Rehearsals are ramping up for the local production of Cabaret opening at the end of May. While a raft of theatre veterans are memorizing their lines and perfecting solos, a pack of dancers are learning routines for the show’s numerous dance numbers.
With most of the action taking place inside the Kit Kat Klub, a seedy nightclub where burlesque dancers entertain their audience with their sexy stage shows, choreographer Mackenzie Hope has had his work cut out for him.
“Of all the shows I’ve choreographed, this one has the most dancing by far,” the 29-year-old says, noting there are six big dance numbers in the first act alone.
Hope grew up in Fruitvale performing with Steps Dance Centre and has been teaching dance since he was 16. He left the Kootenays after high school and spent some time living in Vancouver and Mexico before moving to Nelson in 2006.
His first local theatre gig was the Rocky Horror Show and he’s worked on a handful of productions since, always doubling as both choreographer and actor. He was an apostle in Jesus Christ Superstar and in Cabaret he plays Bobby, one of ten Kit Kat dancers and a love interest of the male lead.
Among the other Kit Kat dancers is Carly Brandel, who will be making her local theatre debut in the show, though she’s been part of several productions in Vancouver. Like all the dancers cast in Cabaret, she has a strong background in modern dance styles, particularly jazz and hip hop. She’ll be playing Frenchie in the show.
“All I know about the character is her stage name, so I assume she’s from Paris and I’ve made up a bit of a backstory for her,” the 31-year-old explains. “She doesn’t have any lines, but her character is brought out in the way she moves.”
Brandel says during rehearsals she and the other dancers are often reminded not to make their routines too perfect.
“[Hope] is always telling us to ‘make it ugly’ — like we’re trying to be sexy, but failing,” she laughs. “It’s really the opposite of what we usually try to achieve as dancers. We’re kind of breaking the rules, which is a lot of fun.”
Cabaret opens at the Capitol Theatre on Thursday, May 30 and continues Friday, May 31 and Saturday, June 1 at 8 p.m. nightly. There will also be a 2 p.m. matinee on June 1 and a late night show on May 31 at 11 p.m. Tickets are $22 for adults or $17 for students and are available through the Capitol Theatre box office.