(Kerry Reid’s article appeared in the Chicago Tribune, 9/22.)
The distance between Berlin and Broadway is about 4,000 miles. The distance between the onlookers and the performers in Theo Ubique's "A Kurt Weill Cabaret" can be as close as 4 inches. Yet the great achievement of this very fine show is that director Fred Anzevino and musical director and arranger Jeremy Ramey have devised a structure for the revue that outlines the great leaps in Weill's career from Weimar-era Germany to post-World War II America, while preserving an aching sense of immediacy and intimacy.
It helps, of course, that they've got a cast of five vocally supple and resonant performers who seem to relish their nearly-in-the-laps proximity to the audience. It also helps that Ramey and Anzevino have chosen wisely from the vast Weill songbook in shaping this journey from hand-to-mouth decadence to hand-on-heart autumnal wistfulness. (Yes, they've included the beloved standard "September Song," performed by the excellent Michael Reyes, who blends world-weary elan with earnest vulnerability.)