Come to the Cabaret!

Since sharing a post two weeks ago, about my time as an actor in New York City, I’ve been reminded of several experiences and interesting lessons that I’ve learned.

This weeks posts will be a trilogy, where I will be sharing three different stories that were special highlights for me.

So grab your theater program, take your seat…and Welcome to the Cabaret!





Even though the movie Cabaret starring Liza Minnelli was released in 1972, it was not until 1974 that I actually saw it for the first time….

As the lights in the movie theater dimmed and the screen illuminated, the sound of a slow drum roll could be heard.

And as the camera slowly panned across a distorted mirror, the drum roll got increasing louder and faster until BAM!…the bazaar face of a little man was reflected; wearing a full face of overly exaggerated make up.

And as he began to sing the opening number, with his red stained lips and heavy false eyelashes…I found myself with chills running up and down my spine. His presence was utterly creepy, and at the same time…enthralling.

It was the brilliant actor, Joel Grey, portraying the role of Master of Ceremonies in the movies’ infamous and decadent Berlin night-spot…The Kit Kat Club.

And even though his screen appearance is not in quantity, the role of Master of Ceremonies (MC) is the key character in the story, because he literally weaves the underlining “tone” of the movie, through his musical numbers.

The MC represents the decadence, decay, and the rise of Hitler’s over-throw of Germany, during the 1940’s.

And as I watched this scary and demented character, move about the screen…I suddenly heard a little voice that said, “One day you’re going to perform this role.”

Now….lets fast forward to 16 years later….

I was living in Orlando, Florida at the time, and had been working as an actor off and on for several years.

I don’t remember how I found this out, but I discovered that one of the theaters was auditioning for the stage version of Cabaret.

I knew that this was the “little voice” which I had heard 16 years prior, telling me that this was the day.

So NERVIOUSLY...I called and made an appointment to be seen.

I remember that audition, like it was yesterday….

Because the show is a musical, I had to first go through a series of vocal and dance auditions, to see if the director was even willing to ask me to “call-backs” for the following night.

Well I made it to call-backs, but then something very strange happened during the evening…

When an actor goes to a call-back, you’re thrown in a room with people who are not only auditioning for other roles in the show, but also those who are auditioning for the SAME role as you are. You’re constantly seeing the competition in front of you.

(it’s totally unnerving)

The director of the show knew that I was only there to audition for the role of the MC, but oddly enough, started asking me to read for various other roles in the show.

WTF????

I started to think that he was just testing me, to see if I could easily be directed.

I also thought that maybe he was doing it, because he simply needed someone to “read” with another actor.

But suddenly I realized that he was actually considering me for a totally different role.

I freaked!

I quickly stood up, and went directly over to the stage manger of the show, and asked if I could talk to her privately in the lobby.

And when we got there, I told her that I could see what the director was planning, and that I needed her to tell him that I would not be willing to play any other role, other than the MC.

Now I don’t normally do such things, but this was a time when I knew that I needed to speak up for a role…and be firm.

She said that she would talk to the director during a break, and inform him of my decision.

So I sat my ass back down in the theater and waited for them to talk.

About 20 minutes later, the stage manager told me that the director wanted to see me backstage.

And when I got there, he said, “I understand you’re only willing to take the role of the MC.”

I said, “Yes.”

He responded, “Well I’m sorry Ron, but I just don’t see you in that role.”

And I said, “Well I’m sorry…but I do. I’ve waited 16 years to play this role and I know I’m right for it. So if you have the intention of casting me in any other role, I’m just not interested.”

(pause)

He said, “Ok….give me a few minutes, I need to talk to the stage manager.”

So I went back into the theater…and waited.

About ten minutes later, he came out on stage and thanked all of us for coming out to auditioning for the show, and then called off all the names of the actors who were free to leave, and told the rest of us to stay seated in the theater.

He then made the announcement of WHO he decided to cast in each role.

And as he got to the character of the MC…I thought my heart was going to POUND out of my chest.

I then heard him say…“In the role of the MC…Ron Carnavil.”

HOLY SHIT!




*And thank you..."little voice."

34 comments

  1. YAY RON!! Yippeeee. Go getm Tiger!

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  2. Why does your "live traffic feed" say I'm in "Bakersfield, CA"?
    Weeeeeeeeeeeeird! LOL

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  3. :-)

    Good choice!
    Yours and his.

    Oh, and I betcha you were brilliant.......

    *humming happily*

    And trust that the tune will be stuck all day, thanksmuchly.

    MUCH better than the one that was running around in my brain before landing here--so I thank you kindly.

    ((((((( Ron ))))))))

    <-- will think of you when I'm out picking up victims to be my jack-0-lanterns

    :-)

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  4. Ron, WOW!!! You really did stand up to make sure your 'little voice' was heard! BRAVO. It's usually right.
    I'm so glad you got to play that role. As you know, it's one of my very favorites. I was so intrigued by the Emcee, and Joel Grey was PERFECT in that role. He conjures up such deep emotion. You just feel yourself getting drawn in not only to the decadence of the Kit Kat Klub, but you feel some of the horror happening outside as well.
    I saw the movie probably in the mid to late '70's on t.v. with my Mom. She knew how much I loved it, so a couple years later got the tickets for us to see it in Philly. I seem to remember it being at the Forrest Theater. And that was the year Joel couldn't do the vocal part due to illness but physically performed while his understudy was behind a screen on the side balcony doing the voice for the Emcee.
    Hubby took me a couple years later, again to Philly.... OMG, where was it??? The stage was in the center of the theater, in the round type.
    That was when Joel walked right by us as he entered to start the number 'Money' and threw some fake bills around. I know somewhere I've still got one or two of them that I caught.
    When we saw it years later, Joel had retired from the role, and it was a very different production which I didn't think I'd like but OH HOW I DID!!
    I still watch the movie when it's on t.v. even though I have the dvd and could watch it any time I want. The music is the best! I have 'Don't Tell Mama' on my iPod and play it all.the.time!
    (If you... had a secret... you know.. I would keep it! I would NEVER tell on YOU!!!)

    You're terrific for sharing another wonderful life memory. It taps into some I have as well.

    Danke schön!

    p.s. Get your mittens out!!! There's been a definite nip in the air.
    We went to a festival on Saturday and got HOT SOUP to eat as it was so chilly out. Love it though!

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  5. And I bet you were FANTASTIC too!

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  6. It's always good to listen to your voices. They make sense. :D I'll bet you were the best MC ever!

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  7. Hiya Debi!

    Thanks, my friend!

    It was a time, when I KNEW I needed to stick by my guns.

    It ended up being a wonderful experience, and I'm so grateful that he gave me the role.

    Thanks for stopping by, Debi!

    Have a wonderful Monday!

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  8. Hi again Debi!

    I know...I don't understand that thing at times.

    I have several readers, who when they stop by, Feedjit says they live is someplace other than where they live!?!?!

    Strange!

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  9. Helloooo Diane!

    OH WOW!!!

    You changed your avatar again!

    I LOOOOOVE this one too!!!!

    You look FABULOUS!!!

    Thanks a bunch for stopping by today, Diane!

    It's always so nice seeing ya!

    Happy Monday!

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  10. Morning Dear Mel!

    Thanks my friend!

    This was one of those times in my career, that will go down as a "HOLY SHIT MOMENT!!."

    Even in rehearsal, I kept saying to myself, "OMG...I can't believe I'm actually doing this role!!!!"

    And then on opening night...I was SOOOOO damn nervous, but it went really well!

    Hey...I SO wish I could be with you when your picking out your Jack-0-Lanterns!!!

    If you can, pleas take some photos...I would LOVE to see them!

    Thanks oodles for stopping by this morning, Mel!

    Have a WONDERFUL Monday!!!!

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  11. Bravo!!!

    An inspirational true-life story to start my day.

    Thanks! (she says with a big smile on her face...)

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  12. Good Morning Crystal-Chick!

    OMG...I was SOOOOO thinking of YOU when I wrote this post!!!

    Because I know how BOTH of us LOVE this show!!!

    And I wish I had been able to see Joel in the role, such as you! I bet it was SPECTACULAR!!! I've never been inside the Forrest Theater, but it's VERY close to where I live in the city. I hear it's a wonderful space!! They don't seem to use it much.

    I don't think people realize how DIFFERENT the movie Cabaret is, from the stage producing. There's several songs that are not even in the stage version, that are in the movie, and visa-versa.

    I like BOTH versions, however, I personally feel that the stage version hits more on the political aspect of what was going on in Germany at the time.

    Plus...because the show is set in a cabaret...and it FEELS more like a cabaret in a theater, with a LIVE audience.

    I actually watched the movie this weekend, while I was writing this post. I also have the stage production that I was in on video, and watch it every couple of years.

    Thanks SOOO much for stopping by today and adding your wonderful experience of Cabaret to this post, M!

    I thoroughly enjoyed it!!!

    ooooh...and YES!!!

    Isn't today GORGEOUS???

    I had to sleep with an extra blanket last night. It felt so wonderful!

    Have a great Monday, M!

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  13. Good Morn'in Lady Sorrow!

    Thanks, dear lady!

    It certainly was a "special moment" for me.

    And I'm so glad that the "Theater God's" saw to it, that I was able to perform the role!

    It truly was a mystical experience.

    I feel very blessed!

    Thanks for stopping by, Sorrow!

    And HAPPY MONDAY to ya!

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  14. Morning Lady Nitebyrd!

    You're SO right!

    Whenever I DOUBT the "inner voice"...I always seem to say, "FUCK!"

    HAHAHHAHA!

    I had a BLAST performing this role and feel SOOOOOO blessed in being given the opportunity to do it!

    Thanks a lot for stopping by today, Nitebyrd!

    Have a wonderful Monday!

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  15. Good Morning to ya, Carol!

    Thank YOU, dear lady!

    My "little voice" always seems to scream LOUD, when it wants me to do something!

    (stubborn little bugger!)

    HAHAHHAHAA!

    Thanks for stopping by this morning, Carol!

    ALWAYS enjoyed!

    Happy Monday!

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  16. and at that moment a little voice in Joel Grey's head was saying

    "ahhhh they made a good choice"

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  17. laurel clarkOctober 20, 2008

    I will always remember you in this role! You were every bit as good as Joel Gray. You need to transfer that video to DVD and give me a copy. I think you should open a Kit Kat Klub right there in Philly and be the MC EVERY nite. Actually thats not a bad idea.....

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  18. Afternoon Dianne!

    Thank you, sweet lady!

    Because Joel Grey left such a STRONG impression on not only me...but everyone who saw him in the role...it was challenging NOT to imitate his performance.

    However, there were some things that he made UNIVERSAL about the role, that were just too good, NOT to copy.

    So thank you, Mr. Grey!

    And thank YOU, Dianne for stopping by this day!

    I always LOVE talking with ya!

    HAPPY MONDAY!

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  19. OMG...LAUREL!!!!!

    I always get so EXCITED when I see that you've left a comment!!!

    Thank you for stopping by on this post, that's so nice of you!

    Do you know that I STILL have the little tag you placed on the gift that you gave to me on opening night?

    It's was a little "angel" remember?

    I have NOTHING else of that show (outside of the video) EXCEPT for that TAG!!!

    I don't even have a program!!!

    Hey listen, that's a GREAT idea about opening a Kit Kat Club here in Philly!! Maybe my blogger friend Crystal-Chick and I could open it together!!!!

    And thanks for mentioning transfering the video to DVD!!!

    Actually I really should do that, considering video fades after awhile.

    Thanks SOOOOOO much for stopping by today, Laurel!

    It's always great talking with you via this blog!!!

    Hope all is well for you in Orlando!!

    Love ya!
    X

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  20. The little voice would not take NO for an answer. Good for the little voice! Good for you for listening, Ron! And speaking up for the little voice!

    I'm sure you were AWESOME in the role. It was a destiny thing.

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  21. Hiya San!

    That's totally what I think dear lady, so thank you for vocalizing it!!

    That's what this experince really felt like. Somehow I just knew it was suppose to be!

    I'm SURE you know that feeling, being someone who is artist.

    Creativity is an energy, that always guides us, in HOW to express that energy!

    I'm very grateful that it all went as planned!

    Thanks so much for stopping by today, San!

    You add MUCH!

    Have a wonderful evening!

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  22. Ronnie: see you are wonderful. You love the things I love.

    I would have loved to play Sally Bowls with your Joel Grey's MC role.

    drum roll... (german accent) I give you zee international sensation...fraulein Sally Bowles.

    You have to understand the way I am Mein herr...

    A tiger is a tiger...not a lamb Mein herr.

    You'll never turn the vinegar to jam Mein herr.

    So I do what I do
    when I'm through
    then I'm through...and I'm through...todooloo.

    hehehe.


    I'm glad you stuck to your guns ronnie. still wished I could have seen you up there doing the MC of The Kit Kat Club. It would be ahrd not to trip your Saly Bowles so this bit player could take her place. :)

    Ciao babe...loved your posta nd You know what...I could so see you there.

    Bye bye Mein Herr.

    Ciao sweetie.

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  23. WOW, how cool is that! :)

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  24. OMG...Miss Jones!!!

    I was JUST thinking about you, not TWO MINUTES AGO!!!!!

    I've been SOOO busy all weekend writing ALL THREE of the posts that I have planned for this week. I wrote them all within two days! I've been very inspired lately to WRITE. You know how that is, being a writer youself. The inspiration just HITS you and...you GO!!!! I was up til 2AM some nights!!!

    Hey...you must know this show VERY well, because you have ALL the words PERFECTLY!!!

    I had chills reading your comment, because it made me remember when I had to introduce Sally Bowles!!!

    And I bet YOU would have been a FABUOLOUS Sally!!!

    The girl that played the role in the production I was in, was very good....HOWEVER...you would have been MUCH better, I can tell!

    I only wish that Mein Herr was in the stage production. And I also wish that Maybe This Time was too! And also...Money Makes The World Go Round. There IS a Money song in the show, but it's not nearly as good as the one in the film!

    One of these days, dear friend...I have a feeling that you and I will perform together!

    We need to write our own show, so it'll be an ORIGINAL!!

    The Spiky-Ron Cabaret!

    HAHAHAHA!!

    Thanks SOOOO much for stopping by today, Miss Jones!

    It's so good to have some "theater blood" on this post!!!

    I'll be by your blog, within minutes!

    Ciao bella Sally!

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  25. Good Evening Linda!

    I am SOOOOOOO happy that the director was willing to take a chance...and listen to an actor.

    He and I both talked about it later on during the run of the show...and actually THANKED one another!

    It was a nice moment.

    Thanks for stopping by, Linda!

    Always good talking with ya!

    Enjoy your evening!

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  26. It was fate!

    What a wonderful story Ron, I can't wait to read the other two.

    BTW is that last photo of you?

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  27. Afternoon Akelamalu!

    That's what I feel also.

    It just FELT right, ya know?

    And YES...that is me in the last photo. It was during the final number in the show.

    So glad you enjoyed, my friend!

    Thank you!

    Hope you're having a great day!

    Oh, wait...I think it's already evening there, right?

    Have a great evening!

    HA!

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  28. What a great experience to share with us. I was reading faster and faster as the tale progressed.

    Wahooooooo!!!!

    thanks for the smile.

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  29. HOWDY Jeff!!!!

    So GREAT seeing ya, buddy!!!!

    How are ya?

    As I shared with Spiky in my comment to her, lately I've been very inspired to write. And it seems to be coming all at ONCE.

    I spent all weekend with my fingers tapping on the keyboard!!!!

    But it was enjoyable, so I'm grateful for it.

    Thanks for enjoying this post, buddy!

    And thanks for stopping by!

    I've missed talking with you!

    Have a great evening, Jeff!

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  30. Oh cool it is you! Fabulous photo Ron. :)

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  31. Afternoon Akelamalu!

    Thanks, my friend!

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  32. I loved this post not only was it wonderful to experience part of your life, but it contained inspiring messages. A big one...listen to your inner voice!!

    You looked fabulous...I wish I could have been there to see! Did I read you have a video..how about transferring it to DVD!!

    I am looking forward to reading more stories. :)

    LY!

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  33. Good Morning Again Dear Gypsy-Heart!

    I often think of ALL the artists in the world, when I remember this experience, because I KNOW that YOU know what I'm talking about here, in listening to that "voice."

    Artists (of all kinds) seem to have a "sensitive connection" to that voice.

    It guides our every step in the creation of something.

    It using us...as a vessel.

    It took me awhile to trust myself, trusting it!?!?!?

    Thanks my Florida friend, for stopping by this morning with a cup of coffee!

    And yes...if I get the video transfered...I will mail you a copy, I promise!

    LY!

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