It’s a book, a play, a Broadway musical, a film — and now the American Repertory Theater is rebooting the story behind “Cabaret” as an interactive theater piece.
“The audience walks into the Kit Kat Klub in 1931,” says director Steven Bogart of the production, which follows the interactive twists of A.R.T.’s hugely successful “The Donkey Show.”
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“The dancers are also acting in the club when they’re not performing a number,” he continues. “I don’t want to give away too much, but the club itself is also a character on a journey. The club is a protagonist because clubs were also shut down by the Nazis.”
The story, based on John Van Druten’s 1951 play “I Am a Camera” — which was adapted from Christopher Isherwood’s novel “Goodbye to Berlin” and recreated by Bob Fosse for the 1972 Liza Minnelli-starring film “Cabaret” — is set as Hitler’s Nazi party gains power. It merges post-1920s social permissiveness with the emerging political totalitarianism and centers on free-spirited cabaret performer, Sally Bowles. In this version, the club’s MC is attracting attention as Bogart’s former drama student, former Dresden Dolls singer and pianist, Amanda Palmer, takes on the role.
“Last Fall, Amanda called me and said A.R.T. wants us to do a project. Amanda said, ‘It’s a no-brainer, let’s do “Cabaret.”’ She’s always wanted to do it,” Bogart recalls. “I just said, ‘Let’s do it!’”