by Martin Brady
The advance excitement for Tennessee Rep’s new production of Cabaret was so great that the company had to add additional performances to the schedule. The Kander/Ebb score is well known, of course, and the Joe Masteroff book offers a glimpse into a dark 1931 Berlin, where the Nazis are poised to take over the government and transform Weimar Germany into the scourge of the free world. The Bob Fosse movie version, vastly reworked structurally, served to make Liza Minnelli a superstar, and yet the basic tale of the seedy Kit Kat Klub and the offstage life of English cabaret performer Sally Bowles (drawn from Christopher Isherwood's The Berlin Stories) always compels, whether on stage or screen.
Of special interest to Nashville theatergoers is director René Copeland’s casting, with the very gifted Jenny Littleton’s return to the Rep stage in a leading role that’s quite different from her long-running gig with The Doyle & Debbie Show. David Compton’s appearance as the sinister Emcee should also be intriguing. Copeland has backed up the principals with a terrific supporting cast, including Mike Baum, Ruth Cordell, Marin Miller, Patrick Waller, Derek Whittaker, Martha Wilkinson and others.
The show runs through March 16 at TPAC's Johnson Theatre, and late patrons will be seated after intermission. Tickets range from $45 to $60 depending on day and time; ticket-purchasing info can be found here. Be advised, though, that several shows have already sold out, and the coveted "cabaret table" seating is going fast.