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MAT debuting 'Cabaret' on Valentine's Day

 

February 14, 2019

Havre Daily News/Ryan Berry

M.C. and the women of the Kit Kat Klub pose at the end of a song as money flies through the air during a dress rehearsal of "Cabaret" Wednesday in Havre. From left, the performers are Meghan Brewer-Guyant, Amber Alexander, Mindy Smith-Langel, MaryBeth Blankenship and Bri Fox.

Montana Actors' Theater is set to perform its production of the 1966 musical "Cabaret" tonight at 8 in the Little Theatre of Cowan Hall at Montana State University-Northern.

The play is directed by Rachel Dean. David Chambers plays the role of American Cliff Bradshaw. Kate Hagen plays Sally Bowles. Angela Murray plays Fraulein Schneider. Ben Hall plays Herr Schultz.

Dean said that Chambers is a veteran and was recently in "Peter Pan" and "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street." She added that Hagen was also in charge of costume design for the show and has been wanting to act in this production for some time.

"So it was really a pleasure to be able to put this show together for her," Dean said. "We all have bucket list roles, this was one for her."

Dean added that Murray is "one of the best actresses we have, she can literally pull off any role you hand her."

Murray was recently in "Peter Pan," Dean said. She added that Hall does a good job portraying the character of Schultz.

"Cabaret" takes place between World War I and World War II in Berlin and centers around these four characters. Bradshaw has come to Berlin to try and write a novel and Sally has come there to be a cabaret dancer. Schultz and Schneider are the other couple in the story, Schultz is Jewish and Schneider is German. The two find themselves being drawn apart as the mood surrounding the second World War builds.

Dean said she likes using the word "dichotomy" to describe the play because it relates to the setting as well as the characters. Berlin finds itself in a transition period as it is recovering from the first World War and fascism is on the rise, but the city is still vibrant and full of life.

Dean added that Cliff and Sally try to make things work between them, but find themselves getting caught up in noise from the real world.

Dean said her favorite aspect about the play is the sense of being free. The point of a cabaret is to be comfortable expressing oneself, she added. Being able to watch the dancers express themselves and just have fun, Dean said, "is kind of what life is all about."

"That is the pinnacle of what I was hoping for in this show," she added. "That sense of, even when darkness is coming, there is joy that can be found if you look for it."

Dean said the most challenging part of the production was trying to capture the dichotomy that is in the play. She added that even though the play is set in the early 1930s, it is still relatable today in the sense that people just want to live and "put blinders on" to what is happening in the real world.

She said society shouldn't blind themselves from what is actually going. Even if people are enjoying life, they should still be aware of what is happening around them, she added.

Havre Daily News/Ryan Berry

The full cast of "Cabaret" poses for a portrait prior to dress rehearsal Wednesday, at Montana State University-Northern's Little Theatre.

Casting for the show took place in December and they have been rehearsing ever since, said Dean. She added that she wanted to thank Catalina Carlon for letting the actors use the Hi-Line Dance studio to practice the dance routines.

Dean added that she would also like to thank the community for their support of all the MAT productions that they put on.

Cabaret opens Thursday and runs through March 2 with showings on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students, seniors and military.

Dean said she believes the play has meaning that applies to everyone.

"I think that it's important to recognize that in times of trouble there are still bright lights, there is still joy," Dean said. "It's not OK to get so wrapped up in the joy that you ignore the frightening things of life around you. You have to see both. You have to be realistic."

 

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