Home / News / LocalRSS Feed
Life is a 'Cabaret' for Rep and Jewish groups
September 1st, 2010
The changes at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater are coming at a rapid pace. They include:
• A new motorcycle-riding artistic director with a British accent.
• A remodeled Stiemke Theater with new, more comfortable seats and a more welcoming lobby.
• The first full-scale, Broadway-style musical the company has staged in its Quadracci Powerhouse Theater.
• And the addition of Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center Judaic Education Director Jody Hirsh as an advisor on shows with Jewish content.
Moreover, the very first production this fall will have Jewish content. The Rep opens its 2010-2011 season Sept. 17 with a production of the John Kander and Fred Ebb musical “Cabaret,” and Hirsh is heavily involved.
“I’ve been teaching those connected with the production about the end of the Weimar Republic and the rise of the Nazis. I have been going to rehearsals,” Hirsh recently explained. “We’ve been discussing how this group (the Nazis) could grow from a small fringe group to an unstoppable force. We’ve been discussing the crowd mentality, being swept away.”
New Rep artistic director Mark Clements, who is making his Milwaukee directing debut with “Cabaret,” expressed appreciation for Hirsh’s work with his company.
“Jody has introduced us to some interesting directions we are taking with our research,” Clements recently said. “This is a really good relationship.”
Hirsh is also writing a piece for the “Cabaret” program that will be given to theater-goers, and he has been the point person on assembling a broad range of Jewish community events and activities related to the Rep’s show. Here they are:
• Discussion of Christopher Isherwood’s “Berlin Stories,” the inspiration of the musical, with Hirsh, 1:30 p.m. Sept. 20, JCC, $8 admission. Contact Hirsh for reservation.
• Screening of the film “The White Ribbon” with talkback moderated by Hirsh, 7 p.m. Sept. 27, JCC, free admission. Contact Bonnie Shafrin, director of the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center, for reservation.
• Lecture: “The German Crisis from Defeat to Depression, 1918-1933,” presented by Professor Peter Hayes, chair of the history department at Northwestern University; 3:30 p.m., Oct. 3, JCC, free admission. Contact Shafrin for reservation.
• Jewish community night at the Rep’s production of “Cabaret” with 30 percent discount on regular ticket prices, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7. Buy tickets on Rep’s website or by calling the box office at 414-224-9490 and use discount code JCC. An optional VIP reception with the opportunity to meet “Cabaret’s” director, actors and production staff will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Rep. Wine and light snacks (dietary laws observed) is included. $15 admission. Visit www.milwaukeejewish.org or contact Hirsh for reservation.
• A conversation with Clements, 2 p.m. Oct. 12, JCC, free admission. Contact Hirsh for reservation.
• Screening of the film “Paragraph 175,” 7 p.m. Oct. 18, Jewish Museum Milwaukee, free admission to film. Contact Molly Dubin at the museum for reservation. Non-members of the museum who wish to tour the facility must pay fee.
• "The Art of Propaganda," a panel discussion, 7 p.m. Oct. 26, Jewish Museum Milwaukee, free admission to museum members, $5 for non-members. Contact Dubin at the museum for reservation.
About the movies:
Set in rural Germany in 1913, the award-winning “The White Ribbon” portrays the formation of the generation that embraced fascism and Hitler.
“Paragraph 175” is a documentary that chronicles the lives of several men who were arrested by the Nazis for homosexuality under Paragraph 175, the sodomy provision of the German penal code.
The German crisis lecture is the launch of this year’s Holocaust Study Institute sponsored by the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education and Resource Center.
Jewish Museum Milwaukee director Kathie Bernstein explained why it is involved in “Cabaret” programming: “A core component of the museum’s mission is to preserve and present the history of the Jewish people. In developing programs in connection with the Rep’s production of ‘Cabaret,’ the museum has the opportunity to provide insight into the climate of Germany prior to the Holocaust using collected knowledge and artifacts.”
Performances of “Cabaret” run through Oct. 24.
Damien Jaques is theater critic and columnist for OnMilwaukee.com.