Pauper players to get dramatic

Show to debut tonight at Playmakers Theatre

This weekend students won't have to venture to Broadway to discover that life is a "Cabaret." Pauper Players' latest production of the famed musical will make its debut at Historic Playmakers Theatre tonight. The show kicks off at 8 p.m. and runs until Wednesday, but will not show Tuesday. Tickets are $7 for students and $12 for the general public. Lori Mannette, the play's director, said the upcoming musical features the largest set and budget of any Pauper Players production. "Cabaret" is set in 1929 Berlin, a year when the Nazis were beginning their ascent to power in Germany. The musical features a young American, Clifford Bradshaw, a writer who, shortly after arriving in Germany, is introduced to the world of Berlin's Kit Kat Club and the alluring singer Sally Bowles. Bradshaw and Bowles soon become involved in a complicated love affair, an experience that is further challenged by the political conflicts of the time. "Bradshaw represents the more grounded character in the chaotic story line," said Sean Casserly, the UNC sophomore who plays Bradshaw. Junior Haley Swindal, who plays Bowles, said her character struggles throughout the musical while trying to find a balance between her love for Bradshaw and her love of performing at the Kit Kat Club. "Sally is a troubled woman who comes from a damaged past," Swindal said. "Getting to know her was a journey that I had to throw myself into - I was able to develop a connection to Sally." Swindal said she spent a lot of time trying to get inside of her character's head. "I needed to be able to understand why Sally acts the way that she does." Mannette, who has directed three other plays at UNC, said that "Cabaret" strongly highlights her growth as a director, and that the production is expecting near sell-out shows. "The musical will allow people to get a view of Germany that is often forgotten," Mannette said. "Most of the focus is always on Germany in the post-Nazi era." "Cabaret" made its debut on Broadway in 1966, winning several Tony Awards. A revival of the musical in 1998 ended up being the third longest-running revival in Broadway history. Its 1972 film version, directed by dance legend Bob Fosse, earned lead actress Liza Minnelli an Oscar for Best Actress. "The performance is actually very dark," Mannette said. "The ending will make the audience feel like they just witnessed the end of the world." Bradshaw and Bowles' love affair is only one element of the musical, which also deals with issues such as anti-Semitism and abortion. "The audience is going to be completely surprised by the depth of the script," said Mannette, who feels that many people have misconceptions about "Cabaret." "It's not just about a flighty girl in a club," she said. "The performance deals with a very tumultuous historic era." Contact the Arts Editor at artsdesk@unc.edu.

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