Cabaret at The Old Globe

A sparkling production of the classic musical is on offer at The Old Globe. Under the deft direction of Josh Rhodes, the evening is a delight.

The cast

Joanna A. Jones is in the pivotal role of Sally Bowles. She commands much of the longer first half, and then steals and possesses the spotlight in the penultimate scene. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Joanna A. Jones as Sally Bowles

The show opens of course with “Wilkommen,” and Lincoln Clauss enters as the central figure for the evening’s tour through 1931 Berlin. As the Emcee, Clauss is an absorbing character. He deftly conveys the wide open joie de vivre of the city in an era that was mostly unaware of what was around the corner.

But the specter of the Nazi clampdown seeps into the otherwise free for all of The Kit Kat Klub, and each of the various characters grapples with the choices presented. Clifford Bradshaw (played admirably by Alan Chandler) is the Yank, looking for material for his novel. Chandler carries the role with aplomb. Soon Bowles enters his orbit, and the two invariably become lovers.

In parallel we have the older couple Fräulein Schneider and Herr Schultz circling each other romantically. Kudos to Kelly Lester and Bruce Sabath for their understated and accomplished roles.

Lincoln Clauss as Emcee

The story is based on the experiences of Christopher Isherwood, with the book by Joe Masteroff, based on the play by John Van Druten. The lengthy first half could use some trimming by perhaps one scene, but the music (John Kander) and lyrics (Fred Ebb) are uniformly enjoyable.

By the time Sally is ready to face the music in the eponymous song, Jones ably grapples with the song’s duality and she gets an extended ovation prior to the full cast Finale.

Rhodes maintains a strong directorial pace through the evening, and the clever scenic design by Tijana Bjelajac is a delight.

Photos by Jim Cox.

Tickets available here.

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.