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Cabaret

a Musical
CATEGORY : MUSICAL
by Kander and Ebb

COMPANY : Neighborhood Playhouse [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Neighborhood Playhouse [WEBSITE]
ID# 1162

SHOWING : February 10, 2005 - March 13, 2005

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Directed by David Crowe, Cabaret in set pre-World War II Berlin and based on the diaries of Christopher Isherwood. The musical tells the story of Cliff Bradshaw, a writer, and his acquaintance with cabaret performer Sally Bowles, whom he meets in the decadent Kit Kat Klub.

A subplot involves Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz who must make a difficult decision about their future together. The increasingly sinister story is emphasized throughout by the eccentric Emcee.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director David Crowe
Choreographer Jennifer Millman MacQueen
Choreographer Jen MacQueen
Set and Light Designer Harley Gould
Costume Designer Clint Horne
Production Stage Manager Jay Tryall
Sally Bowles Laine Binder
Texas Matthew Carter
Max and others Sam Clapp
Rosie Jevocas Green
Ernst Ludwig Patrick Haase
Fritzie Colleen Hargis
Fraulein Kost Tracy Lee Holden
Frenchie Bethany Irby
Fraulein Schneider Dejie Johnson
Lulu Shelley Murphy
Cliff Bradshaw Brandon Odell
Helga Amanda Leigh Pickard
Bobby and others Brandon Rose
Emcee David Rossetti
Herr Schultz Michael Shikany
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

Dejie is the jewel in the crown
by julian52
Wednesday, March 9, 2005
5.0
I saw Cabaret at the Neighborhood Playhouse last weekend and I thought it was an excellent production. I haven't seen the Canton production yet, but I intend to before it closes. The Neighborhood Playhouse cast had obvious standouts. David Rossetti's emcee was awesome, the Kit Kat girls were incredible and Brandon O'Dell as Cliff offered a nice interpretation and a great singing voice. I didn't think Laine Binder had much depth as Sally Bowles and though she can obviously belt out a song, I didn't feel much empathy for her even after her abortion experience.

I did enjoy the subplot with Michael Shikany as Herr Shultz and Dejie Johnson as Fraulein Schneider. Dejie is capitivating every moment she is on the stage and has a voice layered with sensitivity and determination depending on the scene. I liked the poignancy of the scenes with Shultz and Schneider, especially Johnson's haunting solo, "What Would You Do?" I hope the Playhouse management has the good sense to find another vehicle worthy of Johnson's enormous acting and singing talents.

[POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
A few flaws... Makes it a 2.5
by th8rluvr
Monday, March 7, 2005
2.0
I caught a performance of this show over the weekend, and I enjoyed it, but the flaws in this production made it hard for me to mark it any higher.

Laine Binder as Sally was very brash and bold, but she also was a bit flat on her big notes. And I never really liked the character of Sally Bowles. I kept hoping to see something in the character that would make her vulnerable to me, but it never happened. She was ruthless the whole time.

Brandon O'Dell as Cliff definitely did do something different with the character. But I felt he lacked a naivete that Cliff should have in order to get taken in by all the flash and spectacle of the cabaret and Sally. He just brooded the whole time.

The sound was okay - the band definitely rocked in the pre-show music and the entreact - but I felt it was a poor choice to have the bass player hop in and out of the pit like that. It completely steals focus (especially right after Dejie Johnson's emotional solo) and is very distracting.

I enjoyed David Rossetti's Emcee, but felt it was a good imitation of Alan Cummings. He is so associated with that role, I imagine it is hard to do something new with it.

And lastly - I agree with the last review about faking elements of props. It screams community theater... I'd fix that for the last few shows and get some water in those glasses!

I do echo the applauds to both Jen McQueen's choreography (the cast all handled it very well, and if there were some non-dancers in the crowd I had a hard time picking them out), and to David Crowe's directing. I particularly enjoyed the performance of Dejie Johnson. This woman stood out as the pro among the cast.

I had an enjoyable evening and was happy to see some new faces I hadn't seen before, but after all the hype on this show, I was a little underwhelmed. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
After Dejie's solo... by Savoy
I hate that one, too. I can't think of a better time to do it, unfortunately.
NP's Cabaret - I liked it, I really liked it!
by KristieKrabe
Sunday, March 6, 2005
4.0
Cabaret is definitely earning the good remarks on this site. I went to see it last night with a group of friends, and was not disappointed.

Because I like my reviews to end on a happy note, I'll get my dislikes out of the way first...

While I applaud the designer on adding space to the cramped stage by building the extension, I thought the placement of the band overpowered the singers at times. I know that Neighborhood is not acoustacally (is that a word?) a great space, and anytime the choreography had the actors moving upstage, the sound was swallowed by the stage. Even the large voice of Laine Binder was sucked up if she faced upstage.

Also, I think the location of the band made for a very distracting entrance and exit of Sam Clapp the bassist/Max. His jumping in and out of the pit always happens at the most inopportune times (Sorry Sam, you know I love ya!)

And my last gripe... the house is way too small to fake anything. I can't imagine that it would be too hard to put a little water in the flask for gin - miming the liquid completely took me out of the moment to think, "why not just use water?" And the fight choreography needed some work. The fake slaps were very obvious - you can't get away with that in a small house.

On to the good stuff...

The Kit Kat girls were fabulous!!! I loved the choreography, the costumes, the energy. Colleen Hargis stood out - everytime she walked on stage I found my eyes going straight to her (after of course taking a peek at Matt Carter's fabulously hairy chest!)

Brandon O'Dell was lovely as Cliff. As always, he takes the traditional ingenue male role and turns it into something a bit deeper.

The night belonged to Dejie Johnson. The story of Frauline Schneider and Herr Shultz is the emotional backbone of the show. I loved the interplay between the two of them - her strength against his sweet bumbling. They were a true joy.

Kudos to David Crowe. He as definitely turned out a show of very high caliber.

And special mention to Neighborhood on the marketing of this show! I am glad to see the gears finally get going at this theater to bring audiences in. I hope that the show is financialy successful enought to get some improvements in the theater sound wise.

Bravo!

[POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Gosh... by KristieKrabe
And David Rosetti was so much fun as the emcee - sorry!
Your quibbles... by Savoy
...seem to be about architecture, primarily. I'm sure that Sonny and Co. would gladly accept the types of donations it would take to remedy the theatre's deficiencies, so that we might all reap the benefit of your insightful remonstrances. ;-)
New rule on TR by bellsplayer
No more criticizing directors and designers for not taking into account architectural limitations of theaters unless you are willing to pay for the renovations their bad decisions require.

jd
by KristieKrabe
No offense JD, but I think that the director and designer should definitely take in the limitations of the space that they are working in... I've seen designers and directors take some truly horrific spaces and done beautiful things with them (present company included).

-KK
what Kristie said by Okely Dokely
Sorry JD, but I gotta go with Kristie on this one. The next time I mention that somebody is pitchy in a review, does that mean I should pay for their voice lessons?

By the way, as long as I'm commenting (I was thinking of adding a comment anyway), I'd LOVE to see Jen MacQ choreograph a production of Little Shop of Horrors. What I loved most about her work on Cabaret was how wonderfully in-your-face it was. LSOH is a show where it's important to be very in-your-face, and I think if Jen got her hands on that show, she'd nail it. From my mouth to God's ears, hopefully.
Misplaced focus by bellsplayer
My comment was directed at Savoy, not Kristie, and was intended to be read with sarcasm. I blame the medium of the written word, so it is not my fault.

The facilities at Neighborhood Playhouse have been perfectly adequate in the past for huge musical and straight productions with incredible sets including two-story sets for Broadway Bound and A View From the Bridge. I would include Cards on the Table, the Agatha Christie play with 5 locations in two acts, but modesty prevents.

jd
I should have guessed... by KristieKrabe
...that you were being sarcastic. You are the man, as always!! :)

-Kristie

PS Okely - I completely agree on Jen McQueen's choreography. I don't have my program handy - what else has she worked on?
Jen MacQ by Okely Dokely
As an actress, she is most known for her work at Theatre in the Square in umpteen productions of Smoke on the Mountain, The Sanders Family Christmas, and The 1940's Radio Hour. She choreographed - as well as performed in - the last two productions of The 1940's Radio Hour. Also recently she choreographed Pete n' Keely and Das Barbecu at Aurora, and will be choreographing Fiddler on the Roof for Jewish Theater of the South and 4 Guys Named Jose etc. at Aurora.

Oh, and I'd like to take this opportunity to also apologize to JD. You were a little ambiguous about who you were directing your post to by the way you worded it, but now that I know you were being sarcastic, I think it's pretty damn funny. Well done.
As for registering sarcasm.... by Savoy
did mine not register?
To Savoy: Re Sarcasm by bellsplayer
I guess I guilty of missing that too.
"I suppose that one day emoticons will take the place of adverbs in novels," JD said abjectly.

jd
Oh, well... by Savoy
It's OK. I figured that when I used interesting vocabulary and decent grammar, given the speaking abilities of most of our authorities these days, my words would be regarded as anything BUT authoritative.... I just added the emoticon as a figurative cherry on the sundae. I won't do that this time; let's see how THIS comes across...
A Dancer's Dream by ColleenH
I would just like to say for the record... if you ever find yourself with the opportunity to work with Jen MacQueen, take it! She creates a great environment with her energy and enthusiasm. It is truly an honor to perform her choreogrphy. (P.S. Thanks for the compliment above! You made my day!! ;-p)
Also, a non-dancer's dream by ElaineEtc
Echoing Colleen's post, I must say: WORK WITH JEN IF YOU GET A CHANCE. I am not a dancer. But if you saw the show you might not have even noticed;that's how great Jen is (ok, you might have noticed, but you were probably too busy listening to me scream at you while the girls did hot shit on chairs to have thought much about it). Jen is a fabulous choreographer because she is a fabulous dancer, has fabulous ideas, and is an overall fabulous person. Anyway, long story short, too late, work with Jen.
nearly perfectly marvelous
by Okely Dokely
Wednesday, March 2, 2005
4.0
Cabaret taught me that I shouldn't judge a theater by the one and only show I've seen at it, which until last Friday night was The Civil War, which I was a little generous to when I gave it a 3 rating in October of 2003. Cabaret was an immensely admirable production, and most of the things I usually nit-pick about in my reviews (overlong scene changes, band drowning out the singers, general sloppiness) were not issues at all. Neighborhood is the only theatre I can think of with literally no wings. Completely non-existant. [A half-exception is Onstage Atlanta. They only have one wing. Unless you use the door, it is impossible to "exit stage left" at OSA.] I did a show at Neighborhood, and I know that there is only one narrow doorway from backstage to the stage. There is virtually no place to store the set pieces offstage, so everything has to be left in the green room and brought on that way. Because of this, I've only seen Neighborhood having the most simplistic sets possible, but they have made it work every time. A previous reviewer commented on the overkill of the slow-mo scene changes, but I only caught this happening twice, and once was during a song, where they made it part of the song. They have those scene changes down pat in my book.

I must agree with everyone else and sing MC David Rosetti's praises. He carries the show, and instantly and incessantly makes you feel at home and like you've made a new friend. He had a wonderful singing voice, except for a couple of painfully pitchy notes during I Don't Care Much, but (in a true "Who Are You And What Have You Done With Okely Dokely?" moment) I am going to forgive his pitchiness, because - while I wish it wasn't there - it worked with the heart-wrenching nitty-grittiness of the number, and since Mr. Rosetti was so spot-on with everyting else. I'm afraid I also must echo the chorus of those who were underwhelmed by Michael Shikany's performance. To my recollection, he did fine in the role from the acting standpoint, but he was sharp, flat, and all over the place in his songs. Laine Binder as Sally Bowles had an interesting singing voice. The best thing she had going for her was her belt voice, which is one of the best I've ever heard, but she might want to think about strengthening up her soft tones. She was shaky with just about all other placements of her voice, but would step up to the plate the most for the money notes. Brandon O'Dell as Cliff, the standard romantic lead, was an interesting choice for the role. I singled him out as an interesting choice as Hero in A Funny Thing Happened...Forum at the Shakespeare Tavern. In both cases, it's a welcome choice. He is, by a long shot, not the typical physical type for a romantic lead, but I'll be damned if I'm not wanting to know when he'll be playing Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, Frank in Annie Get Your Gun, Lancelot in Camelot, and Lt. Cable in South Pacific. I LOVED his interior monologue while getting ready in front of a mirror during Why Should I Wake Up. He gives character actors like me hope that even we, too, can sometimes play the "straight" character.

The real star of the show is Jen MacQueen's wonderful choreography. She is one of the best, busiest, and most artistically humbling in town. She never gives moves the cast can't do, but she makes everyone look good, and it's always interesting to watch. Great job, Neighborhood. I'll be back. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Another 4.5...
by mooniemcmoonster
Monday, February 28, 2005
4.0
The last two weekends have renewed my faith in Atlanta theatre. First Hair and now Cabaret. Thank you, thank you, thank you! While not a perfect "5" the show came pretty close to it. This was my very first trip to Neighborhood Playhouse. It always amazes me how small the theatre circle is here in Atlanta. I spent the entire first act trying to figure out why one of the Kit Kat girls looked so familiar to me and then I realized that we ran for State Officer together the same year at Thespian Conference in high school. Its so great to see people that you knew via theatre "back in the day" doing really great work as adults. Now onto the particulars...

This has been said over and over, but I want to say it again...David Rossetti (Emcee) is the real stand out in this production. We were on the front row Saturday (which was the best place to be, imo) and his interplay with the audience was so fun and seemed so effortless. The Emcee is a tough role and it would be really easy to make a mess of it, but David was dead on and engaging the entire time. I felt more of a connection and an emotional investment in his character than I did in any of the other characters (which isn't really a great thing, but I'll get to that in a minute)and while that has very little to do with the script its a testament to how amazing he is in this role.

Jennifer Macqueen's choreography was brilliant. Very, very Fosse...tight, to the point, and perfect. All of the Kit Kat girls did a great job. They were fun to watch and you could tell they were enjoying what they were doing. The only real issue I had at any time with any of the Kit Kat girls was the scene where one of them is shooting up and there was this really over-the-top convulsion (jeez, this comment combined with my comments about Hair on the subject are going to make me look like I have much more experience with these kinds of things than I actually do, but they were distracting to me). I have zero first-hand knowledge of the subject (Thank God!), but I'm really not sure that you'd convulse as if you were having an intense seizure like that in that situation (I've seen Trainspotting...I know what's up..hehehe). I'm not sure if there was an "orgasmic" motivation behind that or what, but again...it was like watching a cheesy afterschool special. It just didnt seem realistic to me at all.

Laine Binder (Sally Bowles) has one of the most powerful "belt" voices I've heard in a very, very long time. It seemed though that at the end of her songs she'd pushed so hard throughout the course of the song that she was totally spent and the endings were all really, really shaky and not nearly as on spot as the rest of the song. I also never developed any kind of emotional conncetion with Sally...and that's sad. Facial expressions weren't there...a real depth of character seemed to be missing and I very much wanted to have that conncetion. I wanted to feel some empathy for her and that never once happened. I had the same issue with Dejie Johnson's portrayal of Fraulein Schneider. Amazing, amazing voice, but I didn't see that inner struggle when deciding not to marry Herr Schultz. She got very emotional during "What Would You Do" at the end, but that was the only time I sensed any kind of emotion from here and that's where it ended.

All said, it was a really great show. I highly recommend checking it out... you'll end up kicking yourself if you don't.


Rebekah.
[POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Brain Dead... by mooniemcmoonster
I was at the FRIDAY show, not the Saturday show.
An Enjoyable Evening
by Alex
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
4.0
I went to see the Neighborhood Playhouse's of Cabaret last weekend and wanted to add my voice to the others on this site.

I found the cast to be incredibly talented, especially the wonderful Kit Kat girls and the fabulous David Rossetti. He is in total command of the stage whenever he is present and I look forward to seeing him in future productions in town. Laine Binder has a powerful voice but I didn't find that her portrayal of Sally Bowles had much depth. Brandon O'Dell is perferct as the idealistic writer Cliff Bradshaw and his solo during the first act is a delightful moment.

There are many memorable moments in this production. Dejie Johnson as Fraulein Schneider is ably matched by Michael Shikany as Herr Schultz. Johnson's performance is measured and poignant and left me wanting more.

Though the choreography is spectacular and the costumes appropriately daring, I found the staging a bit stodgy and I was not impressed with the set that seemed as though it couldn't decide whether it wanted to be totally stark or not. I would have opted for totally stark and lost the maps (at least I think they were maps).

I'm glad there are a lot of great plays happening in Atlanta. I hope Neighborhood Playhouse can maintain the high standard they have obviously set with Cabaret.


[POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Definitely worth seeing...
by thatsFillarius
Friday, February 18, 2005
3.0
As folks are want to key your car and send manilla envelopes full of anthrax should one say a disparaging word about a show on this forum, I'll have to save my "contructive" criticism for the end, and begin with words of praise for the cast of Cabaret at Neighborhood Playhouse. While not the finest show I've seen at the venue, it certainly was worth my deutsche marks to witness this campy, slinking ensemble in this dark musical preamble to the second world war and the hypocrysie that was the burgeoning nazi party. Choreography and lighting were spot-on in this production that was a bit skimpy on set design. I didn't mind the minimalism so much as the execution of the actual set pieces. I think one can make something look run-down while still maintaining a sense of production value. I've read the word "distracting" in more than one review and along that thread, I'd have to say that the two sides seemed more of an eyesore than seedy Berlin underbelly accouterment.

While I thought highly of, and cannot say enough about the calibre of acting and performances in the show, I felt a bit let down by some of the direction. The show seemed to drag on laboriously, and again, while it was apparent that the sluggishness was meant to accentuate the playwright's premise, after the hour-and-a-half first act, I was seriously debating whether or not I could make it through another.

The choreography was quite good and subtle enough to be an homage to Fosse without being an uninspired rip. I especially loved the number with the chairs. The slow-motion bits didn't go over too well, but I would imagine that was a director's choice and not Ms. MacQueen's. The costumes were nice and consistently period, which, along with the choreography and the lighting were, to me, the strongest elements of the show's direction.

On performances, David Rossetti stood out light years among the cast, but I'm sure that role is always quite a draw for any staging. He had a cryptic and mischievous mannerism that at times made me laugh and at others gave me the willies. His hissing execution of some of the darker numbers helped salvage much of what I found lacking or distracting about some of the direction. And (Jesus protect my car tires)I must say this--the accents got in the way. They made much of the dialogue and some of the song content unintelligible, but the inconsistency was the major monkey-wrench. Even a poor accent, maintained faithfully, is easy to swallow. But slipping in and out of them, as most of the principals did, just made the show an exercise in comprehension.

The singing was beautiful. I loved Laine Binder's Sally, but unfortunately never developed an attachment to any of the characters, and I suppose that was the greatest frustration to my viewing. If you don't love or hate a character, it's hard to give a 'shiitake mushroom' what happens to them, no matter how great their singing is. I developed an immediate connection with Rossetti's Emcee, but as an element of narration and commentary, it wasn't enough to redeem the rest of what was going on upstage. Normally that would be a content issue, but in this case, I've seen other productions of Cabaret and found myself enthralled by the characters and deeply invested in what they were doing and what would happen to them. When Fraulein Schneider "punked" out and called off the wedding with Herr Schultz, rather than feel anything for her or a pang of empathy for a frustrated person caught in the vise of a complicated, tormenting, multifaceted decision, I just thought, "Wow...what a weak woman." (And perhaps that's what the director was going for in this case, but I've seen the role presented with much more depth and I suppose I am just partial (which makes a poor critic as the job of theatrical criticism is to judge theater on the specific merits of its own objective criteria--consider me slapped on the wrist.)

I hope what I have brought to this evaluation is not seen as wholly negative. As I stated in the beginning, I do believe my time was well spent and I am glad to have partaken from the feast prepared at NPH's table. It is actually because of the profound talent that was assembled on the stage that I felt a bit let down. I believe they were a bit limited in what they were allowed to sell, but you would be remiss not to see it for yourself and take from it what you can. The story of Cabaret is important. And even though it seemed to take forever to get there, I've not experienced so haunting a moment as when Mr. Rossetti disrobed to reveal his concentration camp garb at the end and waved his twisted good-bye to the auience just before blackout. The currency is no longer deutcshe mark, but the issues are just as real, just as relevant, and just as disturbing, as demonstrated by Ms. Binder's dysphoric rendition of the title song. Go see it. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Don't worry, your tires are safe! by drdrama
A very fair and constructive review. Thanks for the honesty and promotion for others to go see it. Greatly appreciated!
by Nettie
"anthrax sending tire slasher?" LOL I'm almost surprised that someone hasn't tried to take that as a username! guess it's a little too long... it does seem as a reviewer you're darned if you do praise and darned if ya don't sometimes. :) Thanks for being brave enough to be honest. I enjoyed reading your review.
Oh...and by the way by drdrama
I enjoyed your honesty, and though I didn't realize it until now, YOU GAVE AWAY THE ENDING!!! Granted most people know it, but SHEESH give us a chance to surprise an audience member without them reading it on this site first. You were "that guy" who would explain every bit of a movie especially the ending, weren't you? You never give away the ending!! Have some respect!
i didn't notice that either by Nettie
dr. drama until you pointed that out. :) Oh well-- hey I love a sneak peek at an ending!
But I'm also one of those people who love reading the end of mystery novels before going through and reading the entire story to fill in the blanks. *smile*
Willkommen to Atlanta
by MusicalMania
Monday, February 14, 2005
4.0
There are three things in this show that deserve a huge round of applause, and big thank you for allowing us to enjoy it from an audience's perspective. The first thing about this production that will make you come completely unglued is the incredible choreography. Choreographer Jen Millman MacQueen has created some of the darkest, raunchiest, Fossee-esque style dancing that is so spot on, and in my opinion the only thing that holds together the theme of this show. I have been a patron of many Atlanta shows for the 13 years I have lived here, and I have to say this is some of the best dancing I have ever seen produced on any area stage.
The second must see of this show is the dynamic chemistry between the Kit Kat girls who breathe real life into Cabaret. Even though the leads are doing great things onstage, you rarely want to take you eyes of the Kits Kats!! From their moving the stage pieces on and off to their incredible chemistry when dancing and exiting the stage. They leave you wanting more and more, and are some of the strongest characters created in the whole show. Of the six Kit Kat "girls" none are devoid of talent, vocal skills, or dance-ability, but there are two who really stand out in the crowd. The first is the red headed Collen Hargis who dances the audiences up into a frenzy, and then pierces right through the heart of each and everyone with her dark-cat-like stare. The second is the statesque and incredibly sexy Bethany Irby. While all the other girls go for the raunch and the rude, she brings a nice juxtapostion to the crowd with her Barbie like quality, smooth dance moves, and then her sudden look of sheer terror and hatred.
And then of course how can you talk about the good of this show without mentioning the three very talented young leads of the show. David Rossetti brings so much energy mixed with darkness to the role of the Emcee (almost that of a dark pied-piper), and such heart that just draws you in and sucks you dry. The chemistry between the incredible actor/singer Brandon O'Dell and the multi-talented Laine Binder is unmistakable. I had the pleasure of seeing Ms. Binder perform this role at Emory and am once again floored by the differences she has brought to the character. She has an unmistable Cher type quality and depth to her voice, but with stylings that she makes all her own. UNFORTUNATELY... I am not sure about many of the director's choices in staging and characterization for his lead Sally Bowles. Much of it seemed forced movement and not independent enough of the character, BUT hey that is just personal opinion.

Which leads me to my major gripe about the show. THE STAGING. My issues are not just with the role of Sally Bowles, but in almost all of the dialogue scenes. It lacks depth, direction, motivation. The choregraphy is so spot on, dark, and continuly deteriorates throughtout the show (as does set, light, and the incredible orchestra), BUT you never see the same theme happen in the staging. One convention the director used to get in and out of sccenes was a super slow motion that was just too distracting. Although it looks flawless, it makes no sense and seems to come out of nowhere. The slow motion has no tie to the show whatsoever, and seems to never really be done again after the first act until one song at the end. If you are going to make it a big section of the musical, make sure it continues throughout the show. Just like the musical direction (which, by the way there is no musical director listed so that may be the problem there) David Crowe's blocking seems lackluster and inapt, or better stated, the direction just is overshadowed by the tightness of the dance and undeniable structure to the choreography.
The musical direction of the show is also unclear. You have so many awesome voices on stage and all so different in styles, but they never seem to know where to go. The few group numbers just seemed undirected or unpolished or something, but meanwhile the solos were star moments. As I said before all songs had incredible staging so once again Kudos to MacQueen. For all you yet to see it, wait for the breathtaking Mein Herr, beautiful Why Should I Wake Up, and the haunting I Don't Care Much.
The other four supporting actors all do fine jobs in their respective roles. Dejie Johnson has incredible moments throughout the show, but never quite lives up to the damaged character that is Frau Schneider. She seems too often to sing straight to the audience in theatrical conventions of yester-year, which may in fact delight some of the older patrons, but in a show where you want complete reality and total truth just does not work. Michael Shikany, although looking ever bit the part, delivers an almost unintelligable offering of Herr Schultz with an accent that runs the gamut of German, English, Swedish and who knows what else, BUT still manages to pull of an endearing character. The roles of Kost (Tracey Holden) and Ernst Ludwig (Patrick Haase) both come across as two very believable characters, but lack greatly in speech patterns. Kost's accent is off but not hopeless, and Ludwig flies through his lines at rates so fast you can hardly understand what his character has to offer. The two latter actors should settle into their roles as the run continues.
The set, lights, and orchestra all add so much to the darkness of this show. The bleak black stage (minus the blue drawings on stage right and stage left), the few set pieces that move on and off, the beautiful contrasting lights on the back cyc, the hollow single spot light and floor lights, are all so very reminiscent of a Kander and Ebb musical a la Chicago. The beautiful orchestra is flawless (minus the one character who continuly enters and exits the scenes- too distracting). The other production quality that added so much to the show was costuming. Although the dresses choosen for Sally Bowles needed to be rethought, the costuming for all Kit Kats (or lack there of), and other Cabaret workers in black and white, and for all scenes outside the Club to be in muted tones where a great touch.
All in all this show has what it takes to be an incredible offering to the Atlanta area it just lacks some polish in the opening weekend. If you have a chance to go and see it by the second weekend GO! The Kit Kats are worth the price of admission alone. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
That cat who jumps in and out of the pit... by Savoy
...is me! It's part of the concept that orchestra and cast are one....certainly it's a concept that has been done before. But I'm trying to be as not-distracting as I can...
On Dejie Johnson's Fraulein Schneider by raney
I definitely agree with you that Dejie Johnson has incredible moments throughout the show, but I disagree that she "never quite lives up to the damaged character that is Frau Schneider." I found her performance to be very real and very moving. So much so that I went back a second time just to see her performance and also David Rossetti's performance. Johnson's voice is incredible and she nails her character every time.

I also enjoyed Michael Shikany's performance. His portrayal of Schultz is a moving portrait of a man caught up in events he cannot control.

oh give it a rest raney by WaylonWhite
Let someone have their review and stop trying to sell the show. It's a good show and just leave it at that. Just because someone didn't like a certain aspect of it doesn't mean they are WRONG.
Alright. Enough is Enough Wayland AND Raney! by drdrama
Raney - THANK YOU for the kind words and the publicity...but PLEASE just leave the "reviews" be. This site is designed for people to give their opinions about shows...so let them have their opinion and you can have yours. Really, thank you for your compliments, but I think its time to let the show speak for itself. As for you Mr. Waylan White...maybe you should just leave this site alone for awhile. You've got a little too much time on your hands to be responding to all the comments you don't agree with.
Guess I am not allowed to think on my own by MusicalMania
Raney- I am very glad you enjoyed Dejie Johnson's performance, but your ability to go see this show as many times as you wish is not going to change my opinion of Ms. Johnson's Fraulein Schneider. Reading from the rest of the reviews, it seems as if so far my statement is mostly agreed with. Just because someone has 5 seconds of a loud flowing cry onstage, does not a connection and depth make. I have seen her in Cabaret's before, and I know she is a hysterically talented performer, BUT there is nothing here for her to poke fun at. I never once cared about her relationship with Schultz, or in fact their devestating break up. And as for Michael Shikany's performance- all I can say is that I sugar coated my feelings on him and his character in my review because I felt like I was dogging the show to much. The truth is his vocal tone and arc, were like something from a cartoon character or that of a cousin from Perfect Strangers. His facial expressions read better than his voice did. It was like a Swedish Santa Claus that had lost his puppy. The moment he walks onstage you either want to pinch his cheeks or hold your's from total laughter. Glad you enjoyed those two characters so much you went to watch them again. All that means to me is that you were watching and waiting for the entirely wrong talent in that show.
MusicalMania... by mooniemcmoonster
You gave the show a 4...that's a good rating. You shouldn't worry about coming across as though you're "dogging" the show too much, imo. I completely agree with your opinion on Michael Shikany...I was scratching my head the entire time he was on stage as to why he made the choices he made with his character. He actually reminded me A LOT of Eugene Levy's character in "A Mighty Wind" but minus any depth and honesty at all. Adorable, but very much cartoonish and like a child...which didn't really seem to fit with the show AT ALL. I was going to mention it in my review, but it was already turning into a novel, but now that you brought it up... :) Good to know that my crew weren't the only people who felt that way about that partuicular characterization.
A Thoughtful Evening
by Veronica
Saturday, February 12, 2005
5.0
I saw Cabaret at the Neighborhood Playhouse this weekend. Yes, the music, dancing and acting are good, but folks, this play has a scary message, especially for those old enough to remember the horrors of Nazi Germany. I applaud David Crowe and Neighborhood Playhouse for having the guts to do this production and to hire a cast that gives A-plus performances across the board. Let's hear it for the Kit Kat girls!!!! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Everything Old is New Again
by raney
Saturday, February 12, 2005
5.0
Decatur's Neighborhood Playhouse (NP) couldn't have picked a better show than Cabaret to kick off its 2005 season. This play has a chilling relevance given recent world events.

Unlike the 1970's musical starring Joel Grey and Liza Minnelli, NP's Cabaret closely resembles the dark and sexy late 90's Broadway stage revival starring Alan Cummings as the Emcee and Natasha Richardson as Sally Bowles. The play, directed by David Crowe, opens on a stark set with all eyes on emcee David Rossetti. Rossetti owns the production from the moment the lights come up until the lights go out for the last time two hours later.

Crowe's direction is measured and concise, offering his lead actors the opportunity to add layers of their own to these very troubled characters. Rossetti is electric as the emcee and Laine Binder shines as prostitute Sally Bowles involved with American writer wanna-be Cliff Bradshaw, strongly played by Brandon O'Dell. Some of the production's finest moments are offered by Binder and Dejie Johnson as Fraulein Schneider, the boarding house owner who ends her relationship with a Jewish suitor ably played by Michael Shikany. Johnson's stage presence is strong and her portrayal is honest, sensitive and determined.

Jennifer MacQueen's gritty choreography is totally entertaining and the live band provides a nice backdrop for actors who can actually sing and dance. This production definitely raises the bar at Neighborhood Playhouse which ended last year with the unfortunately dismal Auntie Mame. Hopefully future shows at the Playhouse will continue the high standard that this company of actors has established.



[POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
oh please... by WaylonWhite
How pathetic is this with an obvious display that you're tied to the show in some fashion. Yet, you expect us to believe that your review is somehow warranted and accurate? Why not let those of us who haven't seen the show, or been tied to it, have the opinion.
Bitter, party of one... by Mike Williams
"Why not let those of us who haven't seen the show, or been tied to it, have the opinion."

Gee, THAT sounds like a smart move, Waylon White, letting those who HAVEN'T see the show review it. How about those who have an ax to grind - as YOU obviously do - leaving your agenda at home and allowing other people's opinions to speak for themselves?

Rather than bitching about someone else's review, why not write your own? Of course that would take EFFORT and INSIGHT and, oh yes, would mean you had to actually have SEEN the show.

Without that, we know exactly how much value to give to your so-called opinion.
well here we go again.. by Nettie
Why is it a bad thing to say you LIKED a show? If you think it's unfair, why not go see the show yourself and give your own opinion? Sounds like a good one to go see this review makes me want to go see the show! :)
well... by WaylonWhite
Mikey,
You're obviously uneducated if you think that I would review a show without first seeing it. My plan is to see it sometime next weekend and leave my response on here sometime after that. Yet, I guess I need to put that in simple terms for someone of your lack of intellect to understand. It's ok though, I don't mind helping out the "less fortunate". In regards to the statement that nettie would like to see the show because the review was good, that's my whole point. This Raney character has decided to post a favorable review to try and sell a show that they are obviously tied to.
No affiliation by raney
I am not nor ever have been "tied" to the Neighborhood Playhouse. I just know a good production when I see one and wanted to share my opinion in this space. Last time I checked, the Nazis weren't running Atlanta.
ok... by Nettie
i don't believe in calling people nazis. what I am saying is, perhaps it might be fair to be educated and objective enough to include the possibility that the review could be accurate.
Even if I were to know someone in a show that I paid money to go see-- as a member of the audience, if the show stunk I'd probably still be honest enough to say that it stunk. :) What will you do if you go as you've planned and you actually like the show? Just throwing out the thought.
Come On Guys... by KristieKrabe
This is Neighborhood - aren't these attacks usually reserved for Kudzu... :)

Raney, I think because of all the promotion you've done for the show, it appears that you are involved with the production and therefore have a biased opinon. If you are involved, it's always best to do a review with a NR. I myself am looking forward to catching this show after Hair closes, because I have heard fabu things about it.

My two cents...

Kristie
Thankgod someone gets it... by WaylonWhite
Thank you Kriste for seeing my point. That's all I was saying. I wasn't saying that I'm Adolf Hitler, having come back from the dead and feeling a tad upset that this show demonstrates how evil I have been. No, I was saying that due to all of the promotion given by Raney, it's obvious that Raney is a part of this show somehow. I mean, let's look at this for a moment. If Raney isn't tied to the show in any fashion as they claim, how could they know it is the "hottest ticket in town" before it opened?
Nettie... by WaylonWhite
Nettie,
You want to know what I will do if I like the show? I will come back here and say that I have egg on my face. I don't review shows with ratings. I never have and never will. I just like to read them. However, in this case, I will give my opinion on it just to show I'm a good sport.
fair enough :) by Nettie
I do see your point. The only show I reviewed I gave an NR for that same reason-- because almost all of the cast were folks I knew and loved. But in spite of my possibly being a tad prejudiced, it also turned out to be an amazing show. I guess my point is that the show has a right to be given the chance to earn that 5 regardless of whomever may be affiliated with it. Kind of like eating your veggies-- how do you know you don't like it if ya haven't tried it? *grin* Thanks for being a good sport.
To whom it may concern: by drdrama
I AM part of the production of CABARET and I have NEVER heard the name Raney; first name, last name, middle name or nickname, so lets just stop this pettiness. It helps no one (except ticket sales which I'm sure neither I or NPlayhouse will be complaining about!). But again, for the record, no one in the cast or crew has EVER heard of this Raney person...we (the cast) assume it is a board member, but they had NOTHING to do with the production (besides maybe throwing some money our way, which we appreciate if they did). Just thought some people who seem to be quick to judge should know. Thank you.


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