“Cabaret” Kicks off Piedmont’s Theater Season on All the Right Notes

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Sage Shirley

Director Bill Gabelhausen and the Piedmont Players brought Nazi’s and risqué women to the Mainstage Theater for the Fall musical. Facing political and social issues head on, the Piedmont College theater program put on the musical “Cabaret” during the weekend of Oct. 3, 2019.

Students, faculty and community members came and watched the tremendous performance put on by the theater department.  If the reaction of the crowd is a measurement of anything, it shows what a great time they had seeing this funny, yet serious musical portraying the rough times that each person will go through in a lifetime.

To begin the musical, the Master of Ceremonies, or the Emcee as he was sometimes known, played by sophomore theater major Jordan Hicks, popped out of the crowd. He proceeded to interact with the crowd throughout the play. Hicks ran through the crowd and directly engaged in the storyline in a very humorous and playful way, which led into the first song of the night. Whether the play was live or if it was during intermission, he kept the energy of the entire theater lively all night long, keeping the audience on their toes, hungry and waiting curiously for what would happen next.  

Enter the Kit Kat Girls, who were obsessed with Emcee. Emcee said if the club got lucky, “All of the clothes would come off.” It had not happened yet, so the audience was very intrigued.  Through dancing and singing, the girls took to the aisles and interacted with the crowd, looking into the eyes of the audience. The live band was incredible, and allowed the performers to act at their own pace, instead of having to adjust to pre-recorded music. 

Sophomore Jordan Hicks portrayed the Master of Ceremonies and continuously interacted with the audience as the play progressed. Hicks gave an emotive performance, as captured here. PHOTO / Sage Shirley

After the opening act, two young gentlemen, Clifford Bradshaw and Ernst Ludwig, played by junior William Akins and sophomore Garrett Smith, appear on a train to Berlin. The ensemble was tremendous and performed with raw emotion. Bradshaw explained how he was a poor American writer who was aspiring to write a novel. Ludwig entices him with how he makes easy money smuggling suitcases full of goods back from Paris. The audience wonders what the meaning of the goods are, until they figure out that the setting is in the time of Nazi Germany. 

Later in the musical, the train makes its way to Germany and Bradshaw meets a girl.  Sallie Bowies, played by senior Hope Wells, takes Bradshaw by storm and they end up living together.  Later on, the audience finds out that Bradshaw gets Bowies pregnant, and she gets an abortion. While all of this is going on, Fraulein Schneider, played by senior Hannah Skelton, finds out she is engaged to a Jew, Herr Schultz, played by senior Tyler Vandiver.  Schneider has to break off the engagement because being engaged to a Jew in Nazi means that she would have also been taken down. Ludwig soon reveals that he is a Nazi, as are many of the others. This caused discord between many of the people in Germany at this time.  

“Cabaret” was an exceptional play full of love, heartache and stressful anticipation. The performers, musicians and production team poured their hearts into it providing a truly raw performance – proving that Piedmont theater is a staple of great entertainment.