The theater is a tempting escape from real life. It’s a sanctuary for creativity and boldness, a place to let loose and sing loud, a venue that can transport audiences to a new world entirely. Few shows embrace the qualities of the theater like Cabaret – a production that revolves around the stage at the Kit Kat Klub, a Weimar era night club in Berlin.
But stay too long at the theater, and the real world starts to crumble into darkness.
“Leave your troubles outside! Life is disappointing? Forget it!” says the MC in his introduction. “In here, life is beautiful. The girls are beautiful. Even the orchestra is beautiful!”
The Broadway production of Cabaret is playing at The Paramount Theatre in Seattle through June 25. And it is “beauuutiful,” in that artistically charming but sometimes eerie kind of way. While the songs and quick and catchy, the mood is dark and tragic. It takes place while the arts are thriving in Germany, but Hitler is rising to power.
There’s nothing quite like watching the magnetic Liza Minnelli in all her eyeshadow glory in the movie. But the live show offers a different perspective on the characters. Without giving away too much, the Kit Kat Klub band is on stage playing the whole production. The show never leaves the club, even when the set implies that it does. Until, well, you’ll have to see.
It’s also beautifully performed. Minnelli can sing. But so can Leigh Ann Larkin who plays Sally Bowles. Hearing Cabaret belted out live is reason enough to go. There’s also songs that aren’t included in the movie. Plus, Jon Peterson who plays the MC is irresistible. A troubled but charismatic drug addict who laces all the elements of the show together with his charm and sarcasm.
But the show falls on any anything but a high note. You simple can’t walk out of the theater without thinking about the state of the world.
Cabaret reminds us of how important it is to go to the theater, to experience something live and bold. But then, to walk back out and start paying attention to our reality.