Greensboro native embraces role in ‘Cabaret’

From left to right: Lee Aaron Rosen as Clifford Bradshaw, Andrea Goss as Sally Bowles, Mark Nelson as Herr Schultz and Shannon Cochran as Fraulein Schneider in the touring production of “Cabaret.” The show will be performed April 19-24 at the DPAC in Durham. / Joan Marcus

Reviewed by Rachel Teseneer
Times-News correspondent

   DURHAM – Nightlife and love make up one of Broadway’s most iconic productions, depicting life in Berlin before World War II. “Cabaret” will be entertaining audiences April 19-24 at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC).
The show centers on two main places and two love stories. The Kit Kat Klub is a racy hub of nightlife, where the love of young writer, Cliff, and club dancer, Sally, will blossom. Another story also is followed at the boardinghouse, where the elderly fruit shop owner Herr Schultz and Fräulein Schneider, the woman who runs the boardinghouse, will fall in love.
In a recent interview, North Carolina native Shannon Cochran shared her experiences and thoughts on playing Fräulein Schneider in the national tour of “Cabaret.”
Cochran grew up in Greensboro and was involved in theater at a young age.
“Greensboro really had a lot of theater opportunities,” Cochran said.
She attended college at Wake Forest for two years. In that two years, she recognized that theater was where she was happiest.
    “I did four shows while I was there,” Cochran said. “I was going to major in French and English. I was thinking of becoming a lawyer, but I really had no idea what I was doing. I was one of those that probably shouldn’t have gone to college right after high school.”
Cochran went on to say that during her time at Wake Forest, the head of the theater department approached her and encouraged her to keep studying theater.
“It kind of went on from there,” she added.
Cochran, who now lives in California, said that this tour of “Cabaret” is her fourth time doing the show.
“When I was young, I got to be Sally at Wake Forest and also in some professional shows. I never thought I would be doing the ‘senior’ role.”
But Cochran finds a personal connection in the role of Fräulein Schneider.
“I didn’t think I had anything in common with her at first,” Cochran related. “But then I realized that we both found love late in life. I was 44 when I got married. When you’re older, it’s a different kind of romance, and losing it is an even bigger loss. My character finally finds the love of her life and it’s important. It’s scary and you have to have the courage to take that leap.”
Cochran went on to say that World War II has always fascinated her.
“The further we get away from the Holocaust, the more important it is to learn about it in this show, I think people will remember,” she said. “(The show is) racy, sexy, naughty, but very sweet. The mood is very ominous. This show requires leads that are strong actors. They have to be able to go from comedic to dark. There’s a lot of dramatic moments to land,” Cochran said. She went on to say that the Kit Kat girls and boys must be able to sing, dance, and play an instrument.
“Our orchestra is onstage and being played by the actors.”
For those that saw the Broadway revival in New York, Cochran assures that this production will live up to expectations.
“Our director worked with Sam Mendes who turned it darker and reworked the songs and dialogue. We’re recreating his vision and want to be faithful to his concept,” she added.
If you’re looking for an exciting night out, make sure to get your tickets for “Cabaret” showing at DPAC located at 123 Vivian St., Durham.
Show times are at 7:30 p.m. April 19-21, 8 p.m. April 22, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. April 23 and 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. April 14 at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), 123 Vivian St., Durham.

 Rachel Teseneer is a senior home-schooler and a Teens & 20s writer.




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