Willkommen and bienvenue to “Cabaret” at Augustana

Kobe West

The Augustana theater department will be putting on a production of “Cabaret” from Nov. 17-20. It is a funny yet heart-wrenching tale that takes place in pre-WWII Germany. “Cabaret” premiered in 1966 with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb and book by Joe Masteroff. 

The musical starts off as a “glossed-over” and fun show at the Kit Kat Klub, a night club in Berlin. As time goes on, the show begins to get darker as the Nazis start to take over the country, according to senior Kaitlin Jacobson. Jacobson plays Fräulein Kost as well as Fritzie and a chanteuse in one of the casts.

“There’s a lot going on behind the scenes, behind the gloss and behind the face everyone’s putting on because it takes place in Germany,” Jacobson said. 

Several parts of the play are double cast, meaning two actors play the same character, each performing in different shows. Senior Eli Bates plays Emcee in one cast of “Cabaret.”  

“With ‘Cabaret,’ we are staying true to the actual production of it. We are sticking to the script. I think this is a really important topic for everything going on right now,” Bates said. 

Director Shelley Cooper has taken liberties with the costuming, lighting design and stage design to make the show more simple and contemporary for modern audiences. Assistant director Jessa Simon worked with the cast to understand why the show matters historically.

“This is really a great presentation of all of the history of the time period,” Simon said. “We sat and had lots of discussions about the history of the show, the history of the time period. The cast talked through different character work questions, like applying it to what the show means, what it meant then and what it means now,” Simon said.

These discussions came in the form of multiple dramaturgy meetings. In a dramaturgy meeting, cast and crew look at the history of the production and the meaning behind the show. Synth Gonzalez is the dramaturg for “Cabaret.” 

Audience members should be aware of the weight of topics discussed in the show, both in the past and in the present.

 “Now, with this new surge of anti-semitism, I think it’s really important that people see this story and understand that things like what happened still happen today,” Simon said. “I think it’s really eye-opening for an audience to come in and see a show like this especially in a time like right now.”

This show is a must-see and will be performed at 7:30 p.m. from Nov. 17-19 and at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 20. 

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $12 for senior citizens, $10 for faculty and staff and free for Augustana students with student ID.