Cabaret, the beloved 1966 musical based on a 1951 play by John Van Druten, is a show that has continued to thrive thanks to theaters all around the world. Savannah Stage Company’s recent production of the classic was a big success and proved just how ingrained the story is in the world of musical theater. It was one of several shows done during the company’s 2018 season, all under the direction of co-founder Jayme Tinti.
Tinti, voted Best Theatre Director, staged Cabaret alongside fellow founder and Best Actor winner Wesley Pridgen, as well as Best Actress and Best Vocalist winner Lexi Balaoing Ambrose.
Tinti, Ambrose, and Pridgen have all been at the forefront, thanks to the growth of Stage Company and everyone involved, of bringing awareness to Savannah as a city whose theater community is just as fruitful as New York or Atlanta.
“When we first got here, we chose Savannah because we saw a lack of what we wanted to do and what we wanted to we felt was important, which is accessible theater,” Tinti says.
“Paying people for their work was also something that, at the time, felt like there was a big hole with. To be able to compensate people for their work is one of the most important things that we can do.”
Ambrose says she “lucked out” when she moved to Savannah from New York and happened upon Savannah Stage through an advertisement.
“I’ve been acting since I was a child, and I got my BFA at Florida State University. After I graduated, I ran an all-female Shakespeare repertory company up there. And when my husband and I decided to move to Savannah, one of my biggest concerns was whether I was going to be fulfilled as an actor, producer, and performer,” she says.
Pridgen and his brother, fellow co-founder Bryan Pridgen, also saw the need for accessible theater in Savannah and—alongside Tinti and their other founding members—decided to take the leap and move down. It’s been a successful journey so far, with several seasons under their belt since they began in 2012.
“We packed up and all moved down here to start the company, and 100 people later we’re still going,” he says. – Sean Kelly
Runner-up, Best Local Theater Director: David Poole, Collective Face