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USD Theatre Closes Season with Cabaret

Cabaret. USD Theatre presents Cabaret April 12-22.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota Department of Theatre is thrilled to present one of the all-time great musicals, Cabaret.


Fifty years after its Broadway premiere, Cabaret resonates more than ever. Alternatingly hilarious and chilling, this classic musical juxtaposes its up-tempo music and choreography with the rise of the Nazi party in pre-World War II Berlin.

The rehearsal process has been jazzed up, literally, by the presence of veteran Broadway director/choreographer Chet Walker, who choreographed this production during a 10-day residence in March. Walker has garnered acclaim onstage in theaters across the globe, as well as on screen and other media. His many Broadway credits include conceiving the show Fosse, which won the 1999 Tony Award for Best Musical, and choreographing the acclaimed 2013 revival of Stephen Schwartz’s Pippin. His work as a director and/or choreographer has taken him around the world, including, Mexico, Japan, Argentina, Israel, and all over Europe.

Cabaret director Joe Stollenwerk is excited to bring this show to the USD and Vermillion community: “It’s really the ultimate musical—people who love musical theatre love Cabaret, and people who normally don’t care for musicals will be surprised by how much they enjoy it. It’s entertaining with great songs and Chet Walker’s brilliant choreography, but the script is also incredibly well-written, with complex yet relatable characters and lots of political and cultural commentary.”

Cabaret features junior BFA Musical Theatre major Rachel Smith in the pivotal role of the Emcee, traditionally played by a man. Stollenwerk notes that he went into the casting process with a totally open mind as to the gender of this performer, and that “casting a woman in this role, especially at this moment in history, has given us a lot of unique opportunities to explore gender, sexuality, and especially what it means to have a woman running the show.”

Stollenwerk gives high praise to his cast and production team: “It’s been a delightfully collaborative experience working on Cabaret. Each time one of the designers or performers has brought an idea to the table, it has spurred the rest of the group to work to their very best effort. Everyone has done such great research and has brought such a willingness to work together.”

Cabaret contains some mature themes and situations. Check out USD Theatre on Facebook and Twitter for more information about the show and Chet Walker’s recent residency.

Cabaret performs April 12 – 22 in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre on the USD campus. Tickets can be purchased in the afternoons at the USD Theatre Box Office or by calling (605) 677-5400; tickets can also be purchased online.


USD's College of Fine Arts encourages students to pursue their chosen professional field in art, music or theater through their study with nationally recognized faculty who are working professionals. Students learn and grow to be professional fine artists with great job potential anywhere in the country. The college offers opportunities for additional real-world experiences through work with guest artists, study tours abroad and opportunities at the National Music Museum and the University Art Galleries on the Vermillion campus and the Black Hills Playhouse in Custer State Park. The college brings more than 80 guests artists to campus annually to work with students.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News