Jon Peterson and Kate Fahrner in Cabaret
(© AnnMarie Snyder)
Jon Peterson and Kate Fahrner in Cabaret
(© AnnMarie Snyder)
With their sensational production of the John Kander-Fred-Ebb-Joe Masteroff musical Cabaret, Northport's John W. Engeman Theater yet again sets the bar high for other productions of this classic show.

The theater's stage is transformed into Berlin's Kit Kat Club circa 1931, a sleazy nightspot that features performer Sally Bowles (Kate Fahrner) and a mélange of multi-talented performers who also serve as the band throughout the entire production. Audiences are immediately enveloped in the stylings of the club, with the actors writhing with one another and simultaneously chatting with their guests.

Soon enough, we meet the club's Emcee (Jon Peterson), who steals the show-within-the show at every twist with both funny and dark moments. Peterson is equally playful and eerie, and is always exciting to watch. Look for his talent to shine in "The Money Song" and in the finale.

Meanwhile, Sally gets involved with American writer Clifford Bradshaw (Adam Greer, whose mile-long smile is extremely enticing), who finds himself looking for inspiration for a novel in Berlin. Their affair ultimately doesn't go well, and Fahrner truly shines when she belts out "Cabaret", her eyes vacant and large and her hands like vices around her microphone, as she expresses her fear for her future.

Meanwhile, as the growing influence of the Nazi party begins to infect every aspect of life in Berlin, the show becomes stronger with symbolism and intensity. B.T. McNicholl's direction is impeccable, as every subtlety and nuance is fresh and interesting.

He's helped out by a strong creative team: Richard Latta's lighting design is poignant and effective, especially in the powerful opening and closing scenes; Gail Baldoni's costumes are spicy and sexy, all while remaining true to the period; and the actors' makeup, originally designed by Randy Houston Mercer, is at times unbelievably haunting.