cabaret south valley civic theatre sarah duarte vaughn mayer morgan hill community playhouse
Sarah Duarte and Vaughn Mayer are two of the leads in South Valley Civic Theatre’s “Cabaret,” opening March 11 at the Morgan Hill Community Playhouse. Photo: Chris Foster

It may have taken two years because of circumstances beyond its control, but South Valley Civic Theatre is at last ready to perform its dark musical, “Cabaret,” in front of a live audience. 

Ten performances will run on select days from March 11-27 at the Morgan Hill Community Playhouse, 17090 Monterey Road.

The show was originally scheduled to hit the stage in April 2020, but just a month earlier, the Covid-19 pandemic arrived in earnest, bringing an end to countless in-person activities and transforming daily life for most.

SVCT was a few weeks into rehearsals for “Cabaret” at the time when it was forced to postpone the show to an uncertain date.

Meanwhile, the theater company held a few virtual performances in 2020, and in the fall 2021, was able to host its first in-person show since the pandemic, albeit on a much smaller stage inside the Gilroy Center for the Arts.

But come March 11, the lights will shine bright once again inside the Morgan Hill Community Playhouse.

“It’s like coming home to an old friend,” “Cabaret” Co-Producer Robin Bezanson said. “The excitement when we all got in here was phenomenal.”

Bezanson said SVCT, which manages the Limelight theater inside the Gilroy Center for the Arts, not only had to postpone “Cabaret” in March 2020, but was only a week away from opening another show, “Tigers Be Still,” in downtown Gilroy.

“Tigers Be Still” has been rescheduled to open on May 6.

“It was disheartening at the time, but it made coming back together so much sweeter,” she said. 

“Cabaret” Director Carol Harris said some performers had to be recast due to scheduling conflicts, but the show now has a larger cast than before.

She added that the cast was a little unsure how to proceed when rehearsals began, as the uncertainties of Covid-19 makes planning a nearly impossible challenge. But their dedication to their craft never waned.

“They’re all dedicated and all excited,” she said. “They want to perform because that’s what performers do. They’ve been working their tails off.”

“Cabaret,” an award-winning musical that originally opened on Broadway in 1966, takes place in a Berlin nightclub in 1929-1930, as the Nazis begin their rise in power. The story follows an American writer who forms a relationship with an English performer as a tense political landscape develops around them.

The show features a number of performers new to SVCT, including two of the leads, Sarah Duarte and Vaughn Mayer.

Duarte, who plays Sally Bowles, said her character is a “self-destructive” woman who is addicted to alcohol and drugs.

“A lot of the characters in the show are one version you could see yourself slip into if you allow yourself to indulge in self-destructive behavior,” she said. “It’s not unrealistic. That’s what makes this show relatable to a larger audience.”

Mayer, who plays Clifford Bradshaw, said “Cabaret” can be “heartbreaking” at times, which further helps audiences connect to it.

“All stories are supposed to remind people that we’re human, and it’s good to be human,” he said.

Harris said “Cabaret” is timely for audiences in 2022, especially with today’s divided political climate across the world.

“We want people to leave here and talk about it afterward,” she said. “And I think they will.”

“Cabaret” runs select days from March 11-27 at the Morgan Hill Community Playhouse, 17090 Monterey Road. General admission is $32, $29 for seniors and $22 for youth 18 and under. Audience members will be asked to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination at the door. For tickets and information, visit

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Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.


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