Center REP’s ‘Cabaret’ a fun show that will make you think

The cast of Center Rep’s ‘Cabaret’ gets ready for opening weekend at the Lesher Center. (Photo courtesy Center Rep)

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (May 21, 2024) — The vibrant musical “Cabaret” comes to Center Rep May 26-June 23. Full of fabulous music, colorful characters and, of course, romance, Kander and Ebb’s musical features a hedonistic Berlin at the close of the 1920s.

Expats and locals congregate at the seedy Kit Kat Klub with its irreverent Master of Ceremonies (Rotimi Agbabiaka) and the popular chanteuse Sally Bowles (Monique Hafen Adams). This carefree atmosphere, however, is set against the ominous rise of Hitler.

Center Rep’s artistic producer Markus Potter directs. Raised by a civil rights activist, the Concord native has always been a bit “obsessed” with “Cabaret.”

“This show does a little bit of everything I believe theater hopes to do,” said Potter. “Brilliant music, incredible characters – plus a call to action.”

Potter believes our own society is on the brink, as many fear losing elements of our democracy.

“I hope people are delighted and tickled by the fun of ‘Cabaret,’ the musical numbers and the beautiful comedy and our incredible cast but are left with a warning call to action, to not be complacent,” Potter said.

Holding a mirror up

To that end, Potter and scenic artist David Goldstein have designed large vertical mirrors facing the audience.

Center Rep’s artistic producer Markus Potter directs “Cabaret” at the Lesher Center May 26-June 23. (Photo by Kurt Sneddon)

“That’s our motif – holding the mirror up to ourselves. At the end of the show, we’re left with questions: Who are we? What do we want? There’s no clean answer in our production,” said Potter, who has also directed at Berkeley Rep and ACT as well as Off-Broadway and London’s Southwark Playhouse.

Performances take place at Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr. For tickets, call 925-943-7469 or go to

Summer theater events

The Eugene O’Neill Foundation at Tao House is taking registration for its 10-day studio retreat June 19-30 at O’Neill’s former home in the Las Trampas hills above Danville. The retreat features a master class in acting and playwriting taught by theater professionals.

For more information, go to

Clayton Theatre Company is also offering signups for its Summer Stage 2024. The two-week camp for students aged 7-16 focuses on musical theater training and preparation of excerpts from Disney and Broadway shows.

This year’s camp will be July 8-19 and features “Snow White, a very modern tale” by Nicole Dial. Go to for more information.

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Sally Hogarty
Sally Hogarty

Sally Hogarty is well known around the Bay Area as a newspaper columnist, theatre critic and working actress. She is the editor of the Orinda News. Send comments to