Sunday, May 24, 2015

Review: Sybarites in strappy satin; Daniel Salazar, Rachael Lee McGill slinkified Stage Center's production of the musical Cabaret, May 14 - 23

cabaret, stage center shreveport; Thomas Wiltheis photo

Titillation is ever the allure of Cabaret, a musical set in degenerate 1930's Berlin. Stage Center director Jared Watson had fun with that sexiness in his recent production of Cabaret at Marjorie Lyons Playhouse. There were suggestively strappy satin, nylon, lacy and cutout costumes in every scene. And, in the spirit of full disclosure, the audience was treated to a blackout view of Daniel Salazar's (the Emcee) perfectly lunar butt cheeks.

Salazar had the physique for the Joel Grey role. Happily, he also had the energy for the androgynous, animated role, winning the audience's standing approval in the final Saturday night performance.

Yet Watson did not allow the show to linger upon the comeliness of the cast. The rapid pace of the play was one of its strengths.

The jazz of the Kit Kat Klub Band was a propulsive force. Buoyant direction by Seth Taylor brought brio to the hot 30's music performed by Ted Beagley, Mary Green, Steven Hitt, Cary Armound, Joshua Johnson, Cory Craig and Tom Yates.

Rachael Lee Magill, a veteran of stage and film, was a force field of Sally Bowles magnetism. Magill's voice, limbs and eyes were vivaciously at work in each scene.

Casting for this Cabaret was robust. Earleen Bergeron played Fraulein Schneider with aplomb - and a twinkle in her eye. Matching her in song and gravitas was David Bieler as Herr Schultz. Cunningly low-key in look and voice as the closet Nazi was Seth Taylor. Yes, the musical director did double duty.

Jason Shidiskis played Clifford Bradshaw, the complicated American author. Relatively new to local stages, Shidiskis is a welcome and capable player. Janin Jones Pou brought a sense of humor as well as leggy flair to the role of Fraulein Kost, the happy harlot.

The Kit Kat cut ups, a ravishing crew, danced and posed with offhand coolness. Lorna Street Dopson (who also played a gorilla in the bestiality scene), Katie Dupont, Aubrey Buckner, Courtnei Gabriel, Elissa Little and Molly Melancon were the show's cupcakes. The bon bons were Isaiah Aaron Jones, Jason Anderson, Thomas Wiltheis and Joe Signorelli.

The artful, magically lighted set was created by Seth Taylor and Daniel Salazar. Jeffrey Meek gets credit for the stylish garb.

There was so much ebullience and honesty about sex in Berlin in 1931. Few could imagine that the mass of Germans were about to turn on their heels and buy into the hypocritically puritan world of the Nazis.

Stage Center's version of Cabaret ran from May 14 - 23, and included a Sat matinee for the impecunious called a Pay-what-you-can Benefit. Soulful idea, that one. Kit Kat Klub, Stage Center

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