Cabaret at the Pantages

Gordon and I left early for the theater last night mainly to get away from the scraping and banging of the house painters. They’re doing a great job but I have nowhere quiet to go; there’re guys on each side of the house. So we went to Delphine’s at the W Hotel across the street from the Pantages. Jeopardy wasn’t on; the TV was turned to CNN’s coverage of the Republican Convention. The sound was turned off but I could read the scroll. I wanted to hear what Pence had to say but we didn’t stay that long. I had a glass of wine and Gordon and I split a steak sandwich–which was delicious. Then it was time to go across the street.

It was opening night for the Roundabout Theatre Company production of Cabaret so the ‘stars’ were out. Fred Willard was out front taking pictures with fans along with some starlet that I didn’t recognize. I saw Carson from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy stride by at one point. I was pleased to see that our seats were better than theirs. Neener, neener, neener. They may be famous but we have season tickets. I didn’t notice anybody else because the place was sold out and after seeing the show I can see why.

I’ve never seen a staged version of Cabaret; I’ve only seen the movie. I was expecting a sanitized story about a troubled girl. Sally Bowles is delusional and just a few days away from selling herself on the street. Repressed homosexuality is one of the big themes. The rise of the Nazi Party simmers and bubbles throughout. It’s horrifying when it finally breaks loose. One of the main characters is the owner of the boarding house–played by Shannon Cochran who was terrific–where the main characters live. Andrea Goss played Sally Bowles–also terrific. Randy Harrison was the EmCee–astonishing. Actually, the whole cast of unknowns (to me anyway) were amazing. A lot of the songs were new to me as was the bawdiness of the production. The couple next to me left at intermission. They seemed like nice Midwestern tourists who were probably offended at the overt sexuality. A lot of the audience laughed at the ‘girls’ at the Kit Kat Club but I found them sad. Berlin was so poor and the women were paid so little they had to be part-time prostitutes so survive. As the landlady says, “It takes a billion marks to buy a loaf of bread.” Degradation was a way of life in pre-WWII Berlin. And it gets worse.

Anyway, the production was effectively–and tawdrilyIMAG0107–staged. I never stop being amazed at the level of talent in this country. I recommend this show highly.

Oh, and the picture I included is of the lobby of the Pantages but the lights were so bright that it washed out. But it gives you an idea of how gorgeous the Pantages is. The Disney people did a wonderful job of restoring it.


About Barbara Schnell

I've dedicated my life to full-time employment avoidance. I've been an actress, renovated a 1921 California Bungalow, set a cash-winning record on $25,000 Pyramid, and came in last on Jeopardy. I live in Los Angeles with my patient husband and two cats.
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