“I saw the film version and … I wasn’t that impressed with it,” says Tracey Williams-Sutton, director of Ojai ACT’s production of “Cabaret.” Because it’s celluloid-centered, then video, Bob Fosse’s version of “Cabaret” with Joel Grey and Liza Minnelli has been most people’s introductory to the world that Christopher Isherwood created all those decades previous. But it also doesn’t take much to find the original source materials — Isherwood’s short stories, Josh Van Druten’s play based on the stories, and the musical with a book by Joe Masteroff (music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb) — have many more delights available. And that Williams-Sutton’s opinion is not rare.
The setting, for those who have be wilkommen’d to the Cabaret, old chum, is the Kit Kat Klub in 1931 Berlin. The Nazis are rising to power. Sally Bowles is young, British and a performer at the club. Cliff Bradshaw is young, American, a writer in search of inspiration, and soon to fall in love with Sally. And then there is the Emcee, who introduces us both to the club and to the society around them, which is becoming increasingly deadly.