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Award-winning musical 'Cabaret' comes to IU Auditorium


Pitting  Berlin’s nightlife against the backdrop of an oncoming World War II, the musical “Cabaret” comes at 8 p.m. March 20 and 21 to IU Auditorium.

This production is based on a Roundabout Theatre Company’s Tony Award-winning revival of the original 1966 Broadway musical, according to IU Auditorium's press release.

“Cabaret” centers on the Emcee and singer Sally Bowles as they lead the ensemble of Berlin’s seedy Kit Kat Club in 1931. While life inside the nightclub is frolicking and carefree, life outside rumbles with tension as Germany’s powerful political forces come to head, according to the show's website.

The musical is known for its songs by John Kander and Fred Ebb, including “Cabaret,” “Willkommen” and “Maybe This Time," according to the press release. 

The original Broadway production was turned into a 1972 film directed by Bob Fosse and starring Joel Grey as the Emcee and Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles. The film won eight Academy Awards, including best director for Fosse, best actress for Minnelli and best supporting actor for Joel Grey, according to the American Film Institute.

Sam Mendes, director of "Skyfall" and "American Beauty," and Rob Marshall, director of the film versions of "Chicago" and "Into the Woods," co-directed the 1998 Roundabout revival and premiered at Broadway’s Studio 54. Marshall also choreographed the show.

The production, which starred Alan Cumming as the Emcee and the late British actress Natasha Richardson as Sally Bowles, garnered 10 Tony Awards nominations in 1998, winning best musical revival and best performance by a leading actor in a musical, for Cumming's performance as the Emcee.

In 2014, the Roundabout Theatre Company brought back their revival to celebrate their 50th anniversary season.

The national tour company launched Jan. 26, 2016, according to the Internet Broadway Database.

Erik Schneider, who plays the Emcee, said he steps into Joel Grey’s actual pants every night. 

He said while he at first daunted at the prospect of stepping into the role made famous by Joel Grey and Alan Cummings, he has found inspiration in their work. 

Schneider said the Emcee is the driving force behind the whole production.

“I like to refer to him as a benevolent trickster,” Schneider said. “He likes to play jokes on people, mess with people’s expectations, but its all in the spirit of getting people to release their inhibitions and realize that life is beautiful and that you should be enjoying the beauty of life.”

Executive Director of IU Auditorium Doug Booher said the production's provocative and sinister nature reminds viewers that it is a musical masterpiece.

"The nuances added in this revival allow it to withstand the test of time," Booher said. "This racy and rambunctious show is one our audiences won’t want to miss.”

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