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Cabaret has always been one of my favorite musicals. The first half of the show is racy and fun, but in act two the plot takes a darker turn. Woven into the mix of fishnet stockings and cheeky lyrics is a serious tale of prejudice and ignorance. Set in Berlin in the 1930s, the heart of the musical lies in the Nazi uprising and the danger that meant for Jews in the country.

Cliff, a poor American writer, travels to Berlin to write a novel. He finds a decadent world on the brink of disaster. After a trip to the infamous Kit Kat Klub, he meet a British singer, Sally Bowles, and his life becomes much more complicated. All Sally wants is to live life to the fullest and have fun, but her refusal to acknowledge the dire situation caused by the changing political climate in Germany leaves Cliff baffled.

After seeing multiple productions of this show over the years I’ve come to realize that its success always hangs on the performance of the emcee. The androgynous character, originated by Joel Grey on Broadway, is intrinsic to the story. He is both ringleader and outside observer, commenting on the situation without getting involved. To really do it right actors must completely embrace the role, throwing caution to the wind and becoming the mischievous imp with fevor. Jeremy Allen Brimm plays the Kit Kat Klub’s Emcee and he does it beautifully!

The romance between a self-sufficient landlady, Fraulein Schneider, played by Vickie Cornelius Phipps, and a Jewish fruit seller, Herr Schultz (Mark Fishback), add a lovely bittersweet quality to the show. Less dramatic than Sally and Cliff’s romance, the two find their unexpected middle-aged romance will inevitably change the lives they’ve settled into and their forced to decide if love is worth it. The music and lyrics are by John Kander and Fred Ebb respectively and cover a wide range of categories. There’s a national anthem, saucy club numbers and gentle love songs like “It Couldn’t Please Me More.” While this show isn’t a good fit for the whole family, it is a wonderful choice for adults.

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show closes March 26. Performances begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre is located at 3200 Cold Spring Road on the Marian College campus.

Tickets: Ticket prices start at $25 and can be purchased by calling (317) 923-4597 or visiting

The Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre will begin its 2011/2012 season with a move to the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel. The season's shows include:

The Drowsy Chaperone
(Sept. 9-24)

The Drowsy Chaperone, an homage to the American Jazz Age musical and its restorative effects, begins when the narrator, a die-hard musical fan, seeks to cure his melancholy by listening to a recording of his favorite 1920s musical, which bursts to life in his living room. This whimsical and captivating romp won five Tony® Awards, including Best Book and Score.

(Oct. 28-Nov. 12)

Peter Shaffer’s award-winning Amadeus combines fiction and history to explore the dramatic rivalry between Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri, the late eighteenth century court composer for the Emperor of Austria, who escorts the audience through his recollection of the events leading to Mozart’s death. A Tony® Award winner for Best Play, the story is a dramatic and sometimes humorous look at the struggle between mediocrity and genius.

Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka
(Dec. 16-Jan. 7)

Willy Wonka and his band of singing Oompa Loompas lead Charlie Bucket and his quirky cohorts on a tantalizing tour of the mysterious candy-maker’s fantastical factory. This holiday treat features many memorable songs including “The Candy Man,” “I Want It Now!” and “Pure Imagination.”

Lend Me A Tenor
(Feb. 10-25)

In Ken Ludwig’s zany comedy, the Cleveland Grand Opera Company has secured the world-famous tenor “Il Stupendo” Tito Morelli, in his greatest role, Otello, for their 1934 gala season-opener. Unfortunately, due to well-intended but misguided meddling, “Il Stupendo” is given an overdose of tranquilizers, rendering him unable to perform. This zany farce is full of mistaken identities, romantic entanglements, and fast-paced hilarity.

Guys and Dolls
(Apr. 27-May 12)

In a desperate attempt to garner support for his floating craps game, Nathan Detroit challenges Sky Masterson to lure a local Salvation Army girl, Sarah Brown, to Cuba for an award of one thousand dollars. Sky ends up falling in love with Sarah and tries to reform his risky ways, but must make one last wager to prove his love. Full of hilarious characters, thrilling dance numbers and timeless tunes including “Luck Be a Lady.”

Subscriptions for Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre’s 2011-12 season at the Center for the Performing Arts are on sale now and can be purchased by calling Civic’s Box Office at 317.923.4597 or visiting

Photo Courtesy of the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre.