What You Don’t Know About Cabaret

When many people think of Cabaret, their first mental image is of Liza Minnelli sporting her iconic black pixie cut and blue eyeshadow, tipping her bowler hat to the audience. But the history of the musical is far richer than this piece of pop culture.

The story of Cabaret starts with Christopher Isherwood, one of the great literary giants of the late 1900s. In his well-known book,  The Berlin Stories, he tells the story of a young man who watches the lives of Berliners just before the Nazis’ rise to power. One of the characters he follows is a young cabaret singer at the Kit Kat Klub, Sally Bowles. This character would later be made famous in 1972 when she was played by Liza Minelli, though other illustrious actresses would don the role such as Judi Dench, Emma Stone, and Molly Ringwald (to name just a few). Ironically, however, though Sally Bowles would become one of Isherwood’s most lasting legacies, he nearly cut her from the final edit of the book.

In The Berlin Stories, Isherwood begins with the line, “I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking.” It was from that opening that Broadway playwright John Van Druten titled his 1951 adaptation of the Sally Bowles story, I Am a Camera. The first Sally Bowles onstage was played by Emmy, Grammy and Tony-awarding-winning actress Julie Harris. In fact,  I Am a Camera earned her her first Tony for Best Leading Actress.

But the story of Sally Bowles and the Kit Kat Klub ignoring the world as it crumbles down around them didn’t stop earning Tonys there. In 1966, three men dared to take a risk and mount the dark story as a musical while cheerier shows like Hello Dollywere at their zenith.

With the holocaust only 20 years in the past, Cabaret‘s look at the rise of Nazism and the people that it affected the most seemed like heavy subject matter. Throw in themes of sexuality and the show seemed to be doomed from the start.

But it wasn’t. When it hit Broadway it received rave reviews. Then, it was adapted into 1972 film directed by the inestimable Bob Fosse, starring Liza Minelli, Michael York, and Joel Grey.  Though the movie changed the plot, took out songs, and added new ones, this would be the Cabaret most would remember for over two decades.

From there, Cabaret seemed to languish in the memory of Broadway fans until it was remounted by director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Skyfall) in 1993, where it went on to win more Tonys. It would reinstate some songs from the original musical, and keep songs that were added into the movie. It also became edgier, focusing on the underlying darkness of the bright lights at the Kit Kat Klub that bid you to “forget your troubles.” The tragedy lies in the fact that soon, many of the audience and the cabaret performers would find themselves wearing badges that would determine their fate under the Third Reich.

The original musical replaced the curtain with a mirror so the audience would see itself reflected. The current rendition may not use a literal mirror, but it truly invests in the metaphor of it. Cabaret is a mirror for society, and it asks the question, “Will you be a camera, passively accepting what is happening?”

Cabaret is the culmination of the greatest artists of the 20th-century coming together to create a piece of art that is devastatingly relevant.

This edgier, critically acclaimed rendition of the much-beloved musical will be coming to the Lincoln Center April 19-21, 2018. The show contains mature themes, and seats start from $20. Tickets available here.



The Reunion That Never Was

What if The Beatles had reunited 10 years after their break-up? In the revamped production Let It Be, that question gets answered by one of the West End’s most popular musical productions coming to the Fort Collins Lincoln Center March 28.

Showcasing the world’s most successful rock ‘n’ roll band, the original production Let It Be: A Celebration of the Music of The Beatles opened on London’s West End in 2012. The show charted The Beatles meteoric rise, moved through the height of Beatlemania, and delved into their later studio masterpieces. It instantly became a smash success and garnered critical acclaim.

Now the production has been revamped and is touring the U.S. The first half of the show delivers an abbreviated version of the original critically acclaimed show – highlighting favorite Beatle’s songs such as “Hard Day’s Night,” “Twist and Shout,” “Hey Jude” and “Got to Get You Into My Life.” In a change from the original theatrical production, the second half now imagines a world in which The Beatles are reunited for an epic concert taking place on October 9, 1980 – what would have been John Lennon’s 40th birthday. For one night, the fab four come together again on stage after a decade apart performing individual works from John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. You’ll hear “Imagine” “Live and Let Die, ” “My Sweet Lord, ” and many more hits.

If you’re a Beatle’s fan (and let’s face it who isn’t), you won’t want to miss Let It Be rockin’ the Fort Collins Lincoln Center March 28. Tickets start at $20. You can find more info here.

Unleash the Party Goblin with Iliza Shlesinger

Comedian Iliza Shlesinger, youngest winner of NBC’s Last Comic Standing, will perform at the Fort Collins Lincoln Center March 17. We got the scoop on what to expect and her advice on how to responsibly release your inner party goblin — the subconscious creature from her famous bit.

Your show is on St. Patrick’s Day here in Fort Collins and the Lincoln Center is hosting a pre-show St. Party Goblin Bash. Any words of wisdom you want to share for the potential goblins that may show up?
Iliza: I had no idea there was a pre goblin bash! That’s so fun! Best advice “Liquor before beer, never fear. Beer before liquor, steal a cop car and ruin your life.”

Will your party goblin be celebrating the “Wearin’ O’ the Green?
Iliza: Party Goblin doesn’t have to wear green because she is green from being nauseous all the time!

Your social media feeds are hilarious. What is your favorite social outlet and why?
Iliza: I think I enjoy Instagram the most, it doesn’t have the soapboxiness of twitter, it doesn’t have the dicks of Snapchat — people tend to be nicer on DM and I love that it has a stories feature because just because I want to share an idea doesn’t mean it needs to live on that platform forever.

Can you tell us a bit about your book, Girl Logic? Will any pieces from the book be featured in the show?
Iliza: Girl Logic is a book that discusses the maddening thought process many of us have to go to to arrive at basic conclusions about anything from work, dating, clothes to personal choices, insecurities and unabashed self-confidence. Nothing from the book is specifically in the show but the themes carry over. You can also do your own in depth look at my book by… Reading it. Or listening to it… On Audible… Where I narrate it. 

Are there any themes the audience can expect from the Fort Collins show?
Iliza: Three words: Relatable. Whimsical. Baby Leg. Come see for yourself. 

How has your comedy style evolved since you started working on your talk show Truth & Iliza?
Iliza: I am always thinking of new ways to make my point, to invite people into my mind and my thoughts, be they feminist, honest, outlandish or crazy. I think every show you see the stand up evolved a little bit. And you know what helps the stand up grow the best, in the moment? A good audience. That’s why I’m coming to Colorado!

Shlesinger performs at the Lincoln Center at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $29.50 and are available here.

Mix It Up with SHUFFLE

Music fans know what it’s like to hit shuffle on their iPods. For one song, it’s ’80s pop, the next is Mozart, followed by a little bit a folk, and then mathcore. It confuses friends because they can’t figure out exactly what genre of music you like. Frankly, not even you are sure what kind of music you like.

SHUFFLE concerts embrace this diversity of style that many music fans have. Their slogan, “You Choose. We Play,” says it all. This innovative chamber ensemble puts the audience in charge of the setlist at each show.

Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

SHUFFLE Concert was conceived by pianist, Eliran Avni, when he was listening to his MP3 player on shuffle at the gym and went from a Pretenders song to Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony. From that, an idea was born and it led to one of the most unique classical concert experiences anyone can have.

No two concerts are ever the same. When the audience walks in the door, they are handed a menu of 30 songs and 15 different styles.

Do you want to hear Rachmaninoff as if it were done on Broadway? How about some Bernstein but in the style of Baroque? Anything is possible at a SHUFFLE Concert, which makes it an amazing experience for any music fan.


Christopher Cross Sails into Fort Collins

What can audiences expect when they see five-time Grammy Award-winner, Christopher Cross? “To be amazed,” says Cross, who prefers to play more intimate venues like the Lincoln Center on February 23.

One of the most successful adult contemporary artists of all time, Cross garnered wide acclaim in the 80’s. He won prestigious Grammy Awards including Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year,  and Best New Artist. He later earned an Academy Award for “Arthur’s Theme” in 1982, which appeared in the movie “Arthur,” starring Liza Minelli and Dudley Moore, that became a sort of hallmark song for the era.

Playing fan-favorites like “Sailing,” “Ride Like the Wind,” and “Arthur’s Theme” with a group of jazz-trained musicians — along with selections from his nearly forty-year discography — takes Cross’ music to another level. “We love what we do,” Cross says. “And I think that comes across.”

For Cross, music is about the songwriting. “We’re doing what we do. We’re engaging the audience and want to connect with them. But first and foremost, we’re playing for music’s sake, and ourselves.”

In his more recent work, like his 2014 album “Secret Ladder,” Cross explores harder-hitting subjects, making social commentaries on topics like disillusionment and the lack of empathy today. “Now that I’m older,” Cross says, “I’m more reflective. Themes of coming to grips with yourself and who you are and where you are in life have become more mature as time has gone on.”

Don’t miss Christopher Cross at the Fort Collins Lincoln Center February 23rd, 2018. Seats from $20.