Cabaret coming to Nelson's Capitol
While singing and dancing in front of sold out audiences for Jesus Christ Superstar, Sydney Galbraith couldn’t help but wish the six-show run didn’t have to end.
Galbraith was an apostle and soul sister in Superstar at the Capitol Theatre this past November. It was her first time back on stage after taking a couple years off to get married and have a baby.
By the time the final curtain closed on Superstar she’d hatched the idea to bring another broadway hit to the Capitol — the 1966 musical Cabaret by John Kander.
Galbraith had been in a production of Cabaret as a teenager and was drawn to the show because it has a relatively small cast (17 roles) with a huge emphasis on singing and dancing.
“It’s actually more important for this show that the people we cast can sing and dance, than that they can act,” Galbraith said.
Cabaret is about dancers working at a cabaret nightclub in 1931 Berlin as the Nazis are rising to power, and the romance between one of the cabaret girls and an American novelist who comes to see her show. There’s lots of racy dance numbers, performed in fishnets and heels, that contrast the intense political and personal drama happening outside the club.
Galbraith’s longtime friend and fellow Superstar soul sister Pat Henman agreed to direct the show. She got Rick Lingard to do music and Mackenzie Hope for choreography.
“Everyone still had show fever from Jesus Christ Superstar and I got my claws in the while I could,” laughed Galbraith.
Starting Sunday she’ll hold cast auditions to find the people who will bring the show to life on the Capitol stage May 30 to June 1.
It’s Galbraith’s first time producing a show at the Capitol, though she’s a well-known name in the local music and theatre scene. She used to be in four or five shows per year, including the annual Bard in the Bush Shakespeare Festival.
She and Henman both studied theatre at Dalhousie University in Halifax and had the same acting professor, albeit about 20 years apart.
Henman was a star in her program, landing numerous lead roles in school productions. Success followed her after graduation, as she continued to find steady work (“I got a really big head,” laughed Henman).
Then she decided to get an agent and move to Toronto. And that’s when all her prospects dried up.
“I had to struggle like everyone else,” she said.
She got a job as an usher for the musical Cats and nearly went crazy listening to the show performed over and over, six nights per week.
Her fate changed after she met her husband and moved to Dawson City. She got a contract to produce period shows at a couple theatre houses there, which helped her get back into the theatre scene as a writer, director and performer.
In 2000 Henman moved to Nelson and, like many who choose to live here, she made her own work. She produced and toured a few shows, including Sylvia, The Melville Boys and The Glass Menagerie and established herself as a singer.
Galbraith said she’s glad to have Henman’s experience to draw on as they take on Cabaret together.
“I feel like she makes this show legit,” Galbraith said. “It’s amazing to work with someone I really look up to.”
And if the demand for audition spaces is any indication — Galbraith had to schedule a third day of auditions because so many people signed up — it looks like she’ll have her pick of local talent on the stage.
There’s still times available for interested actors over the age of 18 (who don’t mind donning a pair of fishnets and speaking in a foreign accent) to audition for Cabaret on Tuesday, January 22. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information.