Moonlight Troupers hit a high note with 'Cabaret' Actors, sets, music are exceptional ANNE ARUNDEL DIVERSIONS

November 19, 1993|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,Contributing Writer

A review of the Anne Arundel Community College Moonlight '' Troupers' production of "Cabaret" that ran in last Friday's editions of The Sun for Anne Arundel identified the pit orchestra conductor incorrectly. The conductor was Steve Gilmer.

The Sun regrets the errors.

The Anne Arundel Community College Moonlight Troupers' production of "Cabaret" is one of the more professionally mounted area musicals of recent memory, despite a few flaws.

The production looks tremendous. The sets are prodigious, especially the infamous Kit Kat Club, that sleazy nightspot that symbolizes the moral collapse of Germany on the eve of the Nazi takeover.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

This pit orchestra actually sounds like a real pit orchestra under the able baton of Rinaldo Massimino, whose sensitive tempos make his singers sound great -- when they follow him.

Add to the mix some superb performances and you really have something special.

Duncan Hood is sensational as the terrifying, yet hilarious master of ceremonies who admonishes one and all to leave their troubles behind, even as the storm clouds of evil gather as never before. With crisp, angular movements and an expressive rubbery face, he leers, prances, mugs and cackles his way skillfully through one of the most strangely nuanced roles.

On occasion, he even outdoes Joel Grey, who originated the role. He's that good.

Heartbreakingly effective are Carol Cohen and Mac Bogert as the sweet German couple whose lives are ruined by the burgeoning anti-Semitism of the early 1930s. The chemistry between these two is genuine and touching. Bogert's Herr Schultz is so cute and sincere that it is hard to watch him, knowing that millions like this lovely old man were destined for torture and death.

Extremely effective among the supporting players is Jerry Vess as Ernst, the personable Nazi propagandist whose banality finally opens the eyes of Cliff Bradshaw, the naive American novelist who comes to Berlin to find inspiration for his magnum opus.

Paul Callens acquits himself admirably as the affable writer, a character who could easily become a spineless wimp in lesser hands. Only an unfortunate tendency to sing flat keeps his performance earthbound.

Katy McCallister shows promise as Sally Bowles, the carefree cabaret singer whose moral obtuseness sends Cliff packing just as she's about to bid the future Third Reich to "come hear the music play."

McCallister acts and sings very well. Unfortunately, she seemed a bit off on opening night. She missed a major cue in the finale and wound up struggling through what ought to have been her big moment.

The supporting singers and dancers need to pay more attention to their conductor and less to their feet.

Whatever the weaknesses, I left "Cabaret" exhilarated by many performances and saddened by what had been depicted onstage; which, come to think of it, is the point.

The Moonlight Troupers will perform "Cabaret," through Sunday at the Pascal Center for Performing Arts.

Performances are at 8 p.m. today and tomorrow and 2 p.m. Sunday. Information: 541-2457.

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