Cabaret Presented By Visalia Players

Aug 16, 2017 | 2017 Articles, Theatre

by Nancy Holley

Special KRL coupon code at the end of this article.

Cabaret, the iconic musical, opens the 61st season of the Visalia Players and the 42nd season of the Ice House Theatre. Cabaret is set in 1930s Germany as the Nazis are coming to power, but its basic themes of love, apathy, and totalitarianism are universal. Thus, over its 50-year history, the staging of Cabaret has mirrored American society at the time of the production. Director JP Rapozo’s vision is no exception. Rapozo, who has worked as a director, writer, actor, and producer in the LA area for over ten years, supports his concept of the show by tapping the talents and expertise of friends from the LA area.

Bringing in professionals for hair, make-up, set, costumes, and choreography has “molded the show into one unit, where all the cast members belong to the same story,” notes Rapozo. “I didn’t select the cast members and ask them to be specific characters; I matched the characters to the actors. I looked for their special talents, putting a new twist on an old story.”


Left to right: Lauren Chambers (Fraulein Kost), Emily Brazil (Rosie), Alex Stimpson (Helga), Sam Jones (Texas), Ilene M. Shafer (Frenchie), Robin Hoffman (Fritzie), and Tori Scribner (Lulu)

The obvious plot of the play involves two love stories both tragically doomed. “Clifford Bradshaw comes to Germany after London and Paris to find something to write about,” explains David Payne. Payne describes Cliff as falling in love with Sally (Nicole McAvoy), and once he realizes the seriousness of the conditions in Germany tries to get her to come away with him.

McAvoy says, “Sally is frequently viewed as a caricature, but I see her as more than that. Unfortunately, her low self-esteem won’t let her remain in a relationship she really wants.” Cliff leaves Germany, but Sally stays at the Kit Kat Club.

Fraulein Snider (Velva Hampson) is in an impossible situation. “She sees herself as through with relationships, and suddenly there is a man who thinks she’s beautiful and wants to marry her,” reflects Hampson. Unfortunately for the time, her suitor Herr Schultz is Jewish. The reality is lamented in Fraulein Snider’s “What Would You Do?”


Velva Hampson as Fraulein Schneider

The undercurrent of the show is the rise of the terror and dangers of totalitarianism. As the show progresses, the darkness of the time becomes more apparent. The perils of apathy are only implied, but Sally’s insistence that Berlin is a beautiful place and politics has nothing to do with their lives is as ill founded as Herr Schultz’s belief that everything will get better because he knows Germans.

The Kit Kat Club, a place of escape and pleasure where everyone can be anyone they choose, is overseen by Emcee (Chris Volkerts). The Club is a place of entertainment much like a circus where one can forget the cares and realities of everyday life. Survival is possible under the Big Top. “The songs in the club are perfect for circus freaks; the songs are all very over the top,” exclaims Rapozo.


Chris Volkerts as Emcee

Rapozo is excited about the choreography designed by LA-based Avery Quinn, who is ably assisted by Dance Captains Tori Scribner and Ilene M. Shafer. Scribner and Shafer praised Quinn for her ability to construct choreography that works well for dancers of all levels.

The director and the cast emphasize that the show mirrors events in the real world. Although the show was originally set in 1930s Germany, it has applications today.

Cabaret opens at the Ice House Theatre at Race and Santa Fe in Visalia at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, August 18, 2017, and runs for four weekends with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. on 8/18, 8/19, 8/25, 8/26, 9/1, 9/2, 9/8, and 9/9, and matinees at 2 p.m. on 8/20, 8/27, 9/3, and 9/10. Note: This play contains adult themes and may not be suited for children.

The Players would like to express gratitude to J. D. Heiskell & Company for helping bring this production to the stage as a Show Sponsor. Thank you, too, to the following Season Sponsors: Family Healthcare Network and Graham & Associates.

For more information about the Visalia Community Players and to purchase tickets, check out their website and KRL’s article about VCP. Tickets may also be purchased by calling 734-3900. For details about local arts groups in Tulare County, visit the Visalia Arts Consortium website.

Check out even more local theatre reviews & articles in our Arts & Entertainment section!

To purchase two tickets for the price of one, enter KRLCAB in the Have a code? box on the Buy/Redeem Tickets Reservation page via the Players website.

Nancy Holley has been involved in the Visalia Community Players off and on since the 1970s, both as a director and actor. In 2010, she retired from 25 years as a software consultant and has since expanded her role at the Players. She is now Membership Chairman and assists with the Players on-line ticketing system.


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