seniors, military, and students.
- Behind-the-Scenes: From the Weimar Republic to Now
Saturday, August 31 at 5:00 pm
$10/Free for Olney Theatre Center Members
Prior to the opening night of Cabaret we’ll take a historic overview of the Weimar Republic’s rise and cultural impact on previously marginalized groups as well as its decline, leading to the Nazi seizure of power. We’ll also explore how that narrative resonates for other traditionally marginalized groups today.
- Night at the Movies: Chicago (2002)
Friday, September 27 at 8:15 pm
Join us, and sing along, to this satire about crime, greed, and sex from the creators of Cabaret. As anyone who watched the Fosse/Verdon series on FX knows, Chicago was a passion project for Gwen Verdon and Bob Fosse who re-teamed with Kander and Ebb to create the musical. Though the original met with mixed reviews on Broadway, the 1996 revival was a hit that is still running. Its success spawned this star-studded 2002 film directed by Rob Marshall and was the recipient of six Oscars including Best Picture.
- Afterwords discussions with the cast and crew take place following most Saturday matinee performances.
For more information, please visit olneytheatre.org.