“Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome!”
No matter how you say it, Lyric Arts welcomes you to what promises to be one of its most ambitious productions ever: the classic musical “Cabaret.”
The show is based on a book by Christopher Isherwood, with music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb.
For its newest production, the theater will be transformed into the seedy and mysterious Kit Kat Klub, a setting central to the “Cabaret” story.
The show opens July 13 and runs through July Aug. 5.
“This is probably the most ambitious show I’ve ever done in terms of scope and challenges,” said director Matt McNabb.
“Cabaret” is set in the early 1930s Berlin, the tipping point of the Nazi party’s rise to power. The story is of a relationship between an American writer and a star performer in the underground Kit Kat Klub.
Performances by the emcee and his Kit Kat girls provide biting commentary on growing social and political tensions in Berlin.
McNabb returns to Lyric Arts to lead a 19-member cast. Last summer he directed “Footloose” at the theater. The first show he directed at Lyric Arts was “Pirates of Penzance” in 2005. Two years ago he directed Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap.”
McNabb is known for having staged lavish productions at Anoka High School.
New for this production, Lyric Arts called on a dramaturg to research historical facts about the show to ensure period authenticity, McNabb said.
Also, to give audience members a first-hand experience into the “Klub,” they will have an opportunity to be a part of specialty table-seating on stage. In essence, they will be patrons of the Kit Kat Club.
The show is teeming with surprises: A two-story set, cast members sliding down a fire pole, a nine-member live orchestra seated on stage and lots more.
“The musicians are as much characters as anybody else in the show,” McNabb said.
Expect to hear such songs as “Money,” “If You Could See Her Through My Eyes,” “Mein Herr,” “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” and the now classic song “Cabaret.”
In addition to McNabb, music director is Andy Kust, choreographer is Jon Stiff, lighting director is Dan Thorson and scenic designer is Brian Proball.
Among performers from the area are Ruby Carlson (Lulu, Kit Kat Dancer), Margaret Engelhard (Rosie, Kit Kat Dancer), Nykeigh Larson (Helga, Kit Kat Dancer) and Agnieszka Oszast (Fraulein Kost). Other area performers are Isaac Quick (Ensemble), Joey Simieniak (Victor, Kit Kat Dancer), Aaron Booth (Ensemble) and Chris Geisler (Ensemble).
Lyric Arts presents “Cabaret.” July 13 through Aug. 5. An opening night gala will be held. Table seating on stage available. The theater is located at 420 East Main, Anoka. For ticket prices and show dates, visit www.lyricarts.org or call 763-422-1838.
Elyse Kaner is at [email protected]