Richard Marsh Dearborn Press and Guide/May 18, 1989
It was obvious a lot of time and effort went into the staging of Henry Ford Community College’s “Cabaret” last weekend. Special effects by director and technical wizard George Popovich were in abundance. One of the best effects was during “Tomorrow Belongs to Me,” sung by the waiters in Nazi uniforms, and the emcee. As the actors performed, huge swastikas glistening with blood slowly appeared from the cavernous darkness behind the performers. The serious downtrodden tune featured the emcee in black with a red spotlight on his face. When the emcee finished walking down the runway at the end of the number, the red spotlight was slowly faded out to reveal a horrific blacklight makeup: the emcee’s face transformed into a sardonic, leering skull! The most astonishing effect came at the end of the show where the emcee opens a trap in a ramp extending out into the audience. The open ramp reveals a swirling chaos of red fog. The emcee leaps into the pit, as though he’s leaping back into hell!
The scenes moved quickly and clever lighting and staging helped tell the story in a fresh and interesting way. A ramp was extended into the audience and an abundance of chaser lights and glitter curtains set the tone of decadence appropriate to the time and place of the production.
The best portrayals were those of Jennifer Parlette as Fraulein Schneider and Mark Powell as Herr Schultz. Steve Nicolich was good as the master of ceremonies. Heather Capote and Victor Bidini as Clifford Bradshaw were enjoyable in the lead roles.
The choreography was of Diane Mancinelli’s usual high standards, and her dances served the sleazy, cigarette-filled world of the cabaret well.
The major weakness of the show was with the music. The orchestra played with dentist-office-like tempo and volume. While the music director did a good job of keeping the musicians from overpowering the singing, the lack of power from the singers made it sound like a battle to see who could perform more quietly.
- The Emcee: Steve Nicolich
- Clifford Bradshaw: Victor Bidini
- Ernst Ludwig: James Komar
- Fraulein Schneider: Jennifer Parlette
- Fraulein Kost: Cheri Cernan
- L Telephone Girl: Catherine Sweeny
- Sally Bowles: Heather Capote
- Girls Orchestra: Kelly Rodenberg, Lisa Rodenberg, Bethann West, Lynette Shoup
- Two Ladies: Valerie G, Petkovich, Catherine Sweeny
- Taxi Driver: Jeff Simms
- Kit Kat Girls: Elaine Pureleski, Jennifer Gentry, Jeanette Pryciak, Andrea White, Andrea Andrews, Tamara Riggs, Leslie Rains
- German Soldiers and Waiters: Gregory Mitchell, Bill Williams, Darin Puruleski
- Singing Waiters: Charles Campbell, John Klauke, Adam Lux, Bill Williams
- Patrons: Pat White, Valerie G. Petkovich, Donna Montgomery, Paula Garrison