Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

February 13, 2014


Broad Brook Opera House, Broad Brook, CT
through February 23, 2014
by K.J. Rogowski

Key to the success of a show like “Cabaret,” are the elements of strong voices, distinctive characters, and a cast that truly projects the raw energy and bawdy antics alive at the Kit Kat Klub during the tumultuous days of 1929 Germany and the rise of Nazi power.

Director Becky Beth Benedict and her cast have done just that, and provide an entertaining and thought provoking evening, as the seemingly impenetrable and devil may care bubble that insulates those who frequent the Klub, slowly and surreptitiously metastasizes and shatters, taking with it many unsuspecting lives.

Heading up the cast is Tomm Knightlee, as the raucous Emcee. He drives the show with true pitchman style in numbers like the racy “Two Ladies,” the classic “Money,” and the seemingly silly, but suddenly all too pointed “If You Could See Her.” He is backed up by choruses comprised of both the Kit Kat Girls, and the Kit Kat Boys, all of whom keep the action hot as they bump and grind their way around the stage, and each other.

Brianna Stronk-Wandzy as Sally Bowles and Michael King as Clifford Bradshaw deliver solid performances both in their musical numbers and in conveying their tale of star crossed lovers. Wandzy traces her ill-fated journey moving from “Don’t Tell Mama,” to the fragile hope of “Maybe This Time,” and ending with a return to addictive “Cabaret.” Paralleling their fate is that of Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz, whose dreams of love in their golden years are cruelly undone by the new order of things, as punctuated in Janine Flood’s challenge, “What Would You Do?”

The focus of this show stays, as it should, with the people and their stories, using an imaginative, simple and multifunctional set; and musical accompaniment that never overwhelms the voices. Come to the Cabaret.