A User-Driven Site for Theater in Atlanta, Georgia
a Musical
by Kander and Ebb

COMPANY : Atlanta Professional Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Brook Run Theatre
ID# 2860

SHOWING : July 10, 2008 - July 20, 2008



Cabaret is a musical with a book by Joe Masteroff, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and music by John Kander. Set in 1929-1930 Berlin on the eve of the Nazis' rise to power, it focuses on nightlife at the seedy Kit Kat Klub and revolves around the nineteen-year-old cabaret performer Sally Bowles and her relationship with young American writer, Cliff Bradshaw. A sub-plot involves the doomed romance between German boarding house owner Fräulein Schneider and her elderly suitor Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit vendor. Overseeing the action is the Emcee, who presides as master of ceremonies at the Kit Kat Klub and serves as a constant metaphor for the current state of society in Germany throughout the play.

Director Chris Hall
Musical Director Jason Meeks
Choreographer Katie Rouse
Emcee Brian Clowdus
Helga Emma Goidel
Rosie Tracy Moore
Cliff Nicholas Morrett
Bobby Will Ramseur
Fr. Kost Amanda Wilborn
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


Great Cast - Solid Production
by MFA99
Monday, July 21, 2008
I went to see this show on Saturday and thought it was amazing! Other than a few sound glitches, I was thoroughly entertained. First, who the heck is this Brian Clowdus and what is he doing in Dunwoody??? He had the entire audience in the palm of his hand, which, is really the key to that role. Everyone was laughing and applauding - the audience was one of the better Atlanta audiences i've seen a show with, actually. I could definitely tell he'd done the show before and got the sense that this was second nature to him. His improvisation style really engaged the audience. I couldn't tell what was practiced and what was just on the fly which seems like the best compliment for anyone playing that role. He much deserved the accolades from the crowd at curtain.

On to the rest of the cast - also very, very good! Cliff & Schneider were other stand outs for me - their voices were extremely solid. And the Kit Kat girls were the perfect mix of sexy and tragic. Their choreography was excellent, though, I have to say, the Emcee out kicked 'em :)

Too bad this show isn't going for a few more weekends. I would definitely invite friends to go!

Pretty Enjoyable
by Ratatouille
Friday, July 18, 2008
Well I just want to start off by saying that I really enjoyed the show. I'm not quite sure what shows everyone else went to, but the one I went to last night was pretty good. As an actress myself I do know that people go through different problems with each show, no show is ever going to be perfect especially when it comes to real life theatre.I also have to agree IF YOU'RE GOING TO WRITE A REVIEW ABOUT YOUR OWN SHOW WRITE IT AS AN AUDIENCE PERSPECTIVE... I'm realizing play-by-play that when the word professional is put into a theatre's name that people have these high expectations, but as long as it says community theatre they don't critique it as harsh. I've done a professional show before and compared to Caberet my show looked like it was put on by a high school drama club (notice I said "drama club" not theatre). POSTIVES: The set was pretty nice I like the nice little picture frame.I really loved the Emcee and Frau Schneider. They both had beautiful voices and I really enjoyed their performances, they were both so into their roles and made it even more interesting. I loved the dance numbers the kit kat girls were all on point especially with the chair number.We all know it's difficult trying to get everyone to land and turn at the same time, but they managed so kudos to the girls. Sally singing was good, but the only thing I didn't like about her performance was that it lacked life of the character she just sang like she had no life in her body (did I mention she looks like Liza Minellie. Oh and the concession stand had great prices I was shocked I got everything they NEGATIVES: The only real problem I had was that the mic kept going in and out especially Sally's so it was sort of hard at times to follow the story line,but I got the idea of it. The mic thing is neither here or there, it's nothing that had anything to do with the cast unless someone in the cast is Carrie with telekentic powers and I doubt it.. but from all the talk people have been saying that the theatre was an old insane asylum and that the theatre's haunted....just something to think about regarding the mic problem......
Everyone needs to simmer down!
by Superman
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Let me preface this review by saying that I am also a member of the cast for this production.

I realize that some technical aspects and the venue of this show were completely unprofessional! These are definitely things on which the cast and crew and it seems some of the audience have reached a consensus. The sound was atrocious for two nights, the unreliable microphones specifically. The theatre is not in very good condition at all and the concessions and ticketing were handled rather poorly. I think everyone has made these points already.

That said, I would like to add to these criticisms. The sound was awful for two nights and I understand that an inaudible performance is completely unacceptable. But the sound has been dealt with and any person who attended last Friday's performance, when the sound system was worst, is invited back to see the show this weekend as non-paying guests of Atlanta Professional Theatre. Following two disappointing performances, we have already had two very successful ones with a professional quality of sound and we look forward to four more successful productions this weekend. Also I understand that the theatre is old. In fact, the antiquity of the theatre is what attracted me most to the space. I feel that a production is separate from its venue, that a performance is the sum of its talents and aesthetics. The theatre used to be a part of a past insane asylum, and now houses several events throughout the year with a reputation for being haunted. It is this rich history that makes it most appealing personally and in my opinion suitable for a gritty, edgy show like Cabaret.

Let me also explain something about the ideals of Atlanta Professional Theatre. I am a rather young actor, and I realize that this makes me less suitable for a professional review, but I also realize what an outstanding opportunity I have been allowed. APT has granted me and many other young actors the experience and work that will allow me to grow as an actor and experience what it is like to act professionally. There is only one cast member over the age of 30 and there are several colleges students, three recent high school graduates, and even one high school sophomore. I cannot express to you enough how young this company is (in both the age of its performers and in the age of the company) and how difficult it has been relying on the talents and time of only three individuals, but it has been rewarding beyond measure and I assure you that I am wholly proud of the work we have done.

With all that said, I would like to point out some of the aspects of production for which I am proud to associate with this show. I doubt there is any denying the talent of the cast. There is not a single person who is not of professional caliber. I admit it is very difficult to agree with this when you cannot hear anything, but I promise you that I am impressed and amazed by every single cast and orchestra member. The set is so impressive in my opinion and was basically designed and built by a single person! I am proud to say that in the face of several production disappointments, the set is truly professional grade.

I would also like to add that the reviews for this show have been way too hostile, on the part of its viewers and of its actors! The intention of theatre is to entertain. I think it is irresponsible for actors to tear apart a show they have no part in. I will admit that I have seen many shows I have disliked, but I have never critiqued a show as unprofessionally and disrespectfully as some people have discredited our show. I am honestly ashamed that some of these reviewers consider themselves actors, knowing that each and everyone of them would feel so disrespected if their show had received such reviews. I do understand the rights of these people and the ideals of freedom of speech, but I also understand the ideals of respect and professionalism. That said, I also feel like the actors of this production need to respect that these people have things to say about our performances and treat them as nicely as we would like for them to treat us. Thank you. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
From an actors point of view
by RisingStar
Thursday, July 17, 2008
To all who read this:
I am a fellow actor in the production of “Cabaret” and from reading all of the stuff that has been written is a little hurtful. I realize that there will ALWAYS be criticism in theater, but I feel that most of the people that write on here are either one of the following:
1). Bitter actors that don’t get cast…ever.
2). People who think that their opinion really matters because they know all.
3). “Friends” of productions (ie. Helga’s friend or friends)
4). People who have no life and live on
Look all I am saying is that every single person on that stage has worked their asses off. And it seems that you keep talking about how all of the technical elements suck. I will agree they are not up to the proper standards that you might be used to. You realize that and we sure as hell realize that. But instead of saying how much of a non ”professional” company this is, why don’t you actually talk about the show… you know that thing that has the actors singing and dancing? I will now give my review of the show… thoroughly knowing that it will be degraded.

All of the leads: You know what your doing! Keep it up!
Ensemble: Keep up the stellar dancing! You know the true fosse style.
Band: Amazing! What else can I say but Thank You!
Staff: Throughout all of the bad, you have kept your head held high and your learning. I mean isn’t that what theater is all about? To learn?

Some of the people who will read this will agree with me in saying, why don’t you actually open your eyes for once and appreciate what APT is doing? They are trying stuff that really not a lot of people have the balls to do. Now in return, they are learning and will make plenty of mistakes. The Alliance just didn’t start out being fantastic or Actor’s Express. I find it funny that most of you have actually taken the time to bash our production which will probably bring in more people so Thank you! But please, in RESPECT for the fellow actors on the stage, try to say something nice I mean didn’t your mother always teach you, “If you’ve nothing nice to say, don’t say it at all?” Because some of you fellow reviewers seem to have it out for bashing other companies or complimenting the ones that your friends are in. I’m sorry, unless you write for the AJC or New York Times or a reviewer for Backstage, I couldn’t really care less about your opinion and neither would the cast. I just think it is very funny! But thank you for coming to the show and paying for our check. It is greatly appreciated!
Another actor's thoughts by Aviance
As another actor in this production I agree with some of what RisingStar is saying, but I also have some different perspectives as well.

I agree that some of these reviews are a little harsh, or much too harsh, but I also feel that, for the most part, they are accurate.
It is very apparent that the sound is less than professional. It has been mentioned in almost every review, so let's all take a moment to accept that fact and be done talking about it. The sound sucks and I apologize to those who could not hear/understand the show!

However, as someone who has seen the enormous amount of time that everyone involved has put into this show, I think it is important to understand that there is definitely talent in this cast, and the show isn't terrible.
Sure, there are many flaws in this production but this is a new theatre company, maybe one who should not yet have "professional" in their title. But after all, APT is just a group of good-hearted people trying to entertain Atlanta and bring the arts to the Atlanta area.

Also RisingStar, I would like to say that while unnecessary bashing of a show is inappropriate, I think it is important for people to review shows. People should be allowed to honestly say how they felt about a production and I have enjoyed hearing what everyone has to say about ours.
Just keep in mind that the actors involved have nothing to do with the sound, venue, or direction of the show.

Thank you all for taking to the time to give us feedback. It really is helpful!
wow...where to start... by mooniemcmoonster
I have not seen this show. I did not audition for this show. I won't be able to see this show because I have a show of my own running the entire time, but I just wanted to address some things. an actor in the show DON'T POST A REVIEW OF YOUR OWN SHOW. There are comments and forums in which to address your concerns.

#2. As an actor myself who actually does get cast from time to time, you can't expect someone to pay $22 to come and enjoy your show simply because you put time and effort into it. If that's what you want, then don't charge admission. That's a horribly masterbatory view of our "art". And its what's wrong with a lot of community theatre and actors in general.

#3. And this goes back to #2 a bit, as an actor who occasionally gets paid, if it comes down to my paycheck or the overall production of the show, I don't mind a dock in my pay so that people, oh...CAN ACTUALLY HEAR AND UNDERSTAND WHAT I'M DOING! What is the point of doing a show if no one can understand what's going on...other than for selfish, masterbatory purposes?

RisingStar and Whadupputtytat, thank you for helping me understand… by Scarecrow
the mission of Atlanta Professional Theater. Contrary to the published mission statement on the APT website, and according to Whadupputtytat, the mission is to “create an environment for performers” (not the audience). Even the “name was considered with actors in mind” (again, not the audience, it’s a name that misleads the audience). “Money into the production budget was never the intention” (at the expense of the audience’s experience). “Money into the pocket of an actor was the goal” (thanks to the audience).

How sad I am that this attitude of “it’s about me - the actor” has been taught and accepted by the cast employed by Atlanta Professional Theater as RisingStar has illustrated. RisingStar, you tell us “not to say anything if you can’t say anything nice” and then call us “bitter actors that don’t get cast”, ”people who have opinions…”, “people with no life.” Is that nice? Is “RESPECTING your fellow actor” impugning Helga and her friends by adding them to your list of bitter actors and people with no life, because they mentioned her favorably in a review and not you? RisingStar we HAVE BEEN talking about the show. The show is the sum of ALL aspects of the production. Not just “about the actors” as you have been taught. Please tell me what new “stuff that APT is doing that really not a lot of people have the balls to do”. If it’s creating a company for the purpose of inflating the egos and pocketbooks of actors and not to produce a TOTAL quality product for its audience, then APT has succeeded and I agree that takes balls! But will APT really succeed with that attitude in the long run?

“I couldn’t really care less about your opinion”! Ah, the new motto, mantra, and mission statement for Atlanta Professional Theater.

“Thank you for paying for our check”. You’re welcome, but that’s my last financial contribution.
A Comment to Aviance by TheatreJock
Aviance: Yours is a classy response and comment, one I will respond to in kind, I hope. I think, if you read the reviews carefully, you’ll see that, by and large, your talent and the investment of time in your performance hasn’t really been questioned. Choices that actors made in their performances have been questioned. Lack of support and guidance from a director and production staff have been questioned. APT’s self-proclaimed professionalism has been questioned. And those questions are valid. Unfortunately, for you and your cast, the production and administration team of APT allowed you to go onstage unprotected and unsupported by things that every actor needs. The sound issue alone did you in. I don’t think you and your cast realize that the sound issue was far more than just an annoyance, far more than “less than professional“, far more than just “sucked”. It killed your show. The unavoidable truth is that a performance MUST reach beyond the stage and connect to the audience. Grab me through your performance and my own imagination and pull me onstage with you to live your story. That connection is what makes theatre so very exciting, and such a different experience from watching a movie. The sound for “Cabaret” put up an insurmountable wall which brought your performance, and the blood and sweat you put into it, to a screeching halt at the edge of the stage.

The comments by Whaduppuddytat are disturbing because it shows that APT, “good-hearted people” though they may be, don’t understand or care about any aspect of theatre beyond an actor’s performance and paycheck--which, to me, also means they don’t truly know theatre and they don’t care about me as a paying patron. Along with your hard-working performance, my attendance, applause, laughter, tears, involvement and paid admission are part of that total package of theatre. Perhaps, rather than putting my disappointment and frustration in a review, I should have left my seat mid-performance and demanded a refund.

I accept that the “actors involved have nothing to do with sound, venue, or direction of the show.” But that should only be the case ONCE. If you, a talented performer, willingly put yourself in the hands of such people a second time, for the sake of a role or a paycheck, then that role or paycheck is the only reward you can expect to receive. Don’t expect any other.

I read Rising Star’s comments and know they’re probably coming from a very young performer who found it painful to be criticized. That’s a human response. But one of his/her comments at the end is interesting and seems to define APT (judging by Whaduppuddytat‘s comments): “…I really couldn’t care less about your opinion…but thank you for coming to the show and paying our check.” Speaking as one of those folks who love theatre, came to your show and helped to pay the check, there is only one way to answer that attitude .
I understand by Richard Long
It is hard to see all of this criticism, especially when most of it is negative. It's human nature to jump to the defenses when people are ripping your show to shreds and you're a young company that is trying to get a foothold in the world. However, I do agree that if this production was as bad as Disney's High School Musical, then I really feel sorry for you. It sounds like the actors did the best they could, given what they had to work with. I think the agreement amongst the masses is that the technical aspects and the directing were horrible and took away from the acting in a way that caused people to need barf bags located in the pocket of the seat in front of them. Personally, I think that anyone who stages Disney High School Musical is not worth my paying money to start with, but that's another episode of Springer. Let's stay on track here. I would suggest that you change your company name to accomodate the lack of professionalism that apparently seems to be the main issue here. Don't put "Professional" in your name if you aren't going to act like it.
Disappointed Once again with Atlanta "Professional" Theatre!
by J_Wild
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
"We are committed to producing quality musical theatre in a professional manner and exposing the Metro Atlanta area to our experience and dedication to the theatrical arts."

Above is the mission statement of APT, Atlanta Professional Theatre. From What I've seen of APT (High School Musical and Cabaret) I have seen no quality musical theatre...Just mediocre high school quality theatre. "In a Professional Manner": Wow. I am surprised the Atlanta Professional Theatre associates themselves with that word. They are far from Professional. Professional would be the Alliance or the Fox (or Horizon, etc. Can't think right now) So my point is, I do not think their name is an appropriate reflection of their level of professionalism.

Anyway, onto my review of Cabaret! I honestly wasn't expecting a ton from this show. Their performance of High School Musical didn't blow me away. And I wouldn't have paid for a ticket, but my friend had an extra one, so I decided to go and give APT another chance... I am SO Surprised they are still at that shit theater, Brooke Run. The sound was even worse than HSM for some reason. Lighting was decent. The cast wasn't terrible, but the direction was pathetic! I would've loved more dancing than what was already there. Singing didn't blow me away. I thought the Emcee did not have a good voice. But i Loved Emma Goidel as Helga. She was my favorite!

So, I unfortunately do not recommend this show. I was terribly disappointed and will never be returning to this below average community theater (even if I am offered a free ticket). Some Theater Companies need to see the difference between professional and amateur work. They definitely need a change of name. Theater-Goers are going into that theater thinking "Oh goodie! A professional production!" and they leave wondering why the hell they named that theater company Atlanta PROFESSIONAL Theatre.

Accolades for Young theatre company
by theatrebarbra
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
It was a pleasure to join with the rest of the Saturday evening audience in a standing ovation for the performance of "Cabaret." It was skillfully directed and acted by an excellent young cast.

The performance balanced the opposites of a joyful cabaret with the
sorrow of the Nazi persecution. With beautiful choreograpy the cast was at
one moment in the height of celebration of life and then marching toward the
horror of the gas chamber.

A high point for me was the scene in which the character played by Nick Morrett realized the baby which was probably his had been aborted. Tears welled up in my eyes.

May I heartily add my congratulations to this gutsy young theatre group.
Cant wait to see what you will bring to Atlanta and surrounding areas in the
Emcee Shout
by MikeAtl
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
I'm so confused. The cast, particularly the Emcee, was amazing. Maybe you guys saw the show on an off night or something. I agree with Katie that there were one too many Kit Kat girls but I seriously think some of you are just so unbalanced in your reviews. Context is not irrelevant when assessing a show's value. You do not evaluate local productions like this with the same critical lens as you might apply to reviewing a Regional Equity production. As the song goes, "Money Money Money Money Money Money . . ." it's all about money when it comes to covering up a show's imperfections. In this case, based on how low-rent the location is, I'm guessing the budget was somewhere near, oh, a night at La Quinta. I hope the kids in the show didn't get stiffed in the process, though, b/c their performances were awesome! The Emcee was damn near close to Cumming's portrayal on Broadway - I Don't Care Much was incredibly moving and my favorite number, If you Could See Her, was pitch perfect - up beat and funny until the last moment when it all goes to that creepy place that IS Cabaret. Also, someone mentioned something about Sally. When I saw her, the actress was dead on - kind of like she WAS a little looped out on Gin. She was shaking when she perform "Cabaret" which really gave me a sense of her commitment.

Overall, I liked the show a lot - don't go expecting a great production but if you can focus on the performances, you'll have a hell of a time. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
by TheaterColin
"you do not evaluate local productions like this with the same critical lens as you might apply to reviewing a Regional Equity production"....If you have "professional" in your name, and charge a good amount of money for the show (more than any community theater or some pro theatres), I would I expect the caliber of a show by Theater of the Stars, or maybe the Alliance! But I agree with the fact that Atlanta "Professional" Theater needs to REALLY step it up if they are going to charge $28 for a ticket. I attended HSM by Atlanta Professional theatre and was not impressed one bit. Mediocre choreography, Terrible Sound (not to mention awful venue) really was not one bit professional. I think they should change their name. Because from the shows I've seen by them, it has not been as good as several other community shows that I've seen.

So the reviewers are comparing this to all other professional shows in atlanta. If they are going to have the word "Professional" in their name, they better start having professional shows,
I agree! by Majestic123
I totally agree with TheaterColin. If this company didn't try to portray themselves as "professional" and on the same level as some other local pro or semi-pro theatres, then I'm sure many of these reviews wouldn't be so harsh. But by portraying themselves as "professional" and charging so much for tickets, the audience expects a certain level of quality.

After seeing some amazing shows this summer (like Urinetown at OnStage Atlanta, and Hedwig at Actor's Express) I was greatly let down by this production of Cabaret by a company who claims to be on the same level (if not better) than these companies. Not even close.
The Cast is Worth the Time
by Katie97
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Wow. In true "Cabaret" spirit, this show has ignited a firestorm of controversy. I'd say there is some truth and a bit of fiction. I saw the show and no, it wasn't Broadway but for pete's sake - if you want to see that, pay $400 for a roundtrip ticket to NYC and an additional $120 for a good seat and have at it. This is a totally decent production of Cabaret in a small theatre in Dunwoody, GA that you can see (and get wine and snacks) for $28 front row. The hyperbolic review that "Scarecrow" gave, in particular, though accurate at times, was highly unfair and might indicate that he's missing not a brain, but a heart. Or, that he's only seen Broadway level or Regional productions of shows . . . or, of course, he might just be a bitter old stage queen too senior to play the Emcee. Ah, the pain of losing the six pack is fodder for many an angry art rant.

For me, the show can be summed up as a mixed bag. I thought the cast was great from top to bottom. There were probably one too many Kit Kat girls and one too few period costumes. The direction was poor but the choreography was strong. The sound sucked but the lighting was fine. The location left something to be desired but parking was free.

Specifically on cast, the Emcee and Schneider were brilliant and, like much of the cast, far exceeded the humble production. Perhaps this shined a more harsh light on the director than if the cast had been mediocre. You wanted the production to meet their talent and rarely did. At times, it was clear that the entire show had been directed by the actors themselves. There were missing bits of emotional pow that characterize Cabaret's emotional roller coaster which can only indicate a lack of direction or general knowledge of the show on the part of the production team.

I say see the show with a few glasses of wine in you. It will dull the short-comings of the production and only ease you into the spell that the exemplary cast weaves. These performers deserve to be seen and appreciated not tossed out with the bathwater. They are worth the investment.

Get Drunk by Richard Long
Now that's a new concept I've never heard before on here. "See the show with a few glasses of wine". I have to say, if it takes a few glasses of wine to enjoy a production then it must be a horrible show. I can say that their website looks like no thought went into it.
Question.... by Scarecrow
“These performers deserve to be seen and appreciated”?! What does the audience deserve? I thought this was a “professional” theater company. “Buy a ticket and come to an Atlanta Professional Theater company show (drunk) so you can appreciate the cast because THEY deserve it? But please overlook the lack of direction, or that the actors have not been given a workable environment. Kindly ignore the fact that you can’t understand them, because the parking is free.”

It’s the paying AUDIENCE that “deserves” a production that can be understood. The performers have to be heard, and it is the lack of “appreciation” from the production company “Atlanta Professional Theater” that is on display here. They didn’t appreciate their own performers, or their customers enough to address the elementary problems of this production.

Sorry this comment is so short, but apparently I need to get to the gym for my ads and cardio.
WOW by whadupputtytat
Hi there!

I am thrilled that our little show has set off such a spark of controversy on this site. Makes me happy that people are talking about theatre. I wanted to add my comment on this particular review because Katie97 seems to hit it dead on. Atlanta Pro theatre is a nine month old company that came into existence when 3 actors got together and decided it was time to create another venue for performers in the Atlanta area. No major backers, no major contributions, just some guts and a dream. I you have followed the company since November you will have seen the leaps taken in quality from show to show. The chosen name for the company was considered with actors in mind. What has seemed to backfire is the assumption that the company is going to automatically rise to the standards of other Atlanta theatres with a much richer history and a longer list of finacial suporters and the hand pick of artistic staff around the community. This just isn't our current investment. our current investment is talent. And providing talent with a place to spread its wings. A professional company built by actors---for actors. Sure...we could have taken the thousands of dollars used to pay actors and pumped it into the production budget, but that was never our intention. So please know this....when you come see a show...your minimal ticket price is most likely going into the pocket of an actor, a musician, or a technician. Not into the pocket of a producer. So yes...the cast is worth it. And they are wonderful. And one day soon Atlanta Pro Theatre will have the means and resources to match the talent in which it has invested. Unitl then...we will keep paying these "professionals". Because it's worth the fight to make Atlanta a competitive arena for actors. We hope you will help us realize the potential for this vision with your continued support! Thanks!
Please do your homework by Dedalus
I couldn't let Whattup's comment pass without a response.

While I admire your dream and ambition, your comments seem to reveal misconceptions about professional theatre in general and Atlanta Professional Theatre in particular.

First and foremost, professional theatre is more than "actors spreading their wings." What you describe is more like getting an audience to subsidize your pipe dream. If you truly want to succeed at this, I recommend a few courses of action:

(a) Recognize all elements of theatre as VITAL to its success. That means bringing in designers, technicians, and craftsman who share your vision and have dreams similar to your actors. For actors to "spread their wings," they need the support of people who know how to make sound work, who know what impact lights have on a show, who know how to coordinate costuming. This does not require a large budget -- it requires education, and the willingness to share your dream.

(b) Start small. No company ever succeeded by trying to put on a large cast, period musical with virtually no budget. The results you have seen on this forum are really inevitable -- you will only alienate the people who will eventually be paying your way. Hopefully, you will build an audience that shares your tastes and wants to see you succeed, and, if you do it right, you will be forgiven the occasional mis-step. Start with small-cast modern dress shows until you find someone who can coordinate costumes (and make or find them cheaply). If musicals are your preference, there are many small-cast musicals that would fit well on an Atlanta stage. Revues and concerts are another option.

(c) Study theaters with similar budgets and similar constraints. Contrary to your cynical comments, there are many small-scale professional Atlanta companies made up of paid-actors, whose receipts do not "line the pockets of producers" (which, by the way, gives short shrift to the contributions producers can and do make to the success of an enterprise). I'd recommend talking to people from Seven Stages, Synchronicity, or Actor's Theatre of Atlanta, all of whom do excellent work on minimal budgets.

(d) Have a real business plan. No theatre succeeds on box office receipts alone. You need to find someone who knows how to fund-raise, how to apply for grants, how to achieve miracles with some string, spit, silly-putty, and AAA batteries.

(e) Find a venue that is fully equipped and of a size to support your talent and budget. As you have seen, a too-big, too-underequipped venue will sabotage any good you bring to the game.

(f) Most important, (and you seem to have this one beat), don't lose sight of your dream -- it's what will drive you, what your audiences will respond to, what will keep people working with you and for you.

(g) Accept mistakes and learn from them. Don't try to make excuses. Believe it or not, we've all been there, we all know what it's like to start out with nothing but a dream and some friends. If someone makes a criticism, it's more often than not motivated by a real desire to see you succeed.

If you'll forgive the ramblings of a been-there-too-often old fart like mystelf, it's not the dream that's the problem here, it's the making excuses, the undervaluation of the contributions of craftsmen other than actors, the misunderstood realities of professional theatre. Doing a big production "on the cheap" will only cost you in good will, something no theatre artist can afford to do.

Good Luck!

-- Brad
Dear Whadupputtytat by TheatreJock
This is how you want people talking about theatre? Geez. Well, it’s great to have a dream. Perhaps you should change the name of your company (and the mission statement on your website) to one that reflects your true purpose (maybe Atlanta For Actors Only Theatre), so that the public will understand that your primary concern is paying actors. Or maybe you can just ask the public to send the actors a monthly check.

There’s a great deal more to nurturing and building talent than just paying them. There’s a great deal more at stake in nurturing the theatre experience for future audiences than the needs of the actor. Theatre is a total package and if APT cannot present its actors in an environment where the audience can appreciate and experience a true representation of that talent, then APT is failing in what you say is its primary goal.--building great performers. Perhaps those other companies you aspire to join reached their position by understanding and working towards the “total package” concept.

APT has chosen to fulfill its dream by presenting full productions, and in doing so they have a responsibility to others besides the actors who appear onstage: playwrights, composers, lyricists (how happy would Fred Ebb be to know that no one can understand his wonderful lyrics in this production? How happy would Joe Masteroff be to know that so much of the strength and power of his book for “Cabaret“ was lost because the dialogue could not be heard or understood? But not to worry Fred and Joe, because the actors were well paid.). In addition to the responsibility owed to a show’s creators, APT (and any company--professional or not) also has the responsibility to surround their onstage talent with set designers and builders, lighting designers and operators, musicians, costumers, choreographers and directors who understand it’s not just about “actors,“ it’s about “theatre.“ And finally, If you think that you can build your dream without the support and goodwill of the audience (“those wonderful people out there in the dark”), and if you’re not concerned with how they experience your efforts--every ingredient essential to the experience--then I’m afraid you’re in for disappointment and a dream that cannot fly.
Does "Atlanta Professional Theatre" mean "bad community theatre?"
by theatreislife
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
When I go to show produced by a company called "Atlanta Professional Theatre" and pay $22.00 for a ticket, I expect the production to live up to the name and ticket price. This production does neither. I never expect perfection, but I DO expect good production values and a tight, cohesive, production.

As mentioned MANY times before me ... the sound was terrible. It completely ruined the show. It doesn't matter how talented the cast is, if you can't hear anything, then it doesn't matter. I found myself consistently reading my playbill during the show just to pass the time. I contemplated leaving at intermission, but since I paid so much money, I decided to stay.

I don't think any of the reviews on here are too harsh. The production was just a complete mess. Where was the direction? I felt like very few of the actors had ANY sense of their characters and that is largely the director's fault. I really couldn't appreciate the singing of any of the actors because even they had beautiful voices, the sound was so distorted that is ruined any vocal quality. (Imagine a person singing through a megaphone ... that's what the sound quality reminded me of)

Another issue I had was the overall age of the cast. Why did the director cast such young (and young-looking) people?! Definitely reminiscent of typical community theatre, where they have only 20 people audition and everyone gets a part.

Unless the "Atlanta Professional Theatre" moves to a new theatre, hires a completely new production team, and lowers ticket prices, I will not be returning to see another show. I feel like no matter how talented the cast is, sound quality and poor direction will ALWAYS be an issue with this company, and I don't think I can sit through another production of this caliber.

What a shame.

by Walker
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
It appears as if the general sentiments regarding this production are beginning to become increasingly hostile on all sides. I think we need to remember that just because one tanks a production does not, in and of itself, mean that he/she is a bitter has been. On the other hand, every production has some bright spot which should be acknowledged. That said, several "theatre people" and I went to see Cabaret and, unfortunately, all the criticisms regarding the technical aspects of the show are correct - it was a disaster. So much so that it is virtually impossible to critique individual performances because there were so many distractions with which the actors were competing. Our group did reach a consensus that Emma Goidel and Kevin Vickery stood out among the chaos. In light of the parade of technical terribles it is impossible to rate this show - I do think the actors should be commended for perservering in a production that clearly lacked direction, vision, originality, and basic precepts of production. I look forward to seeing them all in other productions in order to truly gauge their talent. If Atlanta "Professional" Theatre is to endure it must learn from this experience and up the ante in the future. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
"I DON'T CARE MUCH"...for this production
by Scarecrow
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
What good is going to a Broadway show – let alone a musical – and not being able to understand any of the dialog or sung verse? As for Atlanta Professional Theater’s production of CABARET - “What good is sitting alone in your room?” In this case, it is a good thing. It will save you $22-28 and a disappointing and frustrating night at the theatre.

AtlantaProTheatre, “Where are your troubles now? Outside?” “Nein!” They are inside your theater and this production. The sound was atrocious! Even with the lead characters wearing microphones, you could not understand dialog. It might as well have been in German (and may have been- wer kann sagen?). The band was so loud and overpowering that singing voices were just lost tones, only distinguishable when, with increased volume, they became distorted over the speakers. So, lost was any connection between dialog and verse, which led to lost emotional connection to the song and character, and, inevitably, the loss of the audience. It was obvious after 5-10 minutes of the audience struggling to follow dialogue, lyrics and action, unable to understand and respond, that the actors responded in kind, giving lackluster performances.

Brian Clowdus, the Emcee, delivered his performance by rote, marking his way through the production. I will say he is a fine dancer (his high kicks were better than most of the Kit Kat girls), but his execution of songs like “If You Could See Her” were completely lacking any emotion. Be it sarcastic or not, you have to set up the fact that you really love her to give the ending its intended punch. “I Don’t Care Much” has such a huge impact if the underlying message is YOU DO CARE, and you’re just trying to deceive yourself. Mr. Clowdus didn’t seem to care, nor did the audience care that he was singing.

Kelly Cusimano, in the role of Sally Bowles: I wish I could have heard her sing. The instances that I could distinguish her voice over the noise, led me to believe that there is real quality there. But she, too, suffered from audience apathy and rushed through songs with a “why should I bother” attitude. And I’m not sure I can blame her or Mr. Clowdus, because by the time we got to the finale song “Cabaret”, I just wanted it to be over as well.

The character of Cliff, played by Nick Morrett is full of subtleties, but you could not understand what he was saying or singing outright, so who could find the subtleties? Jason Meeks (Herr Shultz), Kayce Grogan-Wallace (Fraulein Schneider): if you don’t know the show, you won’t know the conflict between these two characters, and it is only the central theme of the stage version of “Cabaret”. All lost in this production. As was Amanda Shae Wilborn (Fraulein Kost), whose voice was literally lost in the noise, and, in her one solo moment, was visually lost in the darkness of the lighting.

Which brings me to the physical production aspects of this show. As mentioned above, the lighting was below expectations. Poorly lit scenes, actors in shadows, follow-spot missing actors or cutting them below the waist. The only visually stimulating effect was the marquee-lit frame around the band (an idea borrowed from the Broadway revival).

The costumes were also below expectations, consisting of plain white slips, non-period dresses, completely lacking in imagination and character. Sally Bowles singing “Maybe This Time” in a boring white slip? Ach! Lieber Gott! Nein! Nein! The onstage band dressed like they were on their way to a Harley-Davidson gathering, completely out of period. If they are onstage, part of the ensemble, interacting with the Kit Kat Girls, why are they not costumed?

The props were interesting: the suitcases, beautiful old victrola. But what was with the modern day chairs used in the dance numbers?! The chairs looked like they came from the Ramada Inn Conference Room furniture collection.

The set was functional, although not much to look at. No theme, no color, no purposeful lack of color, just pieced together. Given the horrible sound, the visual aspects of this show became even more important, so set design, too, fell below expectations.

The 7 piece band, led by Margi Pietsch, was excellent (although overpowering singers), so what was with the recorded music for the big dance number (“Kickline”) at the opening of Act 2? And why have the Emcee make an entrance in the middle of that number. It’s the fact that it starts with him as an anonymous dancer, and the audience is shocked when he’s revealed, that they realize he has tricked them again into his world of deception and illusion. One more (and important) point lost in this production.

The world of “Cabaret” is nothing if not illusion, deception, and manipulation, most evident in the character of the Emcee. He never seemed to be in control of the evening, as he is written to be--master of ceremonies. He simply showed up, sang or danced, and disappeared. That is a major point missed by co-directors Chris Hall and Katie Rouse. Ironic that two directors created a one-dimensional interpretation of a multi-layered script, compounded by an amateurish combination of lighting, set design, and costumes, exacerbated by the audience’s inability to hear and understand what is there in the script.

And herein lies the ultimate failure of this “Cabaret”: How did a music director, Jason Meeks, two directors, Mr. Hall and Ms. Rouse, and unknown producers deceive themselves into thinking that any visual or performance aspect of this production could negate the totally unacceptable sound quality, and offer this as a professional production and an acceptable product for the Atlanta theater community?

If you go to this show, take a copy of the script, so that you will understand why “Cabaret” has endured and captured audiences with its powerful message for decades. Besides, you’ll be glad you had something to read…ja? Ja!
You are just so articulate... by EthanGrant
and amazing! It is clear to me you are bitter Ben Brantley stole your job and now you are forced to write up fake reviews in your seeming ABUNDANCE of free time. I mean really... do you have to take out all your anger from not making it as a writer or I am assuming a performer as well, from the tone of your novel, out on this poor cast of players... I really wonder what sad people like you do in your free time... Oh wait you do this...
Wilkommen to Cabaret!
by Miss Rose Lee
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
This is my second time seeing this company and all that I have to say is coming from years of theater experience.
Starting off, Cabaret is such a difficult show to put on. The whole overview of the show is tough. It deals with topics that are considered "scandalous" to Atlanta audiences. I’ve always wondered how the Atlanta crowd would act when this show would be done here. I saw the Broadway production with Alan Cumming and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
First, I will say that sound was a big issue for myself and my husband. I think we would have been lost if we hadn’t seen the show before and already knew most of the dialogue but I feel that the space isn’t a good space for sound. It looks to be an old theater that needs to be remodeled. But if you took away the sound, every other aspect of the show was great!
Continuing on, the actors gave a stellar performance.
Brian Clowdus (Emcee) was great! That role fit him perfectly. Being as this was his third time playing the role, I truly feel that this may be a second nature role for him.
Kelly Cusimano (Sally) did a wonderful job. Her voice was very powerful. She hit each of her songs right on the head. She also seemed to grasp the character and ran with it. The only complaint I had with her is that there were times she was too quiet. I don’t even think the mics could have helped her.
Nick Morrett (Cliff) did an outstanding job. Cliff is a very intricate character and he did an exceptional job. I sometimes feel that Cliff gets overlooked because the Emcee and Sally shine over Cliff, but I do not feel that this is the case with his performance. I only wish I could have heard him sing more. What a gorgeous voice!
Kayce Grogan-Wallace (Fraulein Schneider)… WOW. Even though she didn’t fit the role of a white racist, she surely made up for it and blew us out of the theater. What a voice!! She gave me goosebumbs every time she would hit her big money notes. Fantastic!
Jason Meeks (Herr Shultz) did a nice job. He seemed a little awkward on stage at times and there was nothing in the program so I didn’t know what else he had done.
Amanda Wilborn (Fr. Kost)- did great! For having such a small part, she definitely ran with it and gave a great performance. She put a certain quality in the role that I had never seen before. And a very nice voice also!
Kevin Vicory (Ernst)- what a great little actor! He actually surprised me! To be that young and have such emotion and great timing, wow. Congrats to him!
The ensemble was very tight! The Kit Kat Girls were fantastic! All of them showed the true style of choreography. I wish there was more numbers to show them off because I feel that they got overlooked. The Kit Kate Boys were also great. The little walk on parts were nice, Nothing memorable but nice.
The Band… WOW! Excellent job for just being 5 people!!!!
The only negatives I have about the show would be sound, some costume pieces, and the space.
Over all it was a nice night of theater. I wish they could find a new space to perform in because it seems that they have excellent talent but the space really stinks. But sometimes you have to overlook certain elements and find the true passion for theater and to myself and my husband, we think this company has found that passion.
by Showdog
You've always wondered how Atlanta audiences would react to "Cabaret" and such "scandalous" topics? Good Lordy, Miz Rose Lee! Judging by the number of productions of "Cabaret" which have played Atlanta throughout the past years, including national touring companies, the excellent production at our own Shakespeare Tavern as well as numerous community and college productions, I think it's a safe bet to say that Atlanta audiences can handle such scandalous goings-on as Miz Sally Bowles prancin' round in her panties, Mr. Cliff's sexual ambiguity, as well as the very serious history of shameful bigotry and hatred that "Cabaret" portrays with such depth and skill.

You say you would have been lost (because of the poor sound quality) if you had not seen the show before. Lucky for you, but if what you say is true, pity the poor theatre patron for whom this is their introduction to "Cabaret" and its "tough" and scandalous subject matter. From reading the reviews (including yours), it seems as though the sound is truly a major obstacle to this production. Of course, it is only a musical production, so sound shouldn't be all that important.
Come To the Cabaret? Uh, No Thanks
by TheatreJock
Monday, July 14, 2008
There seemed to be some good things, or solid starting points, in APT’s “Cabaret”--a capable, although very young, cast (judging by their program credits and bios), a workable, attractive set, and excellent onstage musicians. But whatever might have been good about “Cabaret” was totally lost and wasted in what was absolutely the worst sound I have ever heard in ANY theatre or public venue--certainly one claiming professional status. Musical numbers, dialogue, singing voices were unintelligible, totally lost and wasted in the unbelievably bad sound. Audience members seemed to cope by talking to each other, sleeping or playing with their cell phones.

And, by the way, what qualifies a theatre company to claim professional status? What obligations are due performers and audiences from a professional company? I cannot emphasize strongly enough the frustration of having purchased a ticket to a show in which I could not understand a single line of dialogue or lyric.

It’s impossible to review any aspect of this show except for the totally visual aspects. The three leads (Brian Clowdus, Kelly Cusimano and Nick Morrett) gave curiously passive performances, particularly sad for the Emcee and Sally Bowles. Those two characters are anything but passive. The Emcee’s performance of “If You Could See Her Through My Eyes” and “The Money Song” totally missed the mark. And Sally’s performance of the title song was delivered on automatic pilot, devoid of the bittersweet irony and borderline desperation which makes the song such an effective closing to the story we’ve just seen. Was it because the actors (and maybe directors) knew that their performances didn’t stand a chance against the sound? Kayce Grogan-Wallace seemed to try harder, but once again her efforts were pointless against the environment (although it was interesting to watch an African-American play the bigoted, racist Fraulein Schneider, who refuses to marry Herr Schultz because he’s Jewish. Was that intentional?). The blandness carried over into the musical numbers and choreography (the choreography particularly vulgar, complete with licked crotches, for such a young cast).

The directors (according to the program there were two) did not seem to understand the dangerous, chilling, “living-on-the-edge-of-Armageddon” world of Hitler’s Berlin--a crucial, crucial point on which “Cabaret” turns.

Costuming missed the mark as well, seemingly collected from grandma’s lingerie drawers and someone’s collection of old bridesmaids dresses, and did not at all evoke the “divine decadence” so dear to Sally Bowles’ heart.

And what was the deal with the Emcee’s nudity at the show’s end? Though strategic areas were covered by his hands, what was the point at the show’s end? Was it just an “in your face” gesture to the audience, or the company saying “how cool are we, we’re not afraid to be naked onstage.” However it was intended, it was odd. What did it add to the story?

This show is offered at ticket prices ranging from $22-28. Anything that might have been a strength about this production was wiped out by the horrible sound. Given the money obviously spent on this professional production, the fact that the directors and producers did not consider the sound to be an aspect to be professionally handled shows a definite disregard for both performer and audience. I hope the actors were well paid by this professional company, because the pay-off certainly wasn’t to be found in the onstage performance. And the audience members who bought a ticket are just up the creek, I guess.

Talented cast .. lacking production.
by Majestic123
Monday, July 14, 2008
I'll begin my review with the positive aspects of the show, because I hate leading off with a negative comment.


- For the most part, this is a strong cast. A few standouts were Brian Clowdus as the Emcee, Nick Morrett as Cliff, Emma Goidel as Helga, (as well as most of the other Kit Kat girls).
- Choreography was very tight. The big dance numbers were very together.
- Nice set! It seemed to work effectively (although that tiny bed was rather funny)
- The band was excellent. GREAAAT sound!

On to the negatives ...

The main problem with this production seems to come from the technical aspects of the show. The sound was in a single word ... atrocious. This is no fault of the cast, but I would say that 60 - 70% of the dialogue was lost because the mics simply weren't turned on. When the mics were on, the quality was very poor, distorting the voices like a high school football announcer over a PA system. In spite of this I was still able to appreciate the beautiful singing voices of Nick Morrett and Brian Clowdus.

The performance space is just not idyllic for musicals. The theater looks like an old lecture hall and the sound seems unable to travel past the 1st row. The lighting is design decent, but I found the direction lacking. It was very apparent that the more effective moments of the production were due to skilled performers, not from good direction.

Overall, the production just reminded me a good high school performance. Many members of the cast are VERY young (TOO young to be doing cabaret if you ask me! I don't care how talented you are .. a high school sophomore should NOT be doing those dances and wearing those "costumes"). I guess for a theater called "Atlanta Professional Theatre" I expected a heck of a lot more. The show just seemed not quite ready for audience; maybe it will be better this weekend. I can't say I recommend this show, but the cast works very hard and it's a shame they are unable to shine due to the less than stellar production values. If the entire cast had been relocated to another local theatre, I bet the production would be MUCH MUCH MUCH better.

The cast deserves accolades, they are a talented group of performers!


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