Decadence with a message

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A bit dark and a bit decadent, the musical Cabaret is a vehicle with sing-along songs and a serious political message as resonant today as it was in 1969, when the show debuted, or 1929, when the story takes place.

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It took a lot of planning by director Steve Walpert to bring the elaborate musical production Cabaret to the confined stage at the Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre, where it is playing through March 1.  Chris Thelen/Staff
Chris Thelen/Staff
It took a lot of planning by director Steve Walpert to bring the elaborate musical production Cabaret to the confined stage at the Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre, where it is playing through March 1.

The show, being staged by the Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre, revolves around the customers and performers who frequent a Berlin cabaret. It traces the ebb and flow of personal relationships and the rise of the Third Reich.

"This is a very exciting show and a show that has a very important message," said Steve Walpert, the production's director. "I'm not trying to sound too political, but it's also a political show. Every once in a while we have to be reminded of the stakes, and this is a great way to do that.

''I mean, it's very entertaining, there's great singing and dancing, but it also talks about what can happen when things go wrong."

Mr. Walpert said he had considered staging Cabaret at Fort Gordon for a few years but worried that the show's scene changes might prove too technically difficult in the constrained environs of the Fort Gordon theater.

He said the reality of how it could be done came to him when he saw Atlanta's Shakespeare Tavern present a production on a unit set.

"This is still a very difficult show," he said with a laugh. "But that night I was able to go back to my hotel, take a copy of the script and, sitting on the floor, map out how we could do the entire thing."

All-singing and all-dancing in the musical tradition, Cabaret is also the rare musical theater production that requires real acting depth.

"Fortunately there are 30 people in this show that are excited and enthusiastic about what we are doing,' Mr. Walpert said. "That's a lot of fuel. This is a show that sort of takes on a momentum of its own."

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com.

ON STAGE

WHAT: Cabaret, presented by the Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and Feb. 22-23, 28-29 and March 1; dinner at 7 p.m.
WHERE: Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre, Third Avenue, Building 32100
COST: $26-$35, $20 show only; (706) 793-8552 or www.fortgordon.com/theatre.htm


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