“Willkommen,” sings the master of ceremonies at the opening of “Cabaret,” the classic Broadway musical, going on to say, “Happy to see you again.”

As the emcee of SFGN and the Mirror, happy, I am, to see you again; to introduce you to my favorite issue of the Mirror every year: our Fall Arts and Entertainment Guide.

Following hot summers and long vacations, the opening of the theatrical season in South Florida symbolizes the return of theater openings, new shows, and great revivals.

We are not just talking about the larger venues from South Beach to Palm Beach. Our little community of Wilton Manors hosts an array of smaller venues, where artists and actors get to display their talent.

As audiences, we turn our attention to the stage, and stars like the many who have been cast as the emcee in Cabaret, from Joel Grey to Alan Cumming, who made the cover of SFGN when he performed the show a few years ago at the Broward Center.

An iconic musical, Cabaret has held up for over a half-century, particularly adored by the LGBT community for its willingness to push the envelope at a time when many dared not to do so.

If you remember the plot, the play was set in 1929-30 Berlin during the waning days of the Weimar Republic as the Nazis were ascending to power.

The musical focuses on the hedonistic nightlife at a local nightclub, some even turning a blind eye to the terror about to unfold. No one can do that and survive without calamity.

As the theaters open their doors, we want you to celebrate the return of these joyful moments shared with your friends and family. Celebrate joyously with your friends, but cautiously.

SFGN wants you also not to forget however, that while we celebrate, here in the Fall of 2021, there are temporary mortuaries that have been set up next to emergency rooms in local hospitals. They are there because a new variant from the pandemic we are living under still looms over our heads. Don’t turn a blind eye to it.

Appreciate the artists and actors on stage, but forget not the orchestras and stagehands, along with the lighting and production technicians who provide the foundation for the shows. Theater is a collaborative enterprise, with only a few under the spotlight.

The pandemic that has invaded this planet and our lives will come to an end only with a collaborative effort as well.  From scientists in laboratories discovering new vaccines to nurses and doctors in hospitals rendering immediate and long-term care, we are dependent upon one another to survive.   

A culture war over masks is no cure. It is a cancer worse than the disease.

Frankly, I am worried that some productions from the east coast to the west coast will be marred by the type of madness we have seen in Walmart’s and Targets.  Our nation does not get along with each other, but indoor venues are opening, pushing us to close proximity with one another. Some people may wind up putting on a spontaneous show of their own, a production without melody or music. As a country, we are that divided.

When we applaud a cast at the end of a show though, we don’t ask each other’s political beliefs. We find a commonality that cheers a production that brought us together as friends. We smile at the person next to us.

Let’s try to keep it that way, respecting the rights and dignity of others. Mask when and where appropriate.

Let’s hope that Broadway and the theatrical arts lead the way again. Artists and entertainers come from so many walks and regions of life, but working together they create a powerful and unifying singular song of spirit and energy. The majesty of theater exudes a communal and insurmountable force of joy.

Let’s see if we can take the energy and electricity of the stage and bring it back to our own lives. Our country, our citizens and communities need a respite, a revival, and a resuscitation. We need a breather, not another battle. We need vaccinations, not vitriol. If we let it, maybe theater and its message and marvel, its magic and music, can help open that door for all of us.

Willkommen, then, again to this month’s issue of the Mirror. It’s our first production of the Fall season, populated with credible content and aesthetic design.

Enjoy the show we have created for you — miraculously, still free, thanks to the many good sponsors and generous advertisers who enable us to do this for you. Please support them as much as us. They are an integral part of this collaborative process. Thank you.

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