Introducing Angie as the choreographer for "Cabaret"

Denver artist and Miner's Alley choreographer, Angie Simmons, takes her moves to Fort Collins for Openstage in "Cabaret!" 

Tell us about yourself! What’s your theatre background? How did you hear about OpenStage?

I grew up completely enthralled with my small-town community theatre, specifically musical theatre, making my stage debut as the King's youngest child in "The King and I" at the seasoned age of four. This was the same age I started studying dance and I was hooked from my first moment in the studio. After growing up in a very theatre-focused family and angling for as much stage time as I could, I headed off to undergraduate study at Millikin University as a double major in vocal and instrumental music. Dance and choreography were such a staple of my young life, it didn't take long before dance won out and I changed both my school and major to dance at Illinois State University. This is where I completed my bachelor's degree in Dance Education while choreographing for various musical theatre productions as a young adult. I focus mainly on my dance career as a modern dance professional after graduate school at CU Boulder by founding a modern dance company that has produced works in Colorado since 2006, but I deeply missed musical theatre. I returned to musical theatre choreography with work in the last five years at Miners Alley Playhouse.

How familiar were you with "Cabaret" prior to being asked to choreograph OpenStage's production?

"Cabaret" has been one of my favorite musicals since I was quite young (probably too young for most of the show content, to be honest). My exposure to the show was seeing a production of the original script, prior to the revival. As a dancer, I've been in love with the work of Bob Fosse and the movie version of "Cabaret" was my first glimpse of his genius. I always wanted to choreograph "Cabaret" and being presented with that opportunity in 2017 with Miners Alley was just the thing to rekindle my love of musical theatre work! Returning now to choreograph the show for OpenStage has been an adventure and I've enjoyed getting to know the cast and production staff.

When you hear "Cabaret" what do you think of?

"Cabaret" conjures concepts of sexual freedom, seduction, self-exploration, persecution, and torrid fun juxtaposed with heart-breaking realizations of how humans see and treat each other. As a production, it also has some of the most recognizable music in a Broadway show!

What’s it like collaborating with a creative powerhouse like director Kenny Moten?

I have really enjoyed being able to bounce ideas and creative approaches off Kenny in our first time collaborating with each other. I'm hoping to get the opportunity in future projects!

What do you want audiences to take away from "Cabaret?" Why is it still a must see theatre nearly 60 years later?

I hope audiences can walk away from the performance with a real sense of how precious and unique every life is and how valuable diversity is to our society. It is amazing, after 60 years, how relevant both the content and context of this show still are and how powerful its message can be.

Do you see "Cabaret" still being performed and relevant 60 years from now?

I believe, as a production with historical references, the show will always contain important messages and lessons. I'm hoping in 60 more years some of the racial prejudices we see played out in the production will no longer be as actively relevant.

What project(s) are you working on next? What is your dream role/project and why? 

As a choreographer who also runs a private massage practice, I'll be spending the next few months focusing on my clients after working on this production and a previous production just before this. They've been wonderfully flexible with their scheduling so I could drive from Denver to Fort Collins. I will be working on OpenStage's production of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" next summer! As for my dream project, I'd like to choreograph "Chicago" and/or "Hadestown" possibly at some point because they are incredible shows with fantastic songbooks!

Come see Angie's choreography and the rest of the cast in "Cabaret," October 29–November 26!

Book by Joe Masteroff
Based on the play by John Van Druten and
stories by Christopher Isherwood
Music by John Kander
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Directed by Kenny Moten
Vocal Direction by Kate Rothstein
Music Direction by Matthew Rothstein
Choreographed by Angie Simmons

October 29–November 26, 2022
Playing at the Lincoln Center Magnolia Theatre

This dynamic and much-loved Tony Award-winning musical continues to seduce audiences with the tantalizing Kit Kat Klub, where the iconic Emcee assures us that “life is beautiful…even the orchestra is beautiful.” As 1930s Germany slowly surrenders to the atrocities of the Third Reich, dreams unravel and lives are demolished. Cabaret is a dark, visceral, and tumultuous ride that finds us "at the end of the world… dancing… while being fast asleep.”

CONTENT WARNING: Adult themes and situations. Questions about content? Contact OpenStage at 970.484.5237.

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