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stage Cabaret, one of the most celebrated musicals


of all time, revolves around Cambridge University student Brian Roberts’ arrival in1931Berlin to complete his German studies. With very little money to his name, he plans to make a living teaching English while staying at a rooming house. It is there he befriends one of the tenants, American Sally Bowles, the flamboyant, eternally happy cabaret singer at Berlin’s decadent Kit Kat Klub. Sally draws Brian into her bizarre world, initially hoping to make him one of her lovers until she learns he is a celibate homosexual. Their ragtag group of friends include his students, one gigolo and a beautiful, straight-laced Jewish heiress with designs on one another. Add to that cast the wealthy Baron Maximilian von Heune, or “Max,” who, even though the Nazis are rising to power around them, lavishes his new friends with gifts and good times. Initially unaffected by it all, they don’t seem to care about what is happening. But, they soon discover they are not exempt to the onslaught of one of world history’s most devastating times. Cabaret’s director, Michael Matthews dabbled


in Chicago theatre before coming to L.A. and establishing his successful career. He completes one half of a co-artistic director team, shared with his “work husband,” Michael Shepperd. Their shared Celebration highlights include:Dream Boy, Bootycandy, Wolves, Stupid Kids and their Ovation andLA WeeklyAward-winning The Color Purple the Musical. Further honored productions include: What’s Wrong With Angry?, Beautiful Thing, The Bacchae andTake Me Out! were also acknowl- edged with Ovation nominations,The Women of Brewster Place, The Musical garnered an Ovation Award as well as a NAACP Award and Michael is the recipient of the 2015 LADCC Award, for Career Achievement in Direction. Matthews filledThe Rage Monthly in on what brought him to L.A. and their latest collaboration.


What brought you out to California originally? I was living in Chicago and directing theatre there


after college. I was there for 11 years and needed a change; I just didn’t see myself moving forward as quickly as I could somewhere else. So, I made the move and came out here. You have quite an impressive list of directing credits and have received numerous awards and nominations. What has this recognition meant to you and how has it motivated you? Thank you. It has been very nice and people have certainly been very kind. It is nice to know that my


50 RAGE monthly | MAY 2017


“LIFE IS A CABARET…” INSIDE CELEBRATION THEATRE


by tony reverditto michael matthews


vision for a show was understood and that people experienced something—hopefully what I had intended for them to experience—that certainly motivates me. How are you refreshing and reinventing this legendary musical? I cannot give too much away. But, I will say that


we are certainly highlighting all of the political passages and using the show as a mirror to reflect America in 2017.Cabaret could easily have been written yesterday. It is so relevant and timely, almost to the point where it’s frightening. Our current political landscape and recent tragic events, were the inspiration for us bringingCabaret to the Celebration Theatre stage. In regard to that current political climate, you mentioned the LGBT community. What do you think we can do collectively to stand our ground and keep progressing? We can start by loving each other a little harder,


a little better. We can encourage, inspire and give hope. I think that’s how we progress, by growing stronger as a community. Then we can face this current political nightmare a little better. We can do art and do it well, using it to heal and inspire. As 2017 moves forward, what else can we look forward to at Celebration? We are super excited and will be announcing our


next season in June. But, you can look forward to a modern classic and a whole lotta’ glitter!


EXTRA FUN: Want to join in even more? Sit on stage at Celebration’s Kit Kat Klub with premium seats, giving audience members an up-close experience, including complimentary table service before and during the show’s intermission.


Cabaret runsFriday, May 26 through Sunday, July 2 at the Celebration Theatre at The Lex, 6760 Lexington Avenue In Los Angeles. For tickets and more information, call 323.957.1884 or go tocelebrationtheatre.com/cabaret.


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