"Tomorrow" Belongs to Her, as McArdle Plays Sally Bowles at Ogunquit Playhouse

News   "Tomorrow" Belongs to Her, as McArdle Plays Sally Bowles at Ogunquit Playhouse
Andrea McArdle is Sally Bowles in a rare regional production of the acclaimed Sam Mendes/Rob Marshall version of Cabaret, July 10-22, at the Ogunquit Playhouse, the historic summer theatre in southern Maine.
Andrea McArdle
Andrea McArdle Photo by Joseph Marzullo

McArdle, beloved for playing Annie in 1977, played troubled British ex-pat Sally in national and international tours of the 1996 Broadway smash revival of Cabaret. The script and score were reimagined by director Mendes and co-director and choreographer Marshall. Mendes first reinvented the 1966 musical at London's Donmar Warehouse, and it later became a Tony Award-winning sensation on Broadway in 1998.

Interpolated into the score in the 1990s were "Maybe This Time" (from the film version), "I Don't Care Much" (written but not used in the original), "Mein Herr" (from the film), "Money (Makes the World Go 'Round)" (from the film).

The Ogunquit production mirrors the Mendes vision by bringing in cabaret seating, inviting the cast members to serve as the band, adding some audience participation, stripping American writer Cliff Bradshaw (played in Maine by Jeff Talbott) of all but snippets of songs and allowing the naughty Master of Ceremonies (played by Jon Peterson, of Off-Broadway's recent George M. Cohan Tonight!) to be more flamboyant and menacing than tradition allowed.

"Meeskite" and "Why Should I Wake Up?," from the original 1966 staging, have been trimmed from the score. (The 1966 version and 1987 Harold Prince revision are the more commonly licensed scripts and scores.)

The Ogunquit Playhouse is one of the first regional theatres to receive the rights to this edgier version of the musical by composer John Kander, lyricist Fred Ebb and book writer Joe Masteroff, inspired by the play I Am a Camera and the "Berlin Stories" of Christopher Isherwood. McArdle, known for playing bright-eyed Little Orphan Annie in Annie, belting "Tomorrow," now finds herself in a dark Nazi-era Berlin where "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" is the anthem of the day, sung by those who embrace the iron rule of fascism.

McArdle's Broadway credits also include Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Les Misérables and State Fair.

"We're thrilled that Andrea McArdle is starring in our production of Cabaret," stated Brad Kenney, executive artistic director for the Ogunquit Playhouse. "She’s hip and sexy and just sizzles in this role. Signing Andrea is the first step in a major commitment on the part of the Ogunquit Playhouse to restore the tradition of star-studded casts. It's a tradition that helped make the Playhouse one of the premiere summer theatre institutions in the country. Andrea is the first of many stars that we're bringing to the stage this summer. Our audiences will literally experience Broadway at the Beach."

Most of the Maine Cabaret company has roots in the Mendes/Marshall Broadway conception, on Broadway or on tours. Director BT McNicholl (The It Girl) was an associate director on the Broadway production. Susan Taylor (a dancer in the Broadway company) is the Ognquit choreographer. This is their seventh Cabaret together.

Playing Herr Schultz and Fraulein Schneider, the older romantic couple whose love is threatened by the poisoned atmosphere of 1930s Berlin, are Scott Robertson and Lucy Sorlucco.

The company includes Michael Brown (as Bobby), Wil Darcangelo (Victor), Alison Ewing (Lulu), Steve Gagliastro (Hans, Rudy), Russell Garrett (Ernst Ludwig), Matt Jones (Max, Hermann, Customs Official), Andrea Christine Leigh (Texas, Gorilla), Penny Ayn Maas (Fraulein "Fritzie" Kost), Stacey Sipowicz (Frenchie), Elizabeth Spinola (Rosie), Kendra Stillwell (Helga). Jennifer Werner joins the company July 17-22 to play Fraulein Kost.

Associate director is Robert V. Thurber, musical director is Bruce Barnes, production stage manager is Robert Levinstein, advanced stage manager is Steven R. Espach, assistant stage manager is Danielle Buccino and dance captain is Andrea Christine Leigh. Robert Manthey is associate conductor. Steve Giunta is on drums. John Covertino is on bass. Fred Fiedler is on trumpet.

The creative team includes Richard Ellis (set designer), Richard Latta (lighting designer), William Ivey Long (costume designer), Ed Thurber (sound designer), James Crochet (costume supervisor), Tielor McBride (scenic design associate), Byron Batista (wig master).

Performances play Monday-Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 8:30 PM and matinees Wednesday and Thursday 2:30 PM. Tickets $36-$46. For information, visit www.ogunquitplayhouse.org.

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