“Willkommen! Bienvenue! Welcome!” …to 1930s Berlin. The mood is akin to dancing on a volcano; Berlin is partying on the edge of an abyss. Politically unstable and battered by the Great Depression, xenophobia and anti-Semitism are on the rise in Germany. The Nazis increase their political influence by adopting these latent tendencies. But in the years leading up to their takeover, people are partying like there’s no tomorrow. They succeed in putting reality on hold. “Leave your troubles outside! ... Here, life is beautiful…!” That’s what the emcee of the Kit Kat Club tells his audience every evening, where they’ve come to see the main attraction, the naïve and amoral singer Sally Bowles. This is where she meets the young American writer Cliff Bradshaw, who has come to Berlin to research a novel. He becomes involved with her. But the times do not seem right for the two to carry on a relationship. Though at first he flings himself with Sally into the hurly-burly of Berlin nightlife, he is gradually forced to watch as the Weimar Republic nears its demise, being eroded by the underground activities of the National Socialists, until finally he can no longer ignore the steadily worsening political situation around him. With the downfall of the Weimar Republic imminent, relations between Cliff and Sally break down as well. Cliff goes back to America; Sally decides to stay on in Germany, oblivious to a new social order in the making. Sally announces her life’s motto every evening at the Kit Kat Club: “Life is a cabaret.” Reality for her is merely a stage, and everything on it a game…
With their musical “Cabaret,” premiering on Broadway in 1966, composer John Kander, songwriter Fred Ebb and bookwriter Joe Masteroff achieved an international breakthrough. The musical was based on the play “I Am a Camera” by John van Druten, which in turn was based on the novels Mr. Norris Changes Trains (1935) and Goodbye to Berlin (1939) by British-American writer Christopher Isherwood. Isherwood lived in Berlin from 1929 to 1933 working as a language teacher, and captured his experiences in these two semi-autobiographical novels. Kander, Ebb and Masteroff cleverly combine show biz and politics, lending musical expression to the decadence of life in the waning years of the Weimar Republic.
shorttime changes in the evening’s cast possible due to illness and force majeure