Cabaret’s message: The times are a changin’ |

Cabaret’s message: The times are a changin’

— Spring officially began in Steamboat Springs on Thursday night when music’s always-universal language spoke to a full house at the Steamboat Springs Mountain Theater.

Producer Scott Parker opened his eighth “Cabaret” by thanking upcoming targets of the night’s laughter for being good sports, then pointing to the exits where they could leave if they couldn’t take the heat.

The beat began with Cabaret All Stars enervating an already eager crowd by heading “Down to the Crossroads” and, appropriately, a classroom of young’uns learning the “Do-Re-Me” of getting along in a changing town.

For two hours the pace never let up. Words from Crosby, Stills and Nash touched home through the night’s recognition of what is happening to the famously laid back town that beckoned so many of us to it. “We’ve been through some things together…” they sang, and even as the cast threw its barbs at the Steamboat Pilot & Today, it was obvious that the audience had read the daily news, understanding the best and worst of the year’s happenings in Ski Town USA.

City Council decisions met with ongoing attacks, and each council appearance was met with increasingly loud howls from the audience.

Routt County commissioners escaped with fewer barbs than their city counterparts, but there was a scuba diver swimming through the water-plagued tunnel at the new Justice Center. There also was an imprisoned School Board member asking for access to wireless Internet. Rousing cheers welcomed back Steamboat’s first mailman, who read from e-mails found in an envelope during the Post Office annual sweep. Sheriff Gary Wall also takes a few jabs in the show. In one of the audience’s favorite scenes, an actress portraying Wall’s girlfriend carries a sign that reads, “Do it for Gary” on one side and “Gary does it for me” on the other.

To everyone’s delight – demonstrated with loud boos and louder hisses – developers and Realtors caught some flack. Audience members were invited to participate in a contest called “Know Your Real Estate Project,” and in the song “Downtown,” the cast laments the changes to their town.

Laughter and music united an audience of locals, new and old, who joined in songs and jokes, acknowledging that “you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.”

Some who more recently moved to town may not have completely grasped the wistful sincerity of big-screen remembrance of faces in this Ski Town’s past, but like the school kids in the opening number, they figured it out. Youngsters had to ask what “boondoggles” were, and older folks cringed a little at the 60th dance reunion.

It was all in fun, and, as usual, the talent was awesome. The Steamboat Springs Arts Council’s annual mud-season event surpassed expectations as it once again voiced a farewell to what has been and remains a friendly hello to the future. Laughing at ourselves is a way to celebrate the people who make our valley the place we love. We came from lots of different places, and we work at lots of different jobs. As the night’s songs said so well, we’ve had some “very good years.”

Here’s to you, Cabaret. “Long may you run.”

Freiberger is a Steamboat Springs writer.

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