“It is so different to enjoy a show with a cast of five versus 15.”Cohort Kathleen Phillips discussing about Cabaret versus ATC’s past two plays
The rehearsal started with a review of Cabaret‘s fascinating and abrupt opening number “Willkommen”. During my last rehearsal, Sara Bruner offered the cast her expectations of their performance: everyone must act like the STAR of the show! She has implied that she cast each of them because of their exceptional individuality. During Willkomen, choreographer Jacyln “Jackie” Miller demonstrated not only her unique talent but her admiration for her ensemble and their aptitude. Everyone in the cast is a star and a savage and a triple threat! For example, Shaun-Avery Williams who plays Dallas and is the production’s Dance Captain was killing it yesterday! Jackie worked with forward energy, levels, windows, and movement, and I appreciated her use of professional theatre vocabulary.
Next, the cast worked on the song “Money” where they were expected to be “constant hunger for money from the Emcee”. During a break, I approached Jackie with a question about her modern and bigger choreography vision, and why she didn’t choose Bob Fosse’s subtle choreography from his 1972 movie adaptation. She answered that some of her choreography choices nod to her icon, and that she desires not to imitate another’s work. I really admire that everyone is trying to be unique and not to imitate other prior versions (aka imitating-Liza Minelli for the Sally Bowles role).
The ensemble worked on their dance ending with a kick line that requires a sustained smile, which requires constant endurance. The fun cabaret dance becomes an emerging uniform Weimer Germany kickline which then turns into a Heil salute. This number becomes uniform, robotic, aggressive, and uncomfortable for the audience. Sean Patrick Doyle walked off the stage with a “funny” Hitler moustache, and he looked me afterwards with an apologetic and contrite shoulder shrug. And then they ended the choreography part of the rehearsal with the song “If You Knew Her” where the Emcee dances a modern, tap, and then a waltz with a gorillaish non-human and then ends with the words “But if you could see her through my eyes, she wouldn’t look Jewish at all!”