Arts and Culture / Magazine Feature

Music and theatre departments come together for Cabaret

When Cabaret opens Thursday at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts it will mark the first collaboration between DU’s Department of Theatre and Lamont School of Music.

The 1966 musical portrays a romance between a British cabaret singer and an American writer in 1930s Berlin, where residents of the city are celebrating their last months of hedonism before the Nazis come to power.

Chris Johnson, a senior theatre major, plays the emcee at the titular Kit Kat Club.

“[The show] has a very happy face at the beginning,” Johnson says, “and it keeps that mask on as long as possible, until it rips it off and you see things aren’t as great as they seemed.”

The production’s designers have taken pains to create an authentic, interactive cabaret experience. The setup in the Byron Theatre will allow dozens of audience members to sit onstage at 18 nightclub-style tables. The set will also include a bar, where audience members may buy drinks before the show.

Theatre department faculty designed the sets, costumes and lighting for the production, and DU students constructed sets. Between acting, stage managing and set construction, more than 50 DU students have been involved in the show in some way, says the play’s director, Kim Axline, an assistant theatre professor.

The music school and the theatre department plan to make collaborative musicals an annual event, with the departments taking turns choosing and directing the productions. Axline says the iconic musical was chosen specifically to get the interdepartmental collaboration off to a good start.

“It’s an amazing showpiece for singers and dancers and it has good acting scenes,” she says. “We wanted to set the bar really high the first time out.”

Cabaret will be performed Jan. 18–20 and 25–27 at 8 p.m. and Jan. 20, 27 and 28 at 2 p.m. General admission tickets are $20, floor seating is $25, and students with a valid student ID will get a $10 discount. Discounts also are available for groups, seniors and DU faculty and staff.

For information and tickets, contact the Newman Center box office in person or at 303-871-7720. Tickets also are available through Ticketmaster at, 303-357-2787 or at any Ticketmaster outlet.

The Newman Center for the Performing Arts is located at 2344 E. Iliff Ave. Paid parking is available in the Newman Center garage.

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