Press Release

PlayMakers presents Tony-winning musical ‘Cabaret’

PlayMakers Repertory Company will conclude its Mainstage Season with the Tony Award-winning musical “Cabaret” April 3-21 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The musical takes the audience inside the tantalizing world of The Kit Kat Klub in 1930s Berlin, where beguiling, self-destructive chanteuse Sally Bowles lives with no thought for tomorrow. The decadence of the Weimar nightclub under the sway of its flamboyant Emcee becomes a shattered mirror reflecting a society spiraling toward disaster with the rise of Hitler’s Nazis.

All performances will be in the Paul Green Theatre in UNC’s Department for Dramatic Art on Country Club Road. Show times will be 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and Sunday, April 7; 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 6 and 20; and 2 p.m. Sundays. Additional performances have been added to the previously announced run due to popular demand. 

For a complete schedule, more information and to purchase tickets, call (919) 962-PLAY (7529) or visit Tickets are $15 to $50.

The Daily Telegraph of London called “Cabaret” “a daring and great musical that combines unforgettable songs with genuinely gripping and disturbing drama.” The Los Angeles Times says it is “eternally captivating.”

The book for “Cabaret” was written by Joe Masteroff, based on the play “I Am a Camera” by John Van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood. The show features music and lyrics by the legendary songwriting team of John Kander and Fred Ebb. The production to be presented by PlayMakers was originally co-directed and choreographed by Rob Marshall (“Chicago”) and directed by Sam Mendes.

PlayMakers’ production will be directed by Joseph Haj, the theater’s producing artistic director, who also helmed PlayMakers’ 2011 hit musical “Big River” featuring The Red Clay Ramblers.

Haj calls “Cabaret” “one of the defining musicals of all time.” “It broke new ground in musical theater, intertwining social history between the World Wars with dazzling entertainment in new and dangerous ways.”

“Cabaret” will feature Obie Award-winner Taylor Mac as the lasciviously charming Emcee. He started the New Year Off-Broadway in the title role of Bertoldt Brecht’s “Good Person of Szechwan,” in a performance The New York Times praised as “magnetic,” calling Mac “a terrifically gifted singer.” His Puck in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” drew another rave review from The New York Times as “charmingly subversive.” The reviewer enjoyed “his cheeky interaction with the audience … infusing the evening with a spirit of friendly anarchy.”

Lisa Brescia, who will play Sally Bowles, was most recently seen in Theatre Raleigh’s production of “August: Osage County.” She has appeared on Broadway as Donna in “Mamma Mia!,” Elphaba in “Wicked” and Amneris in “Aida.”

Mark Hartman is music director for the production. His Broadway credits include “Sondheim on Sondheim,” “Avenue Q,” “Miss Saigon” and “1776.”

In conjunction with “Cabaret,” PlayMakers will host “The Vision Series-Directors in Conversation,” a behind-the-scenes preview with director Joseph Haj, at 6:30 p.m. March 27. At the free public event in the Paul Green Theatre, participants share coffee and hors d’oeuvres provided by series sponsor Jujube Restaurant, learn about the vision for the show and get a sneak peek at the sets and costumes in progress. Reservations are appreciated. Call PlayMakers’ box office at 919.962.7529 to RSVP.

Other special events before and during the run of “Cabaret” will include:

  • March 18, 7 p.m.: “In the Wings,” a series created by PlayMakers and the Durham County Library. Cast and creative team members (designers, actors and production personnel) discuss the play at the Main Library, 300 N. Roxboro St., downtown Durham;
  • March 25, 6 p.m.; a program with the director and company members at McIntyre’s Books, Fearrington Village, Pittsboro;
  • preview performances April 3, 4 and 5  at 7:30 p.m.;
  • April 5, 6 p.m.: General Alumni Association pre-show reception with refreshments, followed by the performance. $50, GAA members $35. Cost includes theater ticket. Register at
  • April 6, 7:30 p.m.: opening night performance with complimentary gala party afterward;
  • April 10 and 17: free post-show discussions with members of the creative team (designers, actors and production personnel);
  • April 13, 2 p.m.: open captioned performance;
  • April 16: an all-access performance for attendees with special needs, with sign language interpretation and audio description; and
  • April 20 and 21: free post-show “Mindplay” discussions sponsored by the North Carolina Psychoanalytic Society.

Southern Season and Galloway Ridge at Fearrington are co-producing sponsors for “Cabaret.’

After “Cabaret,” the theater’s PRC2 second stage season closes with the world premiere of “Spring Training” (April 24-28), specially commissioned by PlayMakers and Carolina Performing Arts, written and performed by acclaimed musical/spoken word ensemble Universes

PlayMakers is based in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences. The Drama League has named PlayMakers one of the “best regional theatre companies in America.”

Coverage note: Media are welcome to cover “The Vision Series” preview with director Joseph Haj at 6:30 p.m. March 27. Photography, videography, lights and flashes are not restricted. For assistance, call (919) 962-5359.

PlayMakers contact: For press information, interviews, photos or poster art, contact Connie Mahan, (919) 962-5359, .