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Life is a 'Cabaret' for actress Margaret Dudasik

Margaret Dudasik plays "Texas" in Sam Mendes' "Cabaret" at the Civic Theatre through Aug. 28.
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Margaret Dudasik may be the hardest working woman touring on stage at the moment. Well, her and the other members of Sam Mendes’ “Cabaret” which is currently in San Diego until August 28.

Dudasik plays “Texas” one of the girls who performs alongside Sally Bowles at the Kit Kat Club and her duties require more than just being a chorus girl.

In this production Dudasik must not only sing and dance centerstage, but she also must play an instrument. Having played the violin since she was three-years-old, the latter seems the easiest of them all.

“I don’t think the audience realizes,” she tells me, “I’ve had plenty of people ask, ‘Where you a musician or were you a dancer?’ I say we’re all doing both, and they can’t believe it.”

The character of Texas is very much the opposite of this New Jersey native, she says the character brings out something that she is not really used to because these girls are all about making people feel uncomfortable.

“Texas in particular,” she said. “I’ve gotten permission from stage management to yell at anyone in the audience who are taking pictures during a pre-show, so I am right in people’s faces screaming."

She says there are a few times she quieted the whole auditorium as boisterous Texas, “It’s totally different than who I am, but that’s the most fun part.”

As I continued to talk to the actress and singer, I could tell that she seemed to be easy-going and I wondered how she prepared to play a character who is so loud, brassy and confrontational; from what experience would she draw? Especially since this is her big-break in a production of this magnitude.

“What helped me the most,” she said, “is considering the political climate and the history of Berlin in the late 20’s early 30’s. I just remind myself of the economy at the time – I mean there’s a line in the show ‘a billion marks for a loaf of bread,’ but it really was that bad, I mean Berlin was just ravaged by World War I, and so poor."

The desperation of the Kit Kat girls is real, she says, “These girls really had to do anything for a buck, and I think that at least for this show, is largely what I base Texas off of.”

“Cabaret” is a dream come true for Margaret, she is completely enthralled by the story and the history behind the piece, “You’re seeing how two love stories intersect with…really the beginning of World War II, or the events leading up to it, and the rise of the Nazi party so I think the story itself is just so fascinating.”

She explains that even though the topic is a bit depressing the show is fun, bawdy and full of debauchery, especially during the first act.

“You feel like you’re pretty effectively drawn into the world of this club; these characters are so real and sad and desperate, funny.”

Act two she says takes a bit more of a dramatic turn, something Sam Mendes has said he wanted to do in order to concentrate on the anxieties of an approaching war.

As for her personal life, Margaret doesn’t really have one during the run of this show, instead she is enjoying getting to know her tour-mates because they have taken the place of her friends a family for two years.

She did bring a clarinet with her and practices that and her violin when she can.

With someone having so much training on the violin, I wondered which she preferred most; the stage or instrument.

“Musical theater is my passion,” she said. “I could’ve studied violin in college if I wanted to I guess, but musical theater is what I want to do with my life. But nowadays, every other show is involving actors-musicians so it’s been a great marriage of the two for me, I can’t complain. Some of the favorite shows I’ve done are all actor-musician shows.”

As for her future Margaret is looking forward to a long career on stage, but she’s worried that two years on the road may make it harder to get back into the swing of auditions.

She laughs, “It’s going to be a rude awakening coming, because I booked ‘Cabaret’ I think July of 2015, we started rehearsals end of 2015 so I haven’t been auditioning for over a year now and won’t be for like a year-and-a half.”

She need not worry about that just yet though, she is right where she wants to be, in a production that is going to open many doors for her in the future. 

“I mean overall it’s just a dream show, dream creative team and a dream to be on the road with a cast of quadruple threats," she chuckles. "There are a lot of seasoned actors that I have gotten to meet and work with and it has just been an honor.”

"Cabaret" is a part of Broadway San Diego and plays at the San Diego Civic Theatre until August 28.