Cast chosen for Southeastern Opera Workshop's “Cabaret”


Wednesday, September 11, 2019 
by: Tonya Lowentritt 

     HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University’s Opera/Music Theatre Workshop will present the Broadway musical “Cabaret” Sept. 26 and 27, at 7:30 p.m., at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts in downtown Hammond.
     The story of “Cabaret” has a long history, said Charles Effler, director of the Opera/Music Theatre Workshop.
     “In the early 1930s, English author Christopher Isherwood moved to Berlin and met a number of people who became fictional characters in his books ‘Mr. Norris Changes Trains’ and ‘Goodbye to Berlin,’ often published together as ‘The Berlin Stories.’ One of the characters was Sally Bowles, an English cabaret performer in a disreputable Berlin nightclub,” he said.
     In the 1950s, the story about Bowles was made into a play and film titled “I Am a Camera,” and in 1966, the musical “Cabaret” opened on Broadway, based on the play and the original story, Effler explained.
     “The show was an immediate success; it was nominated for 11 Tony awards, receiving eight, and ran for almost three years – a remarkable feat for the late 1960s,” he said.
     Set in 1931 Berlin as the Nazis were rising to power, “Cabaret” focuses on the nightlife at the Kit Kat Klub and revolves around a newly arrived American writer, Cliff Bradshaw, and his relationship with an English cabaret performer, Bowles.
     “A sub-plot involves the doomed romance between the owner of a German boarding house, where Cliff and Sally live, Fräulein Schneider, and her elderly suitor Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit vendor,” Effler said. “Overseeing the action is the master of ceremonies at the Kit Kat Klub. The club and the emcee serve as a metaphor for the ominous political developments in late Weimar Germany.”
     The enormous reception of the 1966 original Broadway production inspired numerous subsequent productions in London, a 1972 film starring Liza Minelli, Joel Grey and Michael York, and three Broadway revivals in 1987, 1998 and 2014.
     “Since Cabaret is set in and around a seedy Berlin nightclub during Hitler’s rise to power, some violence and sexual innuendo are included in the production, so it may not be suitable for children,” Effler said.
     Opera Workshop welcomes back guest stage director Alton Geno for this production. In addition to a long career as a performer, choreographer, and director in New Orleans and around the country, Geno has directed Opera Workshop’s productions of “Into the Woods,” “A Night on Broadway,” and “Sweeney Todd,” as well as productions of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “The Light in the Piazza,” “South Pacific,” “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Music Man.”
     The cast includes Jacob Shaver (Montezuma, Iowa) as the Master of Ceremonies, Jeanetta Johnson (Bogalusa) as Sally Bowles, Andrew Butler (River Ridge) as Cliff Bradshaw, Cheyenne Moore (Slidell) as Fräulein Schneider, Canaan White (Ponchatoula) as Herr Schultz
Hannah Turner (Central) as Fräulein Kost, and Ryan Blanchfield (Baton Rouge) as Ernst Ludwig.
     The Kit Kat Klub boys are Alfred Harper (New Orleans) as Bobby, Evan Deroche (Luling) as Victor, Wesley Newton (Bourg) as Herman, Jacob Chancey (Hammond) as Hans, and Trey Tounsel (Slaughter) as Klaus.
     The Kit Kat Klub Girls are Caroline Abadie (Luling) as Lulu, Deondra Bell (Baton Rouge) as Texas, Ariel George (Baton Rouge) as Sophie, Elizabeth Langley (Bay St. Louis, Miss.) as Rosie, Vivian McCalman (Mandeville) as Frenchie, Madeline Taylor (Watson) as Helga, Harlan Thorpe (New Orleans) as Greta, and Madison Wilson (Baton Rouge) as Fritzie.
     Music Department alumni Scott McDonough will serve as stage manager, and current music major Jaycie Chance (Amite) is assistant stage manager.
     Effler will serve as musical director and conductor, Department of Music and Performing Arts staff member Benjamin Norman will design the lighting, New Orleans based Kaleb Babb will design the costumes, and the sets will be provided by the New Orleans Opera Association.
     Advance tickets are available online and at the Columbia Theatre box office Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will also be available one hour prior to each performance. Ticket prices are $21 for adults; $16 for seniors, Southeastern faculty/staff and non-Southeastern students. Southeastern students are admitted free of charge with their ID.
     Opera Workshop will use a version of “Cabaret” that is based on the 1998 Broadway revival and has a book by Joe Masteroff, is based on the play by John Van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood; the music is by John Kander with lyrics by Fred Ebb; it was co-directed and choreographed by Rob Marshall, and was directed by Sam Mendes.
     For more information, contact Effler at

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