Vintage Theatre actors enthrall us in the Kit Kat Klub “Cabaret”


Vintage Theatre’s sharp production of “Cabaret” begins suitably interactive.

Abby McInerney brings her big, bold, beautiful voice to Sally Bowles in “Cabaret.” RDG Photography, provided by Vintage Theatre

A handful of dancers at the fictional Kit Kat Klub saunter around the actual audience. A few patrons are seated at cocktail tables; most have taken traditional seats. A dancer eyes someone from the stage and waves and winks as if she recognizes an old friend. Another enlists the help of an unsuspecting theatergoer seated in a front row in stretching her legs. The “girls” and “boys,” as the Emcee calls them (though the actors’ personal pronouns are more varied), roam, flirt, chat with audience members and banter with each other.

This soft intro into the iconic musical by John Kander and Fred Ebb with a book by John Masteroff elicits the intended response. The theater is abuzz. It is noisy with amused anticipation, much the way a nightclub might have been on any given night in Weimer era Berlin.

A bell tinkles and the Kit Kat dancers — clad in black, ruffled bloomers, garters and seamed stockings or pants — return to the bare but beckoning stage where the Emcee (eden origin), wearing sleek attire and dark pink eye shadow, welcomes the Klub’s patrons: us.

“Willkommen! Bienvenue! Welcome!” he sings, looking out at the audience. Or is it leering? Sex — winked at or engaged in — has occupied the center of “Cabaret” since its 1966 Broadway premiere and onward to Bob Fosse’s classic 1972 film version, starring Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey.

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