Cabaret is my very favorite play of all time, and Cliff Bradshaw is a role I never imagined I'd get to play. I drew from all of my acting skill and all of my life experience up to this point to create this character. Famously, the character of Cliff is a bit of a cypher - things seem to happen to him, rather than him choosing his destiny. I decided for my performance that Cliff chooses everything - he chooses to submit to the seductive nature of Berlin, he chooses to fall in love with Sally, he chooses to indulge his fantasy of starting a family. These choices are all doomed from the start, but he pursues them full-heartedly all the way to the bitter end.
I was able to draw from my natural chemistry with my Sally Bowles, Caitlin Jackson, to create a lived-in and believable relationship. My fabulous castmates on and off the stage infused all their energy into the show - I wasn't in any of the large musical numbers, but it always felt like we were working together to tell the same story. Staged in the upstairs pub of an Irish restaurant, we could see the whites in the eyes of our audience. It was an incredibly intimate experience which allowed us as actors to make very subtle choices that the audience would pick up on.
This Cabaret was one of the best productions I've ever done, and maybe the performance I'm proudest of in my career so far. I spoke to so many audience members who said Cliff is usually their least favorite character, but that they loved my take on it and I became one of their favorite characters. I took a big risk in this show, in that I didn't try to "play" a character, I used my own personality and just played the character's objectives. For the sake of the story, I became different versions of myself - naive dreamer, suggestible seducee, politically anxious citizen, disillusioned would-be father. It felt like the most honest and raw performance I've ever given.
I am most grateful to everybody at Cowardly Scarecrow, particularly our directors Marc Lewallen and Brad Younts, for trusting me with this role. Of course, I'm so thankful that I was driving Caitlin to rehearsals for Poseidon last spring when she told me they were doing Cabaret, and I begged for an audition. I'm grateful to Maiko for always bringing sweets, to Brittny for her hysterical grunting noises, to Sydney for her va-va-voom AND her brilliant make-up design. To Aaron for his Fraulein Schneider notes that tried to make me break, to Kevin for his casual superstar quality, to Mandy for her heartbreaking take on "What Would You Do?". The whole ensemble worked together to tell this story, which is so dang relevant to our times. It's taken me a month or so to process and fully accept the end of this project, but I will hold out hope that I'll be able to do Cabaret again.