Journeying into a a 1929 lounge, Taylor Ratliff’s portrayal of Cabaret’s Emcee during the University of Oklahoma’s dress rehearsal Wednesday night was spell-binding. From the opening number to his tear inducing finale, he captures the character beautifully, refusing to hold back an ounce of raw talent and emotion.
The all-student set design is superb, in the rankings of a professional theatre’s with the Kit Kat Band being housed above the majority of the action in what looks like the stage’s sky booth, just the right amount of sass and melancholy in their music. A variety of shimming curtains and brick walls are lifted and lowered in front of the band giving the illusion or club-life, or a quieter boarding house when needed. Winding metal staircases swirl up both sides for dance members to travel between numbers, and included are small pop up tables at the foot of the stage where audience members are immersed in the action, the seductive Kit Kat Klub weaving in and out prior to the show’s start and during intermission.
The night’s cast didn’t leave much to the imagination in this politically charged production. Joseph Campbell, you may have seen him the Grand Hotel The Musical last academic year, played a heartrendingly vulnerable Clifford Bradshaw. Meanwhile Kirsten Myers’ research and hard work for the role of Sally Bowles left us both laughing and crying throughout her performance. Not to be forgotten, the romance of Tessa Giordano’s Fraulein Schneider and Garrett Morris’ Herr Schultz left us wishing and hoping the end of their romance was but a folly.
While this weekend’s plans may already be filled, if you happen to not be at the Red River Shoot-OUt next weekend, I highly recommend scoring a ticket to this sassy little number October 11, 12 or 13.