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Willkommen to Cabaret!
Ethan Thayumanavan '17 Associate Editor
February 3, 2016

The winter theatre production, Cabaret, is a thought-provoking musical set in 1930s Berlin, at the time when the Nazis were rising to power. The play takes place largely in a seedy nightclub called the Kit Kat Klub, and it follows the story of Cliff Bradshaw, a young American novelist (played by Liam Jeon ’17), who falls in love with the lead singer at the club, Sally Bowles (played by Lucy Binswanger ’17).

Liam Gong '16 and Valentina Connell '16 rehearse a scene
Liam Gong ’16 and Valentina Connell ’16 rehearse a scene.

“At first, I thought the show was just about a girl singing in a nightclub and finding her love interest,” said ensemble member Penelope Hough ’17. “But [Cabaret] really has a dark element that slowly reveals itself throughout the course of the musical.”

Deerfield’s production of the Tony Award-winning play is co-directed by Theatre  Director Catriona Hynds and Theatre Teacher Katie Speed, but Ms. Hynds described the musical as “a collaboration between three different programs. It is music-heavy, it is dance-heavy, and it is acting-heavy—that’s just the way musicals are!”

Many adults, including Ms. Lipstadt, Ms. Clark, Mr. Jackson, Mr. Hynds, Mr. Van Eps, Ms. Whitcomb, Mr. Yager, Ms. Peters, and Mr. Laprade all help bring the show to life, each working with the students on specific aspects of the production.

A challenge of having such a large production that showcases a cast of 37 people is that all members must be able to take on the three very distinct disciplines.

Kaycie Sweeney ’17, faced with the task of stage-managing the show, thinks that the biggest challenge is the parallel rehearsals. She said, “You have to do acting plus music plus dancing all in the same co-curricular time slot, so we have to juggle all of that complex scheduling.”

Charlie Pink ’18 added, “I am not the strongest singer in the batch, but it’s really easy when we work with Ms. Lipstadt, because she gets us all in the right key.”

Besides the cast, Cabaret also features a pit band that will be positioned on stage during the show rather than in a “pit” like typical musical productions. The band consists of both students and professional musicians hired from outside the school, who work during co-curricular time on the 30+ songs and numbers in the musical.

Pit member Quentin Jeyaretnam ’16 said, “It feels as if you’re playing in a professional pit band because everyone is of a very high level of musical talent.” He continued, “The band dynamic is refreshing and features the signature sarcasm and snark that all bands seem to possess.”

Ms. Hynds is eager to see this ambitious production, involving over 40 students, come together for the student body. “When you join forces with all of the performing arts programs, it becomes something bigger and more collaborative, and that is so exciting,” she said.  “It is also the first musical we have staged in the newly renovated Hess Center.”

Students will be able to see the production come together on February 25th, on what Ms. Hynds promises will be “an absolutely phenomenal night!”