Looming over Jules Aaron's production of Fred Ebb and John Kander's now-classic 1966 musical about an American writer in Berlin, as Nazis slither in and around the Kit Kat Club, hangs the question, why are they staging this? As though Joel Grey's and Liza Minnelli's images, and Bob Fosse's staging in the 1972 movie, aren't etched into our consciousness. As though brownshirts aren't still bad, and the people they persecute aren't still forlorn. The only answer I can conjecture is, because they can. Brian Paul Mendoza's jerky, bottom-slapping choreography has Fosse written all over it, and Erin Bennett's Sally Bowles channels Liza, right down to her cropped 'do. Bennett is fine, but she's playing a dangerously presumptuous game of imitation. Jason Currie's MC dances on similarly thin ice, with a voice and charisma that are shadow presences of Grey's. Aaron has amped up the gay quotient, both with Soojin Lee's rubbery costumes and with a platoon of boy-on-boy innuendoes. Christopher Carothers' American-lost-in-Germany has a particularly appealing charm and silky voice, but this show goes to supporting players Eileen T'Kaye, Paul Zegler and Joshua Ziel — respectively as the kindhearted but expedient German landlady, the Jewish retiree who loves her, and the Nazi operative working largely in disguise, until the sky falls.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Feb. 8. Continues through March 9, 2008
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