Arts & Culture

UK Theatre and Dance Travels to 1930s Berlin With 'Cabaret'

photo of UK Theatre rehearsal for "Cabaret"
The cast of UK Department of Theatre and Dance rehearse for the upcoming production of "Cabaret." Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 23, 2019) — The University of Kentucky Department of Theatre and Dance presents the Tony Award-winning musical "Cabaret" Oct. 31 through Nov. 3, at the Guignol Theatre, located in the Fine Arts Building. 

When American writer, Cliff Bradshaw, takes a train to Berlin in 1931, his life is forever changed. Join Cliff, Sally, the Emcee and the dancers of the Kit Kat Club on a seductive journey through the decadent cabaret lifestyle and seedy underground of Weimar Berlin as the shadow of Nazism slowly begins to creep into life as they know it. "Cabaret" is the winner of 12 Tony Awards and eight Oscars. 

"Cabaret," a modern American musical theatre classic, was turned into an Academy Award-winning film in 1972 starring Liza Minelli. “While the show does have a lot of the same songs and follows the basic storyline, the 1998 version of the stage production is fairly different than the 1972 film. It has songs, characters and plot-lines that were not included in the movie and is much raunchier and darker in its presentation of the story,” said director of UK Theatre and Dance's production Anne McAlexander, visiting assistant professor of musical theatre.

Though the musical is set in 1930s Europe, "Cabaret" continues to resonate with today's audiences. "I think it continues to be a timely story and speaks to audiences any time it’s done. On top of it having such amazing music and dance potential — it’s so relevant today — the story of 'Cabaret' forces us all to confront what we do in the face of prejudice and hatred.  And I think it’s a great show for college students to work on — it’s meaty and gritty, and they get to work on their singing and dancing skills. I love the theatricality of the piece too — the story is not told in a traditional linear or realistic fashion. Reality is constantly being broken to tell the story, which allows for creativity from the designers, actors, for me as the director," McAlexander said.

"Cabaret" takes the spotlight 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 31-Nov. 2, and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 2 and 3. Tickets to "Cabaret" are $15 for students with a university ID and $20 for the general public. To purchase tickets to UK Theatre and Dance's productions at Guignol Theatre, contact the Singletary Center ticket office at 859-257-4929, visit online at, or visit the ticket office in person.

The Department of Theatre and Dance, part of UK College of Fine Arts, is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Theatre. Students in the department get hands-on training and one-on-one mentorship from professional faculty and renowned guest artists in acting, directing, playwriting, theatrical design and technology. From mainstage productions to student-produced shows, students have plenty of opportunities to participate on stage or backstage. Special programs include a musical theatre certificate, education abroad, as well as a thriving dance program that emphasizes technique, composition, performance and production.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.