It's a 'Cabaret' world at Venice Theatre
The Venice Theatre has already transformed its Pinkerton Theatre into Pinky's Cabaret for its second Summer Cabaret Festival. Now it's turning the mainstage theater into the Kit Kat Club for the Summer Stock production of Kander and Ebb's "Cabaret."
The program is considered a "boot camp" for high school and college-age students, who spend several weeks studying and rehearsing the show with director and choreographer Brad Wages.
It features a cast that will be familiar to longtime Venice Theatre patrons.
Tony DeNiro, who has grown up at the theater, plays the Emcee, who oversees the Kit Kat Club, an on-the-edge, slightly decadent nightclub popular in Berlin at a time when the Nazis were taking power.
Kaitlyn Terpstra plays the Kit Kat star Sally Bowles, and Patrick Mounce is Cliff Bradshaw, an American writer who has come to gather experiences for his stories. His character is based on Christopher Isherwood, who wrote the book that inspired the musical.
Also in the cast are Robert "Chip Plummer" as Ernst Ludwig, Charlotte Crowley as the prostitute Fraulein Kost, Preston Boyd as the store owner Herr Schultz and Priscilla Boyd as the lady lady Fraulein Schneider.
"Cabaret is a show that all theatre students need to be exposed to,” Wages said. “It’s gritty and bizarre and on the edge because the world was on the edge at that period of time. Cabaret is really a history lesson, both in the history of musical theatre and the history of pre-World War II Germany."
Terpstra and Mounce represent firsts for the eight-year-old program. They have been hired as professional actors for the production, which has been a goal for Executive and Artistic Director Murray Chase.
The theater has hired sound designers, stage managers and costumers out of the program in the past.
Terpstra and Mounce each received contracts for their roles, Chase said. They "have risen above my high expectations. They are serving as professional examples to younger, up-and-coming student performers. They've shown sterling leadership all summer."
They and several of the other cast members were also featured this summer in "Inn of Crossed Destinies," an original commedia dell'arte play created for them during the American Association of Community Theatre's WorldFest2014.
"Cabaret" opens July 31 and continues through Aug. 10 at Venice Theatre, 140 W. Tampa Ave., Venice. Tickets are $25, $15 for college students and $13 for high school students. It is not recommended for those under 16. For more information: 488-1115; venicestage.com