All day, sailors in, out, in, out. God only knows what the neighbors think I run--a BATTLESHIP? --Fraulein Schneider
Sixteen years ago, I discovered the Kit Kat Club. I had my first glimpse at the revival during the 1998 Tony Awards. While many went crazy over Lion King, I wanted to know what was this burlesque-like, seedy world that a scantily glad Emcee and dancers lured me to. CD purchased and tickets bought, I felt like an understudy to every character in the show. I watched the movie and fell in love and in sadness with the characters. I could not wait to meet Sally Bowles and the Emcee.
A little background on the show itself. Cabaret takes place in a nightclub in Berlin in the 1930's. It's a time of confusion as the Nazi party is beginning to have more power around the country.
Along with the lovable, dark, and sensual Emcee, there is the sad character of Sally Bowles, a London-born Cabaret entertainer. Enter Clifford Bradshaw, American writer, looking for inspiration in Berlin, running from the truth of his feelings. There is the budding romance between Jewish fruit shop owner, Herr Schultz and boarding house owner Fraulein Schneider.
It's a story of love, loss, and the end of innocence.
Sixteen years ago, I saw Cabaret with Alan Cumming and Natasha Richardson. I was awestruck. It was even more perfect than I imagined. There was so much chemistry on stage between the actors.
Sixteen years later, when I heard Alan would be back in his role at Studio 54, I was not going to miss the opportunity. To see an actor reprise a role after so many years is like, well, running through a field of grain and then drinking the whiskey it produced years later. It's full of experience, waiting, being stepped on, and loved. Sadly, this reprisal would be about loss as well, as his original Sally had passed. But Sally's role would be filled by someone who could understand Sally, Michelle Williams.
I walked away loving Cabaret even more. It is a show that is timeless as it does capture something so very real about our world. It captures something we all want: freedom. Freedom to be sexual. Freedom to be in love. Freedom to be who we are. It also captures the sad time of our world where so many lost their freedoms because of who they were, how they worshipped, and who they loved.