Native son: Showtime in Ely

by Charles D Novak

How lucky we are to have concerts, plays, musicals and other theatrical events in Ely!
Coming up is Cabaret which was an instant hit when it opened on Broadway in 1966. It’s still playing somewhere in the world as I write this. I saw this show at least a dozen times – twice on Broadway and in other cities in America.
It was unusual the minute you walked into the theater. The curtain was already up and when the lights went down the musical didn’t start with an overture. There was only a drum roll and a cymbal crash. The plot consists of two stories. The first takes place in the nightclub called the Kit Kat Klub. The second is about a failed romance
The two main stars in the show are Sally Bowles and the unnamed Master of Ceremonies. Every song in this musical is a hit. They were written by John Kander and Fred Ebb. My favorites are the title song Cabaret followed by Don’t Tell Mama, Casey at the Bat, Two Ladies and Maybe This Time.
You will be humming the tune to this one all the way home. Cabaret won the Tony Award for best musical. The musical closed on September 6, 1969 after 1,165 performances and 21 previews. Some of the Broadway stars who appeared in this show were Jill Haworth, Joel Grey, Judi Dench, Alyson Reed, Adam Godley and Werner Kemperer just to name a few.
Cabaret was back on Broadway in 1998. It became the third longest running revival in Broadway history. It ran for 2,377 performances breaking the record of the original Broadway production.
Cabaret was also a huge success in London when it opened on February 28, 1968. It’s been back to the West End London theater district for three more revivals. This show had changes since 1966 which included the dialogue, staging and scenic adjustments and the updating of some of the songs.
And now it’s coming to Ely and I can’t wait!
Cabaret was also made into a movie with Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey which was very entertaining but I still prefer live stage performances. Showtimes at the Ely Vermilion College Theater are Thursday, March 28, Friday, March 29, Saturday, March 30, Sunday, March 31, Tuesday, April 2, Thursday, April 4, Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6. The Sunday, March 31 is the only matinée beginning at 2 p.m. All the other performances are at 7 p.m.
I will be writing a review of the show which will appear in my “Native Son “column in the Ely Echo. Every seat in the Vermilion Theater should be filled for this historic musical.