‘Cabaret’ to take SHSU Theatre stage

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The Sam Houston State University department of theatre and musical theatre will open the widely known musical “Cabaret” this week, a story of both love and loss alike told through a group of singing and dancing night club performers.

Set in 1931 Berlin, Germany, it tells the story of a young novelist who journeys from America to Germany in order to finish his book. What he finds there changes him forever.

The story involves the rise of the Nazi party, the collapse of the Weimar Republic and the struggles and tragedies this brought for many individuals.

Penelope A. Hasekoester, professor of theatre and musical theatre and department chair, will direct the show and will entertain with a blend of well-timed comedic moments juxtaposed with heart wrenching scenes.

Hasekoester said she wished to direct this show because of the heavy themes and the message of the show. She said it was a challenge that allowed many learning experiences for herself, the actors and crew.

“This show is a directing challenge due to the structure of the piece and its iconic position in the musical theatre cannon,” Hasekoester said. “There is the need to get [the message] right. It is an interesting period piece in musical theatre, and it has a terrific script and score. It is one of the first concept musicals. It also provides some exciting challenges for student actors and designers.”

Hasekoester believes the history told in this show is history that needs to be known.

“The message is of particular importance,” Hasekoester explained. “I truly believe that if we do not know history, we are bound to repeat it. I also believe that the script challenges all humans to think and make decisions for themselves [and] to pay attention to the world around them.”

“Cabaret” deals with several serious issues, which required a large amount of work and dedication from the director and cast. Hasekoester said the rehearsal process and presenting this show “the right way” were key emphases in preparing the production.

“The rehearsal process has been extremely positive,” Hasekoester said. “All the cast members were required to research the characters and the time period. We did table talk, improvisations, and there were numerous acting, music and dance rehearsals. I feel that all have committed to the process. I also believe we have all learned something.”

 

In addition to the singing, dancing and comedy, “Cabaret” is also a piece of “statement theatre” that could leave audiences feeling and thinking about things they might not typically consider but definitely need attention, according to Hasekoester. She hopes the audience leaves feeling inspired and wanting to talk more about the issues presented.

“I hope that they leave thinking about the story that was told,” Hasekoester said. “I hope they have discussions about what they experienced.”

“Cabaret” opens Wednesday and runs through Saturday in the University Theatre Center’s Erica Starr Theater.

Performances begin at 8 p.m. with house opening at 7:30 p.m. There will be a matinee performance in addition to Saturday’s evening performance. The matinee will begin at 2 p.m. with house opening at 1:30 p.m.

For more information and to purchase tickets, contact the UTC at 936-294-1329.