Although many people believe that Cabaret is an upbeat musical with a couple classic songs, it's actually a musical dealing with prejudice and the rise of the Nazis in Germany. And when Sally Boyle actually sings the title song, it's after the Nazis have devastated the Kit Kat Klub cabaret.
So, staging Cabaret at a small local theater is risky. Still, Tacoma Little Theatre's new production of the classic Cabaret is stunning and well worth seeing. With Mauro Bozzo holding court as the Emcee and host of both the show and the Kit Kat Klub and Elise Campello brilliantly singing and acting the other key role as Sally Bowles, this production shines throughout.
Unlike so many shows that start with a problem to be solved and leave the audience on an upbeat note, Cabaret begins with the Emcee stepping out beyond the theater's forth wall and welcoming the audience to the Kit Kat Klub cabaret. The show then goes on to cleverly introduce us to all the players including the softly spoken Jewish Herr Schultz, who will eventually run headlong into the Nazi Holocaust.
Even under the mantle of those dire times, the show provides many lighter moments, especially when Rachel Fitzgerald as Fraulein Kost, a local call girl, is on stage. Rachel plays the part fully and with great comedic skill, adding a bit of levity to a time of great despair.
All in all, the Tacoma Little Theatre's production of Cabaret is a entertaining show that also leaves the audience thinking. It runs through June 14.