Eastern Michigan University Theatre presents Cabaret, based on the play by John Van Druten.
Cabaret takes place in Berlin, Germany in 1929. The story follows cheeky and eclectic characters such as the American, Cliff, the seductive Sally Bowles from England and Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit seller. The audience watches the characters interact in a Germany where the Third Reich is arising outside their door.
The musical features a lineup of catchy songs, accentuated by the ensemble of live musicians on stage. Music direction was done by R. Mackenzie Lewis.
To add to the authenticity of the show, German was taught by Pirooz Aghssa and dialects were taught by Lee Stille.
The production was originally set to be directed by Phil Simmons, an Assistant Professor at EMU. Due to an unfortunate health issue that inhibited him from physically being there, he was unable to take on all the traditional duties of a director.
From these unfortunate circumstances arose “The Phillage,” the company members who worked together to make the “show go on” in the absence of Simmons. Through their hard work and collaboration, they were able to bring Cabaret to life on Quirk’s stage.
In the Director’s Note given at the beginning of the performance, a brief letter is written to the audience to inform them of the “blood, sweat, and tears” that the cast and crew endured to produce the show.
One member of the “Phillage” was Jenny Koppera, an EMU alumna who choreographed the big dance numbers in the show. Working alongside her was current EMU student, Cosette Hood.
Hood acted as assistant choreographer. She learned the runs and helped direct the dancers based off notes left by Koppera. She also had to learn each of the dances in case there were times she had to fill in.
Another important part of the crew was EMU student Madelynne Brown, who worked with Sound Design. Her duties included creating sound effects and deciding where microphones would be placed.
The entire production relied heavily on collaboration. “You have to collaborate with all the teams,” said Brown on how aspects of the production such as sound and lights were coordinated. The various production crews had to join forces in order to ensure all aspects of Cabaret ran smoothly.
“Cabaret says a lot about our society today, socially and politically,” Brown added when asked about why people should see the show.
Elijah Brown, EMU student, saw the musical opening night. He found it to be enthralling.
“I honestly think it was one of the best productions I’ve seen here [at EMU].” Elijah added, “I liked that they worked hard enough to learn German and the dialect so that it really seemed like the time and place it was supposed to take place.”
There are still several performances of the risqué Cabaret to catch. There will be performances on October 24-26 at 7 p.m. and October 27 at 2 p.m at Quirk Theatre.
Tickets can be purchased at the Student Center ticket office or the Quirk Box Office in person, by phone at 734-487-2282 and online at www.emutix.com.