Life is a ‘Cabaret’ at Timber Lake Playhouse Aug. 2-12

Alexandria Palkovic in “Sweet Charity” in 2011, directed by Lili-Anne Brown. (Photo provided)

Staff Report

MOUNT CARROLL, Ill. — Timber Lake Playhouse (TLP), Illinois’ longest-running professional summer theater, presents a new staging of the legendary musical Cabaret.

Guest Artist Lili-Anne Brown, the director behind Sweet Charity, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at TLP returns to stage this Tony and Academy Award-winning song-and-dance show featuring a score full of standards that include “Cabaret,” “Maybe This Time,” “Don’t Tell Mama” and more.

TLP favorite Alexandra E. Palkovic returns to star as Sally Bowles, the character that made Liza Minnelli a star in Bob Fosse’s film adaptation.

Both Brown and Palkovic are rising stars in the Chicago theater world. Brown, a Chicago native, was recently named artistic director of Bailiwick Chicago, the company where her award-winning production of Passing Strange was produced. Additionally, she will make her off-Broadway debut this fall, reprising her acclaimed performance in a new play called A Twist of Water, which transfers from Chicago to New York City in November.

Palkovic, who hails from Peoria, Ill., and starred in Sweet Charity last summer at TLP, was recently seen in Legally Blonde and Pirates of Penzance at Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre. She will co-star with another TLP alum, Jenny Guse, in Singin’ In The Rain this fall at the Drury Lane Theatre at Oakbrook Terrace.

Set in pre-war Weimer Berlin, Cabaret follows the fortunes of Londoner Sally Bowles who performs at the infamously decadent Kit Kat Klub. The musical, the second collaboration between John Kander (music) and Fred Ebb (lyrics), whose other work includes Chicago; Curtains; The Scottsboro Boys; Steel Pier; and Kiss of the Spider Woman, premiered on Broadway in 1966.

Joe Masteroff’s book for Cabaret has been revised over the course of several Broadway revivals, and was based on John van Druten’s play I Am a Camera, itself inspired by Christopher Isherwood’s collected “Berlin Stories.”

Isherwood inspired the character Clifford Bradshaw in the musical, played by Dryden Meints at TLP. The role of the Master of Ceremonies, for which Joel Grey won a Tony and an Oscar, is reinterpreted by Joe Capstick.

Guest Artist Judy Knudtson (Working, Steel Magnolias) returns to play Fraulein Schneider, and Chicago actor Rus Rainear makes his TLP debut as Herr Schultz, a role he previously performed at The Ubique Cabaret Theatre, garnering a Jeff Award nomination for best supporting actor.

New York-based choreographer and TLP veteran Andrew Parker Greenwood (Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, The Full Monty, Ragtime) returns to choreograph.

Cabaret performs Aug. 2-12. Performances are at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturdays, and there are 2 p.m. matinees on Sunday and Wednesday. A Saturday matinee performance is also offered on opening weekends at 2 p.m.

Tickets are available through the box office during regular business hours, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., daily, at or (815) 244-2035.

Timber Lake Playhouse is at 8215 Black Oak Road, Mount Carroll, Ill.

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!