At first glance, the musical staple Cabaret would seem to offer little by way of the unexpected. Since its Broadway debut in 1966, the work has seldom been out of view for long, resurfacing in a variety of revivals and as a popular choice for repertory companies. Being that Cabaret can boast of having the third-longest run in Broadway history (for its 1998 revival) and a Bob Fosse-directed film adaptation, audiences might reasonably wonder what (if any) surprises are to be found in this latest incarnation from Bloomington Civic Theatre. Seeing the name Joe Chvala listed as director/choreographer, however, should be enough to spark the enthusiasm of even the most jaded skeptic. The founder of Flying Foot Forum, Chvala has an international reputation for pushing the boundaries of narrative dance through breathlessly unpredictable performances. A tireless innovator who excels at applying imaginative physical movements in the service of emotionally evocative storytelling, Chvala is just the person to reinvigorate the material. Conducted by Anita Ruth, Cabaret's original score (including "Telephone Song" and "Sitting Pretty") is similarly energized by a live orchestra. Set in the ominous environs of 1930s Berlin, the play reflects a clash of hedonism and sobriety, conflicting drives at a never-ending party ever teetering on the brink of oblivion. With such a chaotically resilient narrative, this Cabaret is ideally served by a promise of unpredictability. (Photo by Vicki Madsen)
Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Jan. 17. Continues through Feb. 17, 2013
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