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Theater review: Come to see “Cabaret”

Think you’ve seen “Cabaret” before? Maybe you have seen a performance of it or parts of it somewhere, but it has changed a lot over the years, and I’m guessing this very special “Cabaret” is unique.

Bucks County Center for the Performing Arts has mounted a production that takes its audience on an emotional ride from the minute people enter the theater. The first act is racy, bawdy and about as unrefined as a musical comedy can get as it depicts what was going on in Germany just before World War II when the Nazis were coming into power and many people blithely were ignoring what was happening.

Act II takes a dark turn as the political climate grows ugly, emphasized with sour music at the conclusion.

Sixteen exceptionally talented actors comprise the cast of “Cabaret” under the music direction of Tom Foschnot, who also plays piano with an accomplished band on stage in a special set.

About 15 minutes before show time, actors begin appearing on stage and in the aisles. They are dressed scantily and move in very suggestive ways. We are in Berlin in the early ‘30s and they are from the Kit Kat Club in Berlin where morals are nonexistent.

Local professional actress, Meredith Beck returns to BCCPA portraying the decadent leading actress, Sally Bowles, as she falls in love with a good guy, Clifford Bradshaw, played by Liam Snead. Her love for him ultimately cannot change her; she is hooked on her lifestyle at the Kit Cat Club. Beck is excellent in the role made popular by Liza Minnelli, and Snead has just the right amount of awe and innocence as Cliff.

In a parallel story, we watch Fraulein Schneider (Sebastian Ryser), owner of a rooming house, fall in love with Herr Schultz, (Paul Weagraff) a grocer, and we see them plan to marry. Those plans are thwarted when Fraulein Schneider is made fearful about marrying a Jew. It’s a microcosm story representing so many good people in Germany whose their lives were turned on end as a result of Hitler’s anti-Semitism.

Joel Grey is best known for playing the role of the Emcee in “Cabaret,” followed by Alan Cummings in his own bawdy interpretation. In this production, Nathaniel Dolquist makes the role his own. Fascinating to watch and study, he is outstanding in the role he played once before while at Yale University, his alma mater.

Bob Stineman returns to BCCPA to play the role of Ernst Ludwig after playing Freddy in “My Fair Lady” last season. His acting is excellent as we discover he is not the nice guy he first appears to be, but he has become a Nazi.

Other fine performances are given by Eileen Aurelia, Ricky Dieter, Hanna Gaffney, Phoebe Gavula, Kimberly Mason Morgan India Miller, Taylor J. Mitchell, Jacob Schrimpf, Jacob Waldron and Anthony Wright, all sensual Kit Kat Club members.

Director Irene Molloy, along with choreographer Peter Rios, has done a brilliant job with the character interpretation, acting, and movement in this musical produced by Howard Perloff who is in his third season producing at the Del Val University campus in Doylestown. Perloff, of Carversville, has produced on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in various playhouses in the area.

Local resident Bob Binkley, founder and director of the Bucks County Gilbert and Sullivan Society, built the set, and Paul Dake, resident stage manager at Montgomery Theater in Souderton, is assistant stage manager. Other credits include Lena Grace, costume design, Travis Johnson, sound design; James P. Lewis, lighting design; Dustin Pettegrew, scenic design; Jackie Robinson, production stage manager and Audre Senesse, assistant director.

Leave prudishness at home and allow yourself to be entertained and appreciate the talents of this cast, musicians, directors and designers of “Cabaret,” which plays through July 28. For tickets, call the box office at 215-297-8540; for more information visit

The final show of the 2019 summer season is “The Producers” which plays August 7 – 18.