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Arden Theatre kicks off its 30th season with 'Cabaret'

History does more than repeat itself — it dances around itself.
Be sure to check out Cabaret at the Arden Theatre this month. | Mark Garvin
Be sure to check out Cabaret at the Arden Theatre this month. Mark Garvin

Satire and parody are indispensable things when it comes to coping with the tempered socio-political climate hovering over our country. Theater is a perfect platform to exercise those things in a way that builds awareness, sparks conversation and paints the perpetual cycle of history in a contemporary and cautionary light.

“Cabaret” is a beacon, and artistic director Matthew Decker assures that while there is bountiful comedy and derision, the play dances around an important question: “why do we continue to allow destructive powers to gain control of society?”

The play takes place at The Kit Kat Club, the hottest nightspot in 1929 Berlin. American writer Cliff Bradshaw travels to Germany in search of inspiration and pleasure, and finds both in nightclub performer Sally Bowles.

However, outside the club’s doors, the Nazis’ impending rise to power threatens to splinter their decadent lifestyle.

“It’s similar to our daily shows and nightly news shows,” Decker added.

“That was cabaret at that time.” “Cabaret” was originally conceived in 1966 by Hal Prince and written by John Van Druten in response to the American Civil Rights movement. Similar tensions have run their course again in 2017, and a performance like “Cabaret” is more than just important — it’s vital.

“I think theater should always be reflective of the society consuming it,” said Decker. “It’s time to present performances that are not fluff and encourage us to look inward.” Decker went further to discuss not only the responsibility of art and theater, but also our own responsibilities.

“Wherever there will be people, there will be hatred. What do we do when we experience hatred or prejudice? It’s not our job to fall silent, it's to push back, and I hope that’s what audience members take from this.”

Decker promises an exciting show accompanied by “one of the best scores that have been written for musical theater.” “Cabaret” is the winner of 11 Tony Awards. Decker himself won the Barrymore Award for Outstanding Direction of a Musical for the past two years for his work on the Arden’s “The Stinky Cheese Man” and for “Into the Woods” at Theatre Horizon.

“Cabaret” is running at Arden Theatre now until Oct 22.

Tickets range from $37-52, with discounts available for groups of 15 or more, seniors, students, military, and educators.

For more information, visit ardentheatre.org.