The actress speaks to GLT about her take on Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret the Musical which is touring the UK.
How would you describe the musical?
It’s set in Berlin in the 1930s and is the story of the sadness of the Nazis coming into power. There’s this wonderful Kit Kat Klub but there’s a darkness about the show. What comes through is the tenacity, the joyfulness of people dealing with what might happen. John Partridge is the Emcee; we worked together on Masterchef and the Antiques Road Trip which was great fun.
Tell us about your character.
Fraulein Schneider runs this boarding house; she’s a very strong lady but she does fall in love so there’s a vulnerable side. Her ethos is to keep life straight and do what’s right. Her inner strength comes right the way through and it doesn’t all end as she’d like it to.
It started last month, what has the reaction been so far?
It has been amazing; we’ve had standing ovations. Some audiences have been in complete silence because it’s such a shock ending. As live theatre it affects audiences in different ways and is a bit of a roller-coaster for the audience and for us.
What’s your highlight of the show?
There are some glorious moments but the obvious joyful ones are when Kara sings the song Cabaret, it comes out of some dark space and comes across in such a true way, and also Maybe This Time. The dancers are amazing when they do Money, Money, Money.
What can groups expect from the show?
Firstly, anticipation. I don’t think they’ll stop talking about the show; they’ll be going over the details of it and how it affected them. The word is…experience. An incredible theatrical experience.
You rose to fame as a singer in the 60s, what have you picked up over the years that has helped you in this role?
I had a director, Pauline Grant, who directed me in Peter Pan and she said if you want those children to believe that you can fly then that’s the word you have in your head. That was 20-30 years ago, I have kept the word in the front of my thoughts; if I don’t believe it then I can’t present that character. If I do, I can find her and take her forward with me.
If you could play any role what would it be?
I’ve always wanted to play Dolly in Hello, Dolly! Because my career seems to have twisted and turned from pop to music and drama, I’m loving jumping in the deep end with everything; there’s still so much learning to do. I’m up for a good challenge.
Cabaret is touring the UK until April 2020.
For more information visit www.kenwright.com/portfolio/cabaret/