Theatre Tuscaloosa to show 'Cabaret'

Theatre Tuscaloosa to show 'Cabaret'
The “Kit Kat Boys & Girls” surround UA staff member Ray Taylor (center) as “The Emcee” in Theatre Tuscaloosa’s production of “Cabaret,” running Feb. 23-Mar. 4 in the Bean-Brown Theatre. Photo courtesy of P. Solorzano.

Tonight, Feb. 23, Theatre Tuscaloosa, located at Shelton State Community College, will open its run of “Cabaret," a musical detailing night life in Berlin before Adolf Hitler assumed power and radically shifted German society.

Tina Turley, the musical’s director, weighed in on the nature of the play’s themes and relevance.

“It is not just a musical,” Turley said. “It has a strong message about acceptance. It is set in Berlin right before Hitler completely takes power. It is a decadent time in Berlin, where people are open in their lifestyles and they are open in who they love. There is a lot of great art that is happening. With all this freedom and decadence, it is wonderful, but at the same time, people are not paying attention to what is going on. So we get to see what happens when we do not pay attention to what is going on in the world.”

Ray Taylor, who was cast in the role of the Emcee, shared his thoughts on being cast by Turley and preparing for the role in the musical. 

“When she asked me, I was really flattered,” Taylor said. “I was also thinking, ‘Maybe I am too old for this.' It has been a process, getting physically in shape, mentally in shape. It is a different story than what I am used to doing as the Emcee."

“Cabaret” also features numerous Alabama students in the cast, including some alumni as well.

Bridget Winder, an Alabama alumna who was cast as the play’s lead, Sally Bowles, also weighed in on how demanding roles can be for actors. Roles can be physically, and in this case, vocally, strenuous. 

“I do not want to say that “Cabaret” is Sally’s story, because it feels like it is everyone’s story,” Winder said. "This particular character is very demanding, especially vocally. The songs only get harder. By the second hour, you have the hardest song for my character, and so taking care of my body is very important, eating healthy, drinking enough water, and not doing anything that would harm it."

Winder has dreamed of playing Sally since she was a theatre student at UA. 

"As an actress, this has always been a dream role for me," she said. "I started in theatre when I was in the second grade. Now I am 27. I graduated from The University of Alabama, and I have lived in Los Angeles for the last four years. This place is home for me. I am not from Tuscaloosa, but this is home. So this character in particular is, as an actress, it is a dream role for many people. It is very demanding.”

“Cabaret” will run from Feb. 23 to March 4 at the Bean-Brown Theatre, which is located on the Shelton State Community College campus at 9500 Old Greensboro Road. For more information on the performance and acquiring tickets, you can visit www.theatretusc.com or call (205) 391-2277.

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