Menlo School puts on production of 'Cabaret' | October 30, 2019 | Almanac | Almanac Online |

Almanac

Arts & Entertainment - October 30, 2019

Menlo School puts on production of 'Cabaret'

by Angela Swartz

Menlo School Drama will bring the eight-time Tony Award-winning musical "Cabaret" to its stage to kick off the 2019-20 drama season, according to a school press release.

The musical, which originally debuted in 1966, takes place in 1930 and follows struggling novelist Cliff Bradshaw, who falls in love with Sally Bowles, a cabaret singer at Berlin's Kit Kat Club. Fraulein Schneider also falls in love with her Jewish tenant, Herr Schultz.

Despite the Kit Kat Club's motto to "leave your troubles outside ... life is beautiful," there is no reprieve from what's to come — World War II. The play serves as a reminder of the dangers of political apathy, according to the press release.

"As young people today, we all know how easy it is for people to fall victim to ignorance," said Menlo School senior Emma Dressel, who plays Bowles, in the press release. "Staying knowledgeable about the present day societal and political issues as well as understanding the tragic parts of history helps us approach this complex emotional show."

This will be Director of Creative Arts and Upper School Drama Steven Minning's 18th time directing a mainstage show for Menlo School.

This is the final season of shows that will be performed in Menlo School's Florence Moore Auditorium. The school's new theater — the 384-seat Spieker Center for the Performing Arts — is under construction and scheduled to open in fall 2020.

"One of the most intriguing things about directing 'Cabaret' is how the show requires the space (the theatre) to become a cabaret, with a whole world happening simultaneously outside," Minning said in the press release.

Florence Moore Auditorium is small, which has created challenges for past productions. But for "Cabaret," the theater offers "a smaller space in which the show flourishes best, where it's easier to break down the fourth wall and make the audience feel part of the cabaret itself, enmeshed with the cast and story," Minning said.

Menlo School's production of "Cabaret" will benefit The Sentry, a nonprofit organization made up of financial investigators, international human rights lawyers and regional experts who work to end financial profiting from war crimes and genocides.

Menlo Drama has raised more than $40,000 over the past six seasons for nonprofit organizations.

Performances are on Thursday, Oct. 31, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 1, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 2, at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 3, at 5 p.m., in the Florence Moore Auditorium, 50 Valparaiso Ave. in Atherton.

Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults. Tickets can be purchased at store.menloschool.org and at the box office one hour before each performance. The show is recommended for middle-school audiences and older.

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