The Rochester Broadway Theatre League is presenting “Cabaret” at the Auditorium Theatre through Sunday, May 7.
This is the fiftieth anniversary of the smash Broadway hit. Jon Peterson, who plays the Emcee of the Kit Kat Klub, discussed his character and the iconic show Wednesday on News 8 at Noon.
“There’s no better role,” said Peterson, who hails from London, England. “You have to do everything. You have to be everything. You have to be everybody. The emcee of this show is not just the emcee of the cabaret in a tawdry little club in the back streets of Berlin in 1930. He also represents events as they unfold. He kind of oversees the scenes, and turns the pages of the book. He’s a very, almost gleeful, almost sinister character, but also innocent. It’s everything! It’s kind of like a Puck character from ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.'”
Peterson has played the Emcee on Broadway and during a previous two year national tour. “It’s a very important piece I think, because it’s set, as I said, in Berlin in 1930, which is between the two World Wars,” he explained. “So, there was this little bubble of hedonism, a little bubble of good times. There wasn’t much money, but people were just having fun. And the morals were shifting. You know, it was becoming more decadent. And then, of course, the Nazis came into power, the Fascists, and they started to clamp down, and people started to disappear, and things like that. So, that’s basically the premise of this show. Then you have the characters. Sally Bowles, which in the movie was Liza Minnelli, who, actually in this piece, is from London. She’s originally where I’m from. But, she comes to Berlin to be something fabulous, which she isn’t really. So, it’s this love story between these two young characters in this changing time in Berlin, and two older characters who are both from Berlin, and these two love affairs of the older characters, and the younger characters.”
The ending of “Cabaret” has left many an audience in stunned silence. “It’s an amazing show!” Peterson said. “And the audience last night, when the show goes really well – which is always does – when the reaction at the final moment of the show is utter silence by the audience, and not just (claps) ‘Oh, that was great!,’ that’s when we know that we’ve done our job. Last night it was 20 seconds of utter silence from the audience. Because at the end of the show people are like ‘I did not expect that.’ That’s all I’m going to say!”
To get your tickets for “Cabaret” and for more information, visit the RBTL website, click here.