Top: Rudy Hogenmiller as the Emcee and the Kit Kat Klub dancers.

by David Cohen

What could be a better way to be introduced to a theater ensemble that delivers one of the best shows of the year so far? Cabaret presented by Light Opera Works at the Cahn Auditorium in Evanston is a powerful production. 

Not able to find the right actor, artistic director Rudy Hogenmiller was inspired to return to the stage for the first time since 2005 as the Emcee at the decadent Kit kat klub in Berlin. Hogenmiller ignite the stage with electrifying, brilliant and most dazzling performance as he captures the audience hearts with his commanding stage present in a role he was born to play. He delivers the essence of,an era long gone and he gives us the best execution of the Emcee role I have ever seen on stage before. He deserves a Tony for playing  this role.

The Tony Award winning musical by John Kander and Fred Ebb, is a chilling production utilizing the original 1966 Broadway version, with 25-piece orchestra, including four-girl “Kit Kat Klub” band live and on stage.

Based on Christopher Isherwood’s novel “Goodbye to Berlin” and on John Van Druten’s 1951 play “I am a camera,”  Cabaret portrait the decadent life in Berlin, Germany in the early 1930’s.  This is a love story of an English nightclub singer, Sally Bowles (Jenny Lamb) with an American writer Clifford Bradshaw (David Schlumpf), and a landlady Fruelian Schneider (Barbara Clear) who falls in love with a Jewish shopkeeper Herr Schultz (Jim Heatherly). Each one is struggling with their own personal fulfillment as their future become uncertain with the rise of the Nazis, as Germany descends into madness.

The ensemble is brilliantly staged a great collection of satirical, parody and ironic numbers, including the enticing opening number “Wilkommen,“ Don’t Tell Mama” and the funny “Two Ladies.”  The ensemble’s work is first-class act as they helping in  creating an underlying powerful mood of German nationalism, decadence and the foreshadows of the horrors to come.

The title song Cabaret was beautifully sang by Jenny Lamb, but I must admit I missed the big hit from the movie “Money makes the world go around.”

Directed by Stacey Flaster and conducted by Roger Bingaman, Cabaret will be running until August 25, 2013

For tickets and more information visit