Zoetic Stage’s production of the classic John Kander/Fred Ebb 1966 Broadway musical “Cabaret”, running now through April 7 at the 250 seat Carnival Studio Theater at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Miami, captures the attention of the audiences even before the musical begins.

Instead of sitting in a traditional proscenium stage, Zoetic Stage Artistic Director Stuart Meltzer and Scenic Designer Michael McKeever has patrons seated in small tables adjacent to a circle stage that is adjacent to a runway leading to another rectangular stage. The intimate seating and the clever staging immerses the audience into the famous Kit Kat Klub of 1930s Germany as the story of “Cabaret” unfolds.

American author Clifford Bradshaw (played by actor Teddy Warren) newly arrives in Berlin, is working on a new novel and teaches English as a side job. His pupil is German Ernst Ludwig (Robert Koutras), who recommends Clifford to stay in a boarding house run by Fraulein Schneider (Laura Turnbull) and pays Clifford to run errands to and from France. 

Ernst also introduces Clifford to British dancer/singer Sally Bowles (Lindsey Corey) who embarks on an ill-fated romantic relationship as the primary story, intertwined with another character driven story in “Cabaret”.

Cabaret #1 Actress Lindsey Corey (Sally) is the center of attention at the “Kit Kat Klub” surrounded by the cast in “Cabaret”, running now through April 7 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.

Schneider, an older woman, has a romantic affair with the German Jewish fruit store owner Herr Schultz (Avi Hoffman) as the secondary story. Their story is at first comical and tender before tensions are aroused, given the rise of Nazi Germany. Ernst emerges as a devout Nazi, who views Schultz as a non-German foreigner.

While the two ill-fated romantic stories unfold, audiences are entertained by the many dancers/singers at the Kit Kat Klub led by the Emcee (Elijah Word). The Emcee is an extravagantly dressed, sexually charged character who guides the audience, not only in the “Kit Kat Klub show”, but also as a spirit that foretells the tension and immediacy of the dangers facing the two couples in a rapidly changing Germany.

The sounds of joy, optimism through the music, performances by the dancers and the tender love stories of Cliff, Sally, Schneider and Schultz change to a much darker tone and fate by act two.

The primary five actors in the musical all stand out for their acting, dancing, singing and, in the case of Word, provocative look. 

Courtesy of costume designer Dawn Shamburger, Word is sophisticated and dressed in sexually charged costumes wearing fishnet stockings, a garter belt and corset in act one and transforms into a costume with a vest, top hat and a birdcage like miniskirt. 

Along with his dialogue, Word’s enchanting Emcee possesses a vibrant voice, with the songs “Willkommen” and “Money” in act one and “If You Could See Her” in act two. Word is mesmerizing in his role as Emcee.

Corey displays a wide range of emotions as Sally, who refuses to acknowledge how the emergence of Nazi Germany changes how she should proceed with her romance with Cliff.

Corey shows off her singing range in the act one songs “Don’t Tell Mama”, “Maybe This Time”, “Mein Herr” and  the romantic “Perfectly Marvelous” duet with Warren, but shines with revealing pathos in the act two song “Cabaret”, revealing Sally’s sadness about her ill-fated romance with Cliff.

Hoffman and Turnbull, whom are married for over 30 years, show their real life romantic chemistry is their roles as Schultz and Schneider. Their romantic duet “It Couldn’t Please Me More” in which Schultz courts Schneider with a pineapple and “Married” stands out in act one.

Actors Avi Hoffman (Schultz) and Schneider sing “It Couldn’t Please Me More” with Turnbull holding a pineapple in “Cabaret”, running now through April 7 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.

Like Corey, Turnbull displays anger and sadness in her act two song “What Would You Do?” that resigns Schneider to her life as a landlord, irrespective of the emerging Nazis in Germany.

A team of 12 actors and 26 behind the scenes personnel from Zoetic Stage together created a memorable “Cabaret” that is original and distinct. 

“Cabaret” unfortunately seems contemporary, given the rise of anti-Semitism and intolerance, so attending the Zoetic Stage production is both educational and entertaining.

Zoetic Stage’s production of “Cabaret”, a musical by John Kander and Fed Ebb, is running now through April 7 in the Carnival Studio Theater at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd. in downtown Miami. At 7:30 p.m. from Wednesday through Saturday and Sunday matinee at 2:30 p.m.  Tickets range from $65-85 and can be purchased at arshtcenter.org or by calling 305-949-6722.

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