Cabaret, The musical. Interview with Danny Harvey and Cheyenne Stodolny
Sitting in the director’s chair (actually, standing most of the time) is Danny Harvey. On the stage, playing the sexy Sally Bowles is his sister Cheyenne Harvey Stodolny. Neither of them is new to musical theatre or Globe. Danny is a director at Brampton’s Rose theatre and the last show he did with Globe was Jesus Christ Superstar in 2010. Cheyenne played Natalie in last year’s All Shook Up (won us THEA for the Best Musical Production). We ask them about Cabaret and working together.
Globe: Danny, first of all, why Cabaret?
Danny: I feel like Cabaret is the perfect balance of good story and entertainment value. The story is of imperfect characters, every character has a tragic flaw and they are very real. I find that makes for a stronger show, a story that people will talk about after the curtain. However, why do we come to the theatre if not to be entertained? Cabaret has wonderful music, and spectacular dance numbers that will excite and captivate the audience. The first show I ever directed was Cabaret with Globe 11 years ago, I have since appeared in the show and directed it at the Rose Theatre in Brampton.
Globe: Did you have it in mind that Cheyenne would be great as Sally Bowles?
Danny: Well. Cheyenne can do just about anything on stage, besides that she has played the role before. Chey is a strong performer in all three disciplines, and Sally is arguably one of the most challenging roles in music theatre. It is always fun, albeit sometimes awkward to direct a sibling in a show like this, but Chey and I have had the director actor relationship plenty of times. It’s fun bossing my big sister around, quite a departure from our childhood.
Globe: Cheyenne, this is not the first time you play Sally Bowles. How challenging is this role for you?
Cheyenne: This role is a tough one, not going to lie. There are several facets of Sally Bowles that are unredeemable and unlikeable, so it is vital to get across her vulnerability and humanity. The audience needs accept why she is the way she is. Even though she is the author of her own demise, they need to really feel for her while, understandably, still being frustrated and sometimes angry at her choices. This show deals with some tough subject matter, especially for the time period in which it is set; sex, abortion, homosexuality, drugs, anti-semitism. To play the lead role in a show that heavy isn’t easy, but it makes it all the more rewarding when it all comes together. Not to say Sally is only flawed. She is often a bright spot in the story line. Her naivety, romanticism, hope and sense of humour round out why she is such a joy to play.
Globe: Cheyenne, how is working with your brother? Are you paying back for all those times you told on him when you were kids?
Cheyenne: Hahaha! No. I still boss him around. I’ve worked with Danny several times. Although it pains me to say it (haha!), Danny is an extremely talented director with an exquisite vision of how a story should be told. I work with him because I know I’m guaranteed to be part of something spectacular, especially when it’s a show he is as passionate about as Cabaret. I’m also guaranteed to spend 3 months in the most laid back, collaborative and hilarious rehearsal environment. Community Theatre is supposed to be fun and when you work with Danny, you’re guaranteed to get that!
Globe: Cabaret was a great movie, it run on Broadway over 1,100 times, won numerous Tony awards. I this year it was the highlight of the Shaw festival. What do you think makes this show special and worth seeing?
Danny: GLOBE consistently puts incredibly strong pieces of theatre on the stage. This show has an incredibly strong cast of returning and new members of the Georgetown community. What I think is exciting is the fact that local theatre is often surprising and exciting. In some ways it is the best kept secret in town. Above all of that, when I first saw Cabaret when I was in college it changed my life, it was so poignant, I want to share that experience with everyone I can.
Globe: Set during the depression, when Nazis are coming to power, Cabaret is definitely not an easy entertainment. Why do you think people should come and see it?
Cheyenne: This is an important show about two beautiful and complicated love stories. The time period and political culture of the time is the setting in which these stories take place. It is certainly not the sole focus of the show, however it does add a dark and haunting layer. Come see this show to be moved by the beautiful Kander and Ebb score; to see the incredible Bob Fosse inspired choreography. To be moved by the vulnerability and authenticity of the Characters; and to emerge yourself into the seedy and exciting world of the Kit Kat Klub. Cabaret will not only entertain, it will move you. That’s a promise!