In advance of seeing “Cabaret” at Bloomington Civic Theatre this week, I chose to highlight the song “Money” made famous by Joel Grey and Liza Minnelli in the award winning movie. The Star Tribune claims that choreographer Joe “Chvala helps Joey Clark create a masterful Master of Ceremonies, entirely banishing memories of Joel Grey.” Those are powerful words in the musical theater when you think of Joel Grey’s reputation. He played the Wizard in “Wicked”, Moonface Martin in “Anything Goes” and Amos Hart in “Chicago”. His daughter Jennifer Grey is also an actress. She played Frances aka baby in “Dirty Dancing” and was Ferris Bueller’s sister in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”.
Joe Chvala is a well known choreographer in the Twin Cities and it has been said that he creates the dance numbers in “Cabaret” to take on a life of the original choreographer, Bob Fosse. Last time I saw Joey Clark was in BCT’s “Sunday in the Park with George”. It is a serious role and must be done with precision since it is Sondheim’s music. The role that he plays in “Cabaret” is that of the Emcee. It’s a quirky, fun part and calls for great acting. I’m excited to see how he transforms into the character.
A little bit about the video. As previously stated, Joel Grey is the Emcee and Liza Minnelli plays the leading lady, Sally Bowles. The story takes place in Berlin in 1931. We find the two performing in a rather sleazy night club called The Kit Kat Klub. This song isn’t only about money. It has undertones of greed and Hitler’s rise to power. The line “money makes the world go around” is sung over and over again. Their bit about hunger is a clever little acting piece. Their dance moves are simple and executed well which gets the audience members laughing. I like their take on the piece. It’s silly and they work well together. Liza’s costume is extravagant and Joel’s makeup is over the top. How can you not enjoy it even while feeling the serious undertones?
There are many other wonderful songs in the show such as “Willkommen”, “Two Ladies”, “Cabaret” and “Maybe this Time”. I invite you to see this well reviewed show playing now through February 17th at Bloomington Civic Theatre. http://www.btacmn.org/