Kingsport Times News Friday, August 28, 2015

Symphony backs Barter on 'Cabaret'

November 5th, 2011 5:37 pm by staff report

It’s a relationship that’s been years in the making but one that will last just two special nights.

Barter Theatre will wrap up its production of the sexy, steamy Broadway musical “Cabaret” on Nov. 10 before taking the show on the road to Kingsport for performances Nov. 11 and 12 at the Toy F. Reid Employee Center, where Barter’s cast of professional actors will be backed by Symphony of the Mountains’ full orchestra. Show time is 8 p.m. both nights.

“Richard Rose, the producing artistic director of Barter Theatre, and I have been talking about something like this for many years,” said Cornelia Laemmli Orth, SOTM’s conductor and music director. “Then about a year ago, he and I got together again and now we are able to present this first-time collaboration to the people of our whole region. It is very exciting!

“Even though I knew the piece very well, and thought I was prepared for what I would see, I was totally overwhelmed when I saw Barter Theatre’s production for the first time: chills, laughs and tears. Imagine how powerful it will be when the full sound of the Symphony of the Mountains surrounds their production on the stage of the Toy F. Reid Center.”

Based on a book written by Christopher Isherwood, with music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, the 1966 Broadway production was propelled to the center of pop culture after the 1972 film starring Liza Minnelli.

“If you’ve seen the movie or other productions of ‘Cabaret,’ you still haven’t seen it like this,” said Rose, the show’s director. “Barter Theatre always does it differently.”

Set in 1931 Berlin as the Nazis are rising to power, “Cabaret” focuses on nightlife at the seedy Kit Kat Klub and revolves around the 19-year-old English cabaret performer Sally Bowles, played by Hannah Ingram, and her relationship with the young American writer Cliff Bradshaw, played by Nathan Whitmer, last seen as Gaston in Barter’s “Beauty and the Beast.”

A sub-plot involves the doomed romance between German boarding house owner Fräulein Schneider (Tricia Matthews) and her elderly suitor Herr Schultz (Michael Poisson), a Jewish fruit vendor.

Overseeing the action is the Master of Ceremonies (Sean Campos) at the Kit Kat Klub, which serves as a constant metaphor for the tenuous and threatening state of late Weimar Germany throughout the show.

“Steamy, sexy and powerful do not even begin to describe Kander and Ebb’s iconic musical,” Rose said. “The show is not only one of the most entertaining musicals, but it also has some of the best music ever written for musical theatre.

“Barter’s approach to songs like ‘Willkommen,’ ‘Don’t Tell Mama,’ ‘Mein Herr’ and, of course, ‘Cabaret’ is not just presentational. We bring the audience into the song and dance. Now we can present the show with a full symphony orchestra for the very first time.”

The more than 70 professional musicians of the Symphony of the Mountains, conducted by Laemmli Orth, will be on stage with Barter’s actors.

“Both Barter Theatre and the Symphony of the Mountains have a strong and impressive heritage. Barter is now in its 78th season and the Symphony of the Mountains began in 1946, 65 years ago,” Rose said. “Both are professional organizations with national recognition, and this kind of partnership is unprecedented. We are particularly excited to be able to bring this production to the region.”

The Kingsport performances of “Cabaret” are sponsored by Indian Path Medical Center, CrestPoint Health, Alpha Natural Resources, Eastman Chemical Company, Eastman Credit Union and Fran & Jim McGlothlin

Tickets are $31 for adults, $29 for seniors and $19 for youth. For reservations or more information, call Barter’s box office at (276) 628-3991 or visit

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