See Cabaret at LaGuardia Community College

Cabaret Chorus Line

5/10/2008 8:00 AM

I went to see LaGuardia Community College’s production of Cabaret. Now I’m not much of a theatre aficionado, but I had a great time. I am strongly recommending that, should you read this before their run ends, you go and check the kids’ show out.

So when I went into the little theatre and heard Rashisda the Emcee start with the tune “Welcome,” which I had only heard John, the campy waiter from the Magic Pan sing before I was sold. I was ready for a new experience that resonated with the others, but was completely original. Ms. Rashida, in addition to singing well, moves marvelously, and her dance and stage presence was a fun thing to watch on top of the play. When she would do turns around the stage during different parts of the play she would invoke everyone from Groucho Marx to Cab Calloway (the swallowtail jacket didn’t hurt).

The cast was vibrant and real. Now, I know that a play must be “real,” but, what I was excited about was being in the room with the live, lively and alive performers out there giving it their all without a net. Was every note perfect, I dunno, I have a tin ear, but the whole show was perfect. I wanted to know whether Frauline Schneider would marry Herr Schultz, and there might be a happy ending for one or two characters (when I saw the swastikas I knew which way this one was going). It is odd that “the Old Man” and “the spinster” should have been so compelling in a musical so focused on youth and flesh. But so it was that Jamie Davis and Will Koolsbergen stole the show, emotionally and dramatically speaking, from the ample charms of the handsome and beautiful young leads and the breathtaking chorus line (another musical from the 70s). Of Course when Sally Bowles tells Clifford Bradshaw that she’s had an abortion, well that got my attention. Oh Yeah, And Will K. can turn, the little bit of dancing he did was amazing, in its octogenarian way.

I want to give a general shout out to every member of the cast, who I watched with constant interest. They were all wonderful to look at and hear, and I often found myself looking back into the chorus line and at the “extras” marveling at the wonderful courage and diversity of these LaGuardia CC students. Whether it was Mr. Footman as the cabby looking for his money, Jocelyn Catasus as Frauline Kost (cost) and her many sailor/suitors, Mr. Ochoa as the drag queen, or any of the lovely lads and ladies of the chorus line, there was plenty of multi-cultural-multi-talented “eye-candy.” I am far too repressed to admit how beautiful all of the young women are and too homophobic to admit the same about the men. I also have to say that I love hearing live music, and the production got a lot of mileage out of the horns, keyboards and drums they had tucked away above stage. This was a great way to Spend a Friday night, and I highly recommend catching it if you can.

Ernst, the Nazi who opens the play was a surprisingly convincing actor and I have to say, though his role of scoundrel was exposed in the second act, his bonhomie from the first act made him hard not to watch, even when he was the Nazi, in a krystalnacht redux, beating down Darryl Sorrentino as our Harrisburg Hero Clifford Bradshaw (who was good in his role as the idealist cuckolded by the torch-singer Veronica Palazzo as Sally Bowles).

The voices were all good, the show was really exciting, and since I had never seen any version of it before, neither the Queen Latifa version nor the Joel Gray jammy, it was fresh and I really wanted to know what was going to happen. Now, I’m not sure that having the plot spoiled by previous versions would have stolen anything from this show because, like I said, the music and actors were all really present and engaging.

The cast was vibrant and real. Now, I know that a play must be “real,” but, what I was excited about was being in the room with the live, lively and alive performers out there giving it their all without a net. Was every note perfect, I dunno, I have a tin ear, but the whole show was perfect. I wanted to know whether Frauline Schneider would marry Herr Schultz, and there might be a happy ending for one or two characters (when I saw the swastikas I knew which way this one was going). It is odd that “the Old Man” and “the spinster” should have been so compelling in a musical so focused on youth and flesh. But so it was that Jamie Davis and Will Koolsbergen stole the show, emotionally and dramatically speaking, from the ample charms of the handsome and beautiful young leads and the breathtaking chorus line (another musical from the 70s). Of Course when Sally Bowles tells Clifford Bradshaw that she’s had an abortion, well that got my attention.

I have to confess that I have never seen Cabaret in any of its guises before. I remember back in the 70s when it was a play and all of the theatre majors from Emerson College with whom I worked at The Magic Pan would go about belting out the tunes from the show while we did sidework. Then I recall the movie coming out and another surge of popularity, and hearing the tunes “Cabaret” and “Money Makes the World Go Around” floating into my pop-culture-world. I think there was a disco version of the $$ song (it was right about then that NY NY with Robert Deniro and Liza Minelli; Frank Sinatra stole the song from the film, but that’s another sad, sad, story).

It was a great pleasure to see Cesar Mack, a student from my ENG101, Professor Raven Blackstone and, most of all, Gail Mellow who is always there to support our students. IF you can, go ask any of them how they liked it, and I’m sure they’ll say that this show is a Must See.

Advertisements

8 responses to “See Cabaret at LaGuardia Community College

  1. Thank you for your lovely review. The entire cast and crew worked very very hard and and it gives us great joy to know that our efforts were recognized.

  2. Hello,
    Thank you so much for your wonderful review on our production. I’m very happy that you enjoyed it. That’s what all our work was for. I do hope you are available to come see it again before the run is over. Bring friends!

  3. Jamie, the hard work is obvious to all of us who saw the show. Thank you for the touching performance.
    Rashidah, I was at a retirement party and Professor Lucca, who saw the show Thursday, absolutely gushed about your performance. He was particularly taken by the androgyny in your performance.

  4. Thank you very much for the support. I have never read a review about a production that I was a part of before. I am very proud of the whole cast and they all worked very hard. I am especially proud of Jamie for performing with a broken leg, Rashida for being a very daring and diverse Emcee, to Will Koolsbergen, my mentor and most talented actor I have shared the stage with, to Matt for being a surprisingly convincing Nazi, and to Veronica for giving a heartfelt and dramatic performance. I love them all! I just wish you could have caught the Saturday performance, it was my own personal best. However, if you say you enjoyed our “Second show let down” then that is something we can all be truly proud of. Thank you!

  5. hello there and thank you for the kind words. I have never read a review about a performance that I was a part of . How exciting!Thank you so much, we all certainly worked very diligently and deserve to be praised hehe. I wish you would have came opening night, It was the best performance ever but there is still more to come, so come on Friday, May 16th, the last performance and I promise, the most memmorable. Toodle-pip!!

  6. My daughter and I will try and come on Friday. All of the performances were exciting and daring. Ms. Davis’ performance with a broken leg, which I should have mentioned, is taking the old show-biz bromide a bit too far (and literally).

  7. Thanks Stafford for the amazing review and for seeing our production. I am glad you enjoyed it as much as you did and i appreciate the support.

    Much Love,
    Mr. Footman

  8. outclass says : I absolutely agree with this !

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s