Cate: What about directing this production of Cabaret appealed to you?
Christina Coakley & Michael Innocenti: This opportunity came to us through Mark and Susan Rhea (Artistic Director and Associate Artistic Director of Keegan). We always wanted to produce Cabaret because it seems like such a natural fit for the company, but the timing was never quite right. The intimacy of our theater provides an ideal venue to witness the raw subject matter, and there really is no place for the audience to hide when posed the central message: “what would you do.”
Since you are co-directing, how does that work? How are you enjoying working together? Do you find it easier to work together on the other side of the table?
There are moments of great joy in discovering that our combined ideas work in execution. Then there are moments when you think, “I wonder what would happen if I put this pillow over your face and hold it there.” Being able to go home and have an open debate about aspects of the show is a benefit. You don’t have to worry about a working relationship falling apart if there are tense moments or disagreements, because the love you have for the other allows you to compromise.
Introduce us to your cast and their roles. What do they bring to their performances that make the show a ‘Must See’?
Keegan company member Bradley Foster Smith is playing the role of Clifford Bradshaw. Cliff is one of the more deceptively difficult parts, as there is a tendency for him to be played as an “aw, shucks” American stereotype. Brad, coming from a background of mainly straight plays, immediately brings the proper weight and actor’s instinct that makes the character his own.
Paul Scanlan plays the role of the Emcee [and] was last seen at Keegan in our production of Spring Awakening. …Paul possesses an intensity and energy that makes his Emcee particularly dynamic and intriguing.
Taking on the role of Sally is Maria Rizzo. Maria has the perfect combination of talents and qualities to make her Sally a larger-than-life tragic figure.
Introduce us to the designers of the team and how their design has captured your vision for this production of Cabaret.
We’re thrilled to introduce our choreographer Rachel Leigh Dolan… Rachel has been a dream to work with, bringing her own fresh vision to our production.
Shadia Hafiz, a Keegan company member, is our wonderful costume designer. She worked very hard to strike the right balance in terms of the design, honoring the period and traditions of the show on the one hand, and finding a style all her own on the other.
Craig Miller (Hair and Make-up Designer), Jake Null (Sound Designer/Engineer), and Carol Baker (Set Dresser and Properties Designer) have provided wonderful designs for Keegan in the past and this production is no exception.
How many musicians are in the show and who is the Music Director?
We are fortunate to have nine wonderful musicians playing the score under the direction of John-Michael d’Haviland. As with Rachel, working with John-Michael has been a blissful experience, and we are grateful for his talents.
What do you want audiences to take with them after leaving Cabaret?
Every director wants the audience to come out of the show having lived the ideas and themes that have been so painstakingly sculpted. Our primary objective is to tell the story; what each person will take away is entirely personal. We want the show to be a springboard for people to start a conversation and think about how the themes relate to their own lives.