Cabaret Director’s Notes

Written by Director Katie Spelman

The songs from Cabaret are seemingly everlasting…my parents’ generation played these melodies on vinyl records at parties, and now the same notes pump into the ears of my generation through state-of-the-art headphones. Cabaret is an American classic that has withstood the test of time.

It poses colossal questions, then posits answers:

  • How do we continue to live fully, in dark and uncertain times? Cabaret brings us a vibrant club, determined to celebrate life in the face of depression.
  • How do we take that impossible step, allowing someone to truly, wholly, see us? Cabaret brings us a pair of young, brave lovers.
  • How, once we have loved and lost, do we summon the courage to try again? Cabaret brings us a couple that decides to live in the present, instead of the past.

Then there are unanswered questions:

How do we hold on to the good we have found in life?


Can the hope we have found in the dark persist, as a storm rolls in overhead?


How do you stand tall when the world seems to be disappearing around you?


These questions are, I believe, for us to unravel ourselves.

Cabaret is about the fight between triumph and failure, joy and sorrow, running and staying, love and loss; all set against the backdrop of a seismic shift in our global history. It will forever grace our theatres, because those elements of humanity will always be at odds with one another. I have always felt dwarfed by Cabaret’s ability to tackle such deep questions with a combination of humor, joie de vivre, heart, and soul. Cabaret has made some of life’s most pressing and universal struggles as familiar as, say, a drum roll – a cymbal crash – and a two-bar vamp you know as well as you know your own name.