Up Close And (Maybe Too) Personal At TUTS's Cabaret

Theatergoers taking in TUTS's production of Cabaret (Recommended, although blue-haired TUTS's version of Weimar Republic "decadence" isn't exactly R-rated) have several seating choices -- way, way back in the depths of the cavernous Hobby Center, up a bit closer in the orchestra seats, or up really close, at tables and chairs all but onstage.

The good news: You get a bottle of red and white wine at the table, unlike the poor schlubs who can't even sneak in a beer from the lobby. The bad news: You might get heckled like it's a Don-Rickles-in-Vegas show.

The $150 "VIP seats" have sold like hotcakes used to sell in the days when hotcakes were somehow so popular they were metaphors for popular things.

Lauren Lovell of TUTS tells Hair Balls there may just be a few single tickets left, and there haven't been any complaints about becoming a target of the musical's Emcee character.

"So far, the patrons seated there have loved the experience," she says. "We're hoping to create more VIP experiences like that for shows next season. Cabaret was a great fit because of the unique position of the orchestra. Having that space available was fun for the audience."

("Fun" can be a relative experience. Says one VIP-seater we know: "I never knew so much saliva was involved in musical theater." Not to mention "If you ever wondered what a Weimar-era bordello smelled like, mystery solved.")

The Emcee is the sardonic, omnisexual host at the Kit Kat Klub, and he opens the second act by taking on the people sitting at the tables. The night we saw it, the schtick was full of implying some of them were gay (As if people attending a musical would be gay....)

Lovell says TUTS is looking to use the concept at other shows, like the upcoming Grease. Seeing how that warhorse has long ago left behind any pretense of being a pure `50s show, we're guessing the table jokes will include references to Obama, Viagra and not knowing how to program an iPod.

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Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly