Cabaret, which is playing at Bennington’s Oldcastle Theatre on Main Street until August 2, is based on the play I Am A Camera by John Van Druten which in turn was based on Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Stories. I Am A Camera was the first play that Bob directed in Princeton’s summer theatre with an eighteen year old Maria Tucci as Sally Bowles. Bob inserted a song for Maria to sing at the nightclub. He also saw the first production of the play in 1966 with Joel Gray, Jill Haworth, Lotte Lenya and Jack Gilford. The play won eight Tonys for this first production and has been revived many times since with Joel Gray reprising his role in at least one of the revivals. Most recently, Alan Cumming played the emcee on Broadway. The musical was made into a successful film in 1972 with Joel Gray and Liza Minnelli, directed by Bob Fosse. It won eight Academy Awards.
Kander and Ebb, along with Stephen Sondheim, added grit to the American musical. Kander and Ebb’s many hits include, Zorba, Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Visit and the Scottsboro Boys. They also composed for films, Funny Lady, New York, New York and the films ol Cabaret and Chicago. Kander and Ebbs musicals are popular world wide. We saw a production of Kiss of the Spider Woman in Vienna. We were also fortunate to see The Visit last year at the Williamstown Theatre.
Seeing Cabaret in Oldcastle’s intimate space is exciting. We were fortunate enough to be seated at one of the nightclub tables at the front of the seats, but whether there or in the last row of the theatre, one was at the Kit Kat club in a way that few theatres can provide. Those who saw last year’s production of My Fair Lady at Oldcastle will be even more impressed by this production.On opening night there was a bus group in the audience and I would be surprised if there were not more given the quality of this performance.
We were lucky enough to interview Frank Latson, the director and three of the cast members before the show opened.