Welcome to Cabaret!

by Chloe Kiparsky

Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome to Cabaret! With four short weeks of rehearsals, this flashy, heavy, and thought-provoking musical was performed March 22, 23, and 24 by Ouray and Ridgway high and middle school students in collaboration with Weehawken Creative Arts. The show was vital in paving the way for a stronger theater scene at our school.

Set in the early 1930s, during the rise of Nazism, Cabaret chronicles the experience of Cliff Bradshaw, an American novelist, as he explores Berlin. Narrated by a flamboyant and complex Emcee, the show is mainly set in a nightclub called the Kit Kat Klub, and Cliff’s apartment which he rents from an old woman named Fraulein Schneider. 

Cliff falls in love with Sally Bowles, a star performer at the Klub, as she enthusiastically inserts herself into his life. Against her better judgment, Fraulein Schneider falls in love with Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit seller who rents one of her rooms. The story follows the lives of these characters as they are tested, and ultimately ruined, by the rise of fascism, while the show is punctuated by flashy song and dance numbers in the Klub. 

Unsurprisingly, this sexy, devastating, and complex musical is controversial and difficult for high schoolers to execute, but this didn’t stop the Cab-gang, as the cast was lovingly referred to by director Colin Sullivan. “I think it’s a wonderful jumping off point in that it demands a high level of technical prowess from the actors and the tech,” said senior Nate Kissingford, who played the Emcee, “so it's a perfect show to show an audience and the people who might be in the program next year that this is what this program can be, and then from there we can improve.” 

Sullivan hopes that this production will create the foundation for many productions in the future. While some students were frustrated with the organizational challenges, Sullivan saw this process as creating the infrastructure for a sustainable theater program at Ouray School. In fact, the cast and crew were propelled by faith that setting the groundwork for such a technically intense show ensures that we can do any play we set our minds to.

“I absolutely loved it,” gushed Superintendent Mr. Lokey. “I think if you could time lapse my face the first opening scene I was just, like, glowing because it was so poppy and movement and into the audience and interactive and funny. I think I was just in a time warp; I had no concept of how time was passing because I was just fully immersed.” He especially liked “feeling like we were part of the cabaret.”  

Audience members marveled at the play from its opening number, with its fishnets and glitter and lights and dancing and dazzling smiles, to its heartbreaking end. The Cab-gang, as well as many of our friends who saw the play, are excited for the future of theater at Ouray School.