Remember that famous last line Teri Hatcher uttered in her guest role on Seinfeld? As she walks out the door, she assures Jerry, They’re real. And they’re spectacular.
They weren’t real. Hatcher is flat and so is her performance in The Warner Theatre’s Cabaret.
As the cabaret diva Sally Bowles, Hatcher could have used the fake boobs to make her seem like a real person instead of a cardboard cutout void of emotion. In her stage debut in the national tour of Cabaret, Hatcher fizzles in a role that potentially could have launched her theater career.
Despite the disappointment of Hatcher’s performance, Cabaret has its high points. Having won the Tony Award for Best Revival in 1998, Cabaret teems with sexuality and contemporary humor while managing to send a poignant message.
Set in pre-World War II Berlin, during Hitler’s rise to power, the show exposes the risqu? side of Germany. Although Cabaret’s Kit Kat Club probably never existed, the show touches on the thriving Berlin cabaret nightlife as well as the political turmoil of the times.
Your host for the evening, Emcee (Norbert Leo Butz) enthralls and amuses audiences with his enchanting sexual humor. Well-known for his commendable performance as Roger in Rent on Broadway, Butz exhibits his musical talent and undeniable stage presence. He interacts with audience members, taunting and teasing them.
Yet despite Butz’s efforts, the show does not scintillate you as it should. The cast never gels, but it’s not due to lack of talent.
Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz demonstrate how the political turmoil invaded the social lives of everyone living in Germany. As the ill-fated lovers, two stage veterans, Barbara Andres and Dick Latessa, give strong performances. They undoubtedly will remind you of cute versions of your grandparents.
As the slutty Fraulein Kost, Jeanine Morick gives a brilliant performance. When she comes onstage, she elevates the emotional level, which seems to be sub-zero for much of the show due to Hatcher.
Hatcher can sing. She even emulates the British accent quite well, especially for a girl living in New York. Yet, she fails to interact with the other characters. She seems to perform in her own little world, creating a show of distinct characters that cannot truly be called a cast. Throughout Cabaret, she builds a wall around herself and by the time she sings the famous line, Come to the cabaret, old chum, you don’t want to join her.
She creates a rift in the performance that you cannot ignore. Despite her talent and the talents of the rest of the cast, you are left wanting more. You want to feel the hardships and the love of Sally Bowles and Cliffod Bradshaw (Rick Holmes). You want the emotional fervor radiating throughout the theater to be so high that you don’t want to move for fear of breaking the magical spell the cast has placed on you. Despite how much you want it, you will never get it.
By disengaging the audience, Hatcher brings down want could have been a superb performance of Cabaret. Standing there scantily clad in a sexy negligee, Hatcher leaves you to focus more on her chest and the lingering Seinfeld question than on her performance.Cabaret continues at the Warner Theatre through Sept. 4. Ticket prices range from $21.25 to $ 76.25.
This article appeared in the August 23, 1999 issue of the Hatchet.