Come on down to the Kit Kat Klub — couple stars in 'Caberet'
A Uniontown couple who have performed together in many local theater productions are taking on new challenges as leading characters in the classic musical “Cabaret” at Geyer Performing Arts Center in Scottdale.
Emily Hamilla portrays English cabaret performer Sally Bowles at the seedy Kit Kat Klub and her husband, Mike Hamilla, is young American writer Cliff Bradshaw in the Tony Award-winning musical set in 1931 Berlin as the Nazis are rising to power.
The pair fall in love, but their relationship struggles.
“Cliff is a strange man. He wants Sally to love him more than anything, but he just can't seem to speak her language,” Mike says. “The truth is he came to Berlin to cut loose and have a great time. Sally intervened, and Cliff can't decide if he prefers the company of men or women, which is difficult to portray for me personally — especially when you're staring at the woman you love in each scene.”
Emily's biggest challenge is in embracing her character's over-the-top personality.
“Sally Bowles is a vivacious club performer who is full of life, dons a fur coat and leaves an impression wherever she goes. Her club life defines her, and she will do practically anything to preserve it,” she says. “Sally's style and personality are a quite a bit different from my regular day-to-day self, which can be challenging, but I also have found it to be a lot of fun taking on her big persona and character as an actor.”
She also is having fun with the challenge of taking on an English accent for the first time on stage.
The couple feels that it's not only the music and production numbers that make “Cabaret” a vital piece of theater, but also the historical significance and message of the musical.
“ ‘Cabaret' reflects on such an important time in our international history, and the effect of that political climate on all of the musical's characters is so important for us all to recognize and continue to reflect on,” Emily says.
Mike says both of their characters exemplify that it's easy to be a member of a team, but it's more difficult to stand up for what one believes as an individual.
“They both have very different goals in Berlin, but they just so happen to cross paths in a mutually beneficial way,” he says.
Rachael Szabo and Tyler Handford of Connellsville are co-directing the production. Handford says “Cabaret” is a show that he has loved for a long time.
“It's an exciting show for a director or an actor because there are a lot of layers to the characters and the story is really intriguing, with lots of humor and drama,” he says. “It's a little sexy, a little dangerous, a little joyful and a little depressed. Whatever it is, it is definitely entertaining.”
The cast also includes: Alex Scabis of Brownsville, Martha Oliver of Scottdale, Loren McCullough of Monongahela, Michael Fallon of Bingham and Barb Rolla and Jessie Glover, both of Greensburg. Marina Stefano is choreographer and Steve Clark is music director.
Szabo says the musical has a PG-13 rating with adult content including sexual situations, drug and alcohol use and language, and asks parents to research the show before bringing children younger than 13 to see a performance.
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.