Arts & Entertainment

“Cabaret’s” 1930s Politics Are Still Relevant in New Loyola Production

Emma PetersonThe Loyola cast of "Cabaret" rehearses a musical number in preparation for opening night.

Loyola’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts will be putting on a production of the renowned musical “Cabaret” April 5-15.

The show takes place in Berlin in the early 1930s during the rise of the Nazi regime. Focusing on the nightlife and happenings of the Kit Kat Klub, the story follows an American writer, Cliff Bradshaw, who falls in love with a performer at the club, Sally Bowles.

The musical is a combination of the minds of lyricist Fred Ebb, composer John Kander and playwright Joe Masteroff. Since its 1966 debut, there have been three Broadway revivals, a 1972 movie adaptation and several off-Broadway productions of the musical.

Sarah Gabel, the musical’s director, said the show offers the audience a chance to be entertained, while seeing the hard work of Loyola students and contemplating the show’s relevance to today.

Gabel revealed one reason the committee chose the show was because of its relevance to the current U.S. political climate.

“We were really reeling from our political regime change and what the impact was going to be, trying to understand what it would be, particularly as it related to the arts,” she said.

As the story follows the lives of Cliff and Sally, it emphasizes Berlin’s political and societal problems at the time, according to Gabel. Many of those involved don’t seem to care about the rise of Nazism and would prefer to live in ignorance, which creates consequences for themselves and those around them.

“We watch the journey of a group of people who were blinded to what was happening politically and we certainly don’t want to be that today,” Gabel said.

The show includes themes of self-expression and has a predominantly female cast, which Gabel said was another factor in choosing it as one of Loyola’s spring musicals.

Gabel said the cast, which ranges from first-years to seniors, has been particularly involved in this production since the beginning.

“They really have been striving for excellence from day one and I think that’s going to show in the final product,” she said.

Sophomore Katherine Fennessey, 19, said this is her first time in a production at Loyola and this show has helped her improve her skills.

“The process of working on ‘Cabaret’ has been such a hands on, professional but educational experience,” Fennessey said.

Fennessey plays Fritzie, a dancer at the Kit Kat Klub, and said the surrounding cast has made the experience more enriching, citing them as reason for her growth as an actor and person.

“The topics covered in ‘Cabaret’ are extremely relevant to the world in which we live and I am happy to be able to explore them in such a collaborative and uplifting environment,” she said.

Gabel said what sets this production apart from others is its focus on the daily lives of Germans at the time rather than having the story’s entirety take place in the glamour of the cabaret. Because of this, she said it’s been a challenge for the cast, but they’ve pushed themselves to put on a quality show.

“The audience will be very impressed with the talent and skills of Loyola student performers,” Gabel said.

“Cabaret” will be playing in the Newhart Family Theater in Mundelein from April 5 -15. Ticket prices range from $6 to $20 and can be purchased at

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