Sally Bowles (Janelle Gilreath, left) and the Emcee (Cody Keown) in "Cabaret."Photo from Alex McMahan Photography
IF YOU GO
When: 7 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 23.
Where: Chattanooga Theatre Centre, 400 River St.
In the latter days of the Weimar Republic, as the Nazi power is rising, terror is beginning to penetrate the streets of Berlin.
Inside the Kit Kat Klub, however, indulgence abounds and prurient interests can be satisfied.
Written by Christopher Isherwood, with music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, "Cabaret" debuted on Broadway in 1966 and spawned a film adaptation and multiple revivals. It comes to the stage once more to open the 89th season at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre.
"We wanted to open with something people know that we could maybe do a twist on and that maybe they hadn't seen here in town in a while," said CTC executive director George Quick.
While many people know "Cabaret" from its original 1960s incarnation and the film version in the early '70s, Quick wanted to do something a little different. The Theatre Centre is performing a marriage of the 1987 revival version and the 1993 London revival directed by Sam Mendes.
"We took a lot of inspiration from the Mendes version, so it's darker," said Quick, "and less like a musical comedy and more like a play with music."
As time passes, the members of the cabaret, including English performer Sally Bowles, become less able to ignore the rise of the Nazis, and the show takes on a darker tone.
Quick said the preparation was similar to that of a play -- table reads, character descriptions, even study sessions on the Weimar Republic and the end of a golden age of arts and culture in Germany.
"There were hundreds of cabaret clubs at the time. It was very indulgent. German cinema was on the cutting edge," Quick said.
"Cabaret" depicts the period of time when that Golden Age is ending. The underground side of the time is a rise of prostitution and drug culture, and the rise of the Nazi party, predating the election of Adolf Hitler.
But inside the Kit Kat Klub, life, as they say, is a cabaret.
Or is it?
THE FULL SEASON
• Oct. 12-28: "God of Carnage" (Circle)
• Dec. 7-23: "Annie" (MainStage)
• Feb. 8-24: "A Doll's House" (Circle)
• April 12-28: "The Children's Hour (Circle)
• July 12-28: "Legally Blonde" (MainStage)
• Sept. 14-29: "The 39 Steps" (Circle)
• Nov. 23-Dec. 12: "The Santaland Diaries" and "Season's Greetings" (Circle)
• May 10-25: "The Divine Sister" (Circle)
• June 14-July 13: "Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson" (Circle)
Youth Theatre Series
• Sept. 28-Oct. 7: "Bunnicula" (MainStage)
• Dec. 7-23: "Annie" (MainStage)
• Feb. 1-10: "The Red Badge of Courage" (MainStage)
• April 5-14: "How I Became a Pirate" (MainStage)
• May 10-19: "Sideways Stories From Wayside School" (MainStage)
Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...