Saturday, May 1, 2010

In the Wings: Cabaret. Meet Paul Addison, the music director.


Paul Addison is the music director of Cabaret, the final production of the 2009-2010 MainStage season at Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette. The book is by Joe Masteroff, the music by John Kander and the lyrics by Fred Ebb.

Paul and director Kate Walker have worked together many times before, including last season's production of Children of Eden, so he was excited to work with her again. Also, Cabaret has been a favorite musical of his for a long time.

"I am amazed the authors could create a musical about the rise of the Nazis in Germany and make it successful," Paul said. "It's successful because it is not one-dimensional. There are serious parts, tender parts, good music and - considering the times - some hilarity and craziness.

"It's also a courageous story. Today we can say, 'Well, I know what I would have done then,' but the people in that time had to make life-and-death choices."

As music director, Paul works with the singers to ensure they bring out the best in each song, sometimes making adjustments to match them musically. He also works with the orchestra, which includes musicians on piano, drums, bass, trumpet, trombone, saxophone, violin, banjo, a second percussionist and - in one scene - an accordion.

"I recruit the orchestra, teach them the music and show how it fits with the actors, although the two groups don't come together until five days before opening night," he said. "We have these two tracks going and they have to meet at the end. If each one is going well, they will merge nicely."

Paul concluded by suggesting what an audience may experience during a performance of Cabaret.

"The audience will be jolted a little bit," he said. "If they know only the movie, this show won't be what they expect because the movie left out some elements from the stage show. Also, the audience is considered part of the cabaret at times. Some characters come out into the audience and interact with them. Finally, they'll experience conflicting emotions: 'Should we clap? Scream? Cry? Should we be silent?' It's not going to be predictable. That's exactly the story this show tells: people did not know exactly what was happening and they didn't know how to react."

Cabaret runs three consecutive weekends from Friday, May 7 through Sunday, May 23 at the historic Monon Depot Theatre in downtown Lafayette. Friday and Saturday evening shows begin at 8:00 p.m.; the Sunday afternoon matinees begin at 2:30 p.m. There also will be a show Thursday, May 20 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets for adults are $15; tickets for youth age 18 and under are $10.

For more information about the show or to order tickets, call Civic Theatre at 765-423-7529 or visit its Web site, http://www.lafayettecivic.org/

1 comment:

Cindy Modlin Adams said...

Astute comments Paul!