Dare to Defy plans bold, intimate, sexy, gender-bending ‘Cabaret’

“I want our audience to feel as if they’re really sitting in a nightclub watching the show,” director Philip Drennen said.

Dare to Defy Productions partners with Square One Salon and popular local drag troupe RubiGirls for a production of John Kander, Fred Ebb and Joe Masteroff’s classic 1966 musical “Cabaret,” slated Oct. 13-16 in the PNC Arts Annex.



Set in 1929 Berlin and based on the play by John Van Druten and the stories of Christopher Isherwood, “Cabaret” spotlights the budding relationship between Kit Kat Club singer Sally Bowles and American novelist Clifford Bradshaw. As Sally and Clifford connect amid the troubling rise of Nazism, a seedy Emcee comments on the world inside and outside the infamous club.

“‘Cabaret’ is a fun show but it’s very politically-charged,” said director Philip Drennen. “We’ve been living in a very politically-charged climate these past couple of years and we didn’t want to be afraid of delving into that and showing a story that’s really relevant with what’s going on in 2021. But aside from its dark political aspects, ‘Cabaret’ is an exciting show with spectacle moments and songs people know.”

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The perfectly marvelous score includes “Willkommen,” “Don’t Tell Mama,” “Mein Herr,” “Maybe This Time,” “Money, Money,” “Tomorrow Belongs to Me,” “I Don’t Care Much” and the title number.

In particular, a pair of lovely songs, “It Couldn’t Please Me More” and “Married,” belong to the show’s secondary couple Fraulein Schneider, a landlady, and her beau Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit dealer. In this production, Schneider will be portrayed by Joshua Stucky, owner of Square One Salon and also known as Dana Sintell within RubiGirls.

“To have the opportunity to play the iconic Fraulein Schnieder is an honor and a heck of a challenge,” said Stucky, a dynamic Preacher in Drennen’s 2019 Dare to Defy production of “Violet.” “I feel (she) is both uplifting and poignant. When asked by our wonderful director Philip to play the role, I thought is this to be a silly portrayal? And then I realized playing her is really playing any victim of the Hitler regime. She’s all of us realizing our world can be simultaneously heartless yet hopeful.”



“Josh is such a comedian, he’s hilarious and lights up a room, but he also has so much heart and is so giving,” Drennen echoed. “Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz are the heart of the show. In his role, Josh is really funny and brings so much heart but it never really becomes a gag. It doesn’t seem like you’re seeing a drag queen playing Fraulein Schneider but instead a woman trying to hold it together and maybe find love along the way.”

“I would say the idea of a gay man, a drag queen, whatever you want to refer to me as, accentuates the battle for civility portrayed in ‘Cabaret’ and in today’s climate,” Stucky added. “I love Schneider. She’s a strong, heroic character. I hope I do her justice.”

The principal cast includes Alex Everett (also known as Minnie Skirt within RubiGirls) as Emcee, Charity Farrell as Sally Bowles, Garrett Young as Clifford Bradshaw, Saul Caplan as Herr Schultz, Mike Beerbower as Ernst Ludwig and Amy Askins as Fraulein Kost/Fritzie along with Kit Kat Club ensemble Courtney Collingsworth as Texas, Vanae Pate as Lulu, Lindsey Morrison as Frenchie, Abbey Grace as Rosie, Anna Stanford as Helga, Caroline Thompson as Victoria, Scott Winters as Bobby, Naman Clark as Herman/Customs Official/Sailor, and William Boatwright as Hans/Max.

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In addition to hopefully securing new Dare to Defy patrons due to the collaboration with RubiGirls, Drennen is pleased to create an experience he feels will greatly benefit from being staged in an intimate space.

“In the PNC Annex, we have a chance to really get our patrons into the action,” he said. “Some of our seating is on stage. We’ve also treated the whole show as if it were in the round. Seeing the show in a proscenium theatre is great but we’re offering an up close and personal look allowing patrons to really feel like they’re part of the action. I want our audience to feel as if they’re really sitting in a nightclub watching the show.”

Contact this contributing writer at rflorence2@gmail.com.


What: “Cabaret”

Where: PNC Arts Annex, 46 W. Second St., Dayton

When: Oct. 13-16; 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, and 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday

Cost $28-$36

Tickets: Call 937-228-3630 or visit daytonlive.org

FYI: In addition to wearing masks, patrons must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for entry.

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