Marcela Casals grew up steeped in the traditions of theater. As a young girl in Argentina, her mother was an actress, her father an art photographer who also directed theater.
    “My aunt, who lived with us, was an opera singer so I was always, always in the theater somehow,” said Casals. “I swore I would never do that. The only thing I liked doing on stage was dancing.”  {mosimage}
    Lucky for her audiences, that is not how things turned out. Casals’ family emigrated to the U.S. and eventually settled in Los Angeles where she ventured into premed and architecture before taking up the family trade in earnest. She made her way to Fayetteville via her soldier husband and has been a steady force in the local theaters since the early 1990s.    
    Casals’ latest adventure in theater is the award winning Broadway musical Cabaret, based on Joe Masteroff’s book. She is directing the production for the Gilbert Theater. As Casals tells of her love of theater, she sings the praises of the actors and promises an exciting time for the audience.
    “At the Gilbert we use all local talent. Really, we have so much talent here,” said Casals. “It is a fabulous cast. The voices are really wonderful.”
    Cabaret is a dark musical. “It is not all about lovely things,” said Casals. “It is pre-Hitler Germany. The scene is set in 1930s Berlin. Times were tough then; the post World War I circumstances had citizens literally bringing wheel barrels full of money to the bakery to buy a loaf of bread.
    “It really was a difficult time and in the cabarets the men and women were trying their best not to go hungry.” said Casals. “If they couldn’t find true happiness at least they could pretend that there was such a thing.”   
    Being a showgirl was much better than just being a plain old prostitute. And if you met somebody who showered you with baubles and clothes and a place to stay you weren’t hungry. But Hitler was trying to create his master race. He was closing cabarets left and right. “They were filled with the kind of people that they were persecuting, and anybody who even resembled a gypsy or a Jew or who was in their estimation, immoral. Actresses have always been considered immoral and club dancers have always been considered immoral, but back then a lot of women didn’t have a lot of options open to them,” explained Casals. “And that is just what Kit Kat Klub performer Sally finds out. Although she is taken in by an American writer, overpowering circumstances make it difficult for their love to last.”
    Performances are June 5-8, 13-15 and 20-22. Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. All other performances start at 8 p.m. Doors open 30 minutes before the show. Tickets are $12.
    “I guess basically what I want to say is for people who do come out to Cabaret — they will have a great time. Yes, there are some very serious things dealt with, but it is going to be great,” said Casals.
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