Play the Songs
The scene is the Kit Kat Klub, a night club in Berlin, as the 1920s are drawing to a close. The Master of Ceremonies welcomes the audience to the show and assures them that, whatever their troubles, they will forget them at the Cabaret. The entire orchestra is onstage, and the actors play along with it when they are not part of the dialogue. Cliff, a young American writer, meets Ernst, a German who surprises Cliff by putting his briefcase among Cliff’s luggage at the German border. Musical numbers include Willkommen, Cabaret, Mein Herr, Maybe This Time, The Money Song and Two Ladies. When we revisit the Klub at the end, much is changed, and show ends with a stark foreshadowing of things to come: The Emcee strips off his overcoat to reveal a concentration camp prisoner’s uniform marked with a yellow Star of David and a pink triangle, and the backdrop rises to reveal an electric barbed-wire fence.
*Music samples courtesy of Masterworks Broadway, Alley Music Co. and Trio Music Co.
- Rehearsal Materials
- Cast List
- Brief History
Welcome to the Cabaret sings the Emcee of the Kit Kat Club through painted lips, as the people of Berlin 1929 join him. Three Broadway versions of this show (1967, 1987, 1998) follow the same story and share most songs. Musical numbers exclusively in the Original 1967 version include Meeskite and Why Should I Wake Up? Numbers only in the Revised 1987 version include I Don’t Care Much, Don’t Go and The Money Song. All three versions include Willkommen, Perfectly Marvelous, Tomorrow Belongs to Me, Cabaret, Don’t Tell Mama, It Couldn’t Please Me More and Two Ladies.
Heading for Berlin in a railway compartment is Clifford Bradshaw, a young impoverished American writer who has been roaming Europe in an increasingly frantic search for the inspiration for novel number two. He is joined by Ernst Ludwig, an attractive young Berliner who appears to be in the smuggling business. When Cliff inadvertently helps him, Ernst gratefully gives him the name of a likely rooming-house in Berlin.
It is Fraulein Schneider’s house. She rents Cliff a room for half its usual price. She shrugs her shoulders. She’s lived through so much-nothing is that important-So What?
Cliff takes out his typewriter. But it’s New Year’s Eve. Ernst has mentioned a cabaret called the Kit Kat Klub. At the moment it seems much more inviting than the typewriter.
The Kit Kat Klub is a cross-section of Berlin night-life: thronged with fat, middle-class Germans-prostitutes-homosexuals-the flotsam and jetsam of a doomed city.
As Cliff enters the Emcee introduces Sally Bowles, a young English girl. As Sally sings Don’t Tell Mama, it becomes apparent that her voice is not the main reason for her employment. Max, the club owner, keeps looking at her in a proprietary fashion. But Sally is looking at Cliff.
Sally arranges to meet Cliff. He invites her home, but she refuses-explaining that “Max is most terribly jealous.”
The next day Sally suddenly appears in Cliff’s room with her baggage. Max has thrown her out. Can she stay with Cliff? Cliff finally agrees-Perfectly Marvelous.
The Emcee and two frauleins indicate that everybody in Berlin lives with somebody-Two Ladies.
Fraulein Schneider is being courted by Herr Schultz, a widower who lives in her house. He is Jewish and the owner of a fruit shop, from which he brings her a costly pineapple-It Couldn’t Please Me More.
Months pass. Cliff is getting nowhere with his novel-but enjoying life with Sally-Why Should I Wake Up? But Sally is pregnant. Cliff is upset-then happy. Ernst arrives to offer him a job smuggling a briefcase into Germany. Needing the money, Cliff accepts.
Everyone in Berlin earns money in strange, illegal ways-the Emcee announces in The Money Song.
Fraulein Kost, a prostitute, discovers that her landlady, Fraulein Schneider, is having an affair with Herr Schultz. Herr Schultz announces they are to be married in three weeks-Married. Sally arranges an engagement party at the fruit shop.
Cliff arrives at the party with the smuggled suitcase. He hesitantly gives it to Ernst, who wears a swastika arm-band. Herr Schultz, rather drunk, sings a Yiddish-type song, Meeskite. Ernst decides to leave, but Fraulein Kost lures him back by singing a Nazi song Tomorrow Belongs to Me. When all the guests join in exultantly, the party suddenly turns sour.
The Emcee and Kit Kat Girls do a Rockette routine which turns into a goose-step.
Fraulein Schneider breaks her engagement to Herr Schultz. She is afraid the Nazis will come to power-What Would You Do?
The Emcee echoes her predicament. He’s in love with a female gorilla-If You Could See Her.
Cliff decides to take Sally home to America. Berlin is not going to be any place to raise a family. But Sally refuses. She loves Berlin and her life there-Cabaret.
They have a savage argument. Sally disappears-returning the next day. She’s had an abortion. Heartbroken, Cliff prepares to leave alone-secretly hoping she will join him in Paris. But Sally informs him she’s always hated Paris. Cliff sadly closes the door behind him.
In the train Cliff begins to write about Sally and the people of Berlin as, in his memory, they surround the compartment-singing, dancing, living on the toboggan that led to the Third Reich.
Book by Joe Masteroff
Based on the play by John Van Druten and Stories by Christopher Isherwood
Music by John Kander
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
1 Reed I (Clarinet, Alto Saxophone & optional Clarinet in A)
1 Reed II (Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone)
1 Synthesizer (primarily Accordion)
1 Guitar/Banjo (primarily Banjo)
Piano (Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material [2 volumes])
Optional Orchestra Parts
(played by actors, if possible, for certain numbers only)
1 Alto Saxophone
1 Tenor Saxophone & Clarinet
1 Trumpet II
1 Piano Conductor’s Score (Two Volume Set)
1 Prompt Book
32 Chorus-Vocal Parts
17 Prompt Books
Master of Ceremonies (EMCEE)
Kit Kat Girls:
This revival of CABARET opened on Broadway at the Kit Kat Klub, March 19, 1998. It soon moved to Studio 54 and played for a total of 2,377 performances starring Alan Cumming as the Master of Ceremonies and Natasha Richardson as Sally Bowles.
Find upcoming performances near you.
Organization City, State First Performance Last Performance The Welk Group ESCONDIDO, CA 05/01/2015 07/26/2015 Oregon Cabaret Theatre ASHLAND, OR 05/28/2015 08/30/2015 Theatre Aspen ASPEN, CO 06/24/2015 08/14/2015 Mason Street Warehouse SAUGATUCK, MI 06/26/2015 07/12/2015 Oldcastle Theatre Company BENNINGTON, VT 07/10/2015 08/02/2015 Encore Theatrical Company MORRISTOWN, TN 07/11/2015 07/26/2015 StageWorks Toronto TORONTO, ON 07/16/2015 07/22/2015 Lakeland Community Theatre, Inc. LAKELAND, FL 07/17/2015 07/26/2015 Live Arts Theatre BUFORD, GA 07/17/2015 07/26/2015 New Jersey Youth Theatre WESTFIELD, NJ 07/17/2015 08/09/2015 Southside Theatre Guild Inc. FAIRBURN, GA 07/23/2015 08/09/2015 Grand Opera House DUBUQUE, IA 07/24/2015 08/02/2015 Showtimers of Roanoke Valley, Inc ROANOKE, VA 07/30/2015 08/16/2015 The Theatre Lab School of the Dram Arts WASHINGTON, DC 08/06/2015 08/08/2015 Numerica Performing Arts Center WENATCHEE, WA 08/06/2015 08/22/2015 Young Starrs Theater Company AMBLER, PA 08/07/2015 08/09/2015 Center Stage Productions ASTON, PA 08/13/2015 08/16/2015 Relever Academy of Performing Arts BURLINGTON, ON 08/14/2015 08/16/2015 JP Studios SAN ANTONIO, TX 08/22/2015 09/20/2015 Springfield Municipal Opera SPRINGFIELD, IL 09/04/2015 09/19/2015 Rogers Little Theatre ROGERS, AR 09/11/2015 09/27/2015 Pittsford Musicals, Inc. PITTSFORD, NY 10/10/2015 10/17/2015 Music Theatre Fargo-Moorhead FARGO, ND 10/15/2015 10/25/2015 University Of Arizona TUCSON, AZ 10/18/2015 11/08/2015 St. Marys Community Players ST. MARYS, ON 10/21/2015 11/01/2015 Merrimack College N. ANDOVER, MA 10/22/2015 10/31/2015 Saskatoon Summer Players SASKATOON, SK 11/06/2015 11/10/2015 Drury University SPRINGFIELD, MO 11/11/2015 11/14/2015 American Heritage High School DELRAY BEACH, FL 11/13/2015 11/21/2015 Capital University COLUMBUS, OH 11/19/2015 11/22/2015 Valley Stream Central High School VALLEY STREAM, NY 11/20/2015 11/21/2015 Horace Mann School NEW YORK, NY 12/03/2015 12/05/2015 Teen City Stage CHARLOTTE, NC 01/08/2016 01/09/2016 Monmouth Community Players MONMOUTH, ME 01/15/2016 01/24/2016 Fairfax Academy FAIRFAX, VA 01/29/2016 02/07/2016 Western Oregon University MONMOUTH, OR 02/25/2016 03/05/2016 Ohnward Fine Arts Center MAQUOKETA, IA 02/26/2016 02/28/2016 Capilano University NORTH VANCOUVER, BC 03/17/2016 03/26/2016 Waterloo Community Playhouse WATERLOO, IA 04/01/2016 04/08/2016 Smithtown Performing Arts Council, Inc. SMITHTOWN, NY 04/09/2016 05/22/2016 Players Guild Of Hamilton HAMILTON, ON 04/22/2016 05/07/2016 Texas Tech University LUBBOCK, TX 04/28/2016 05/08/2016 Longmont Theatre Company LONGMONT, CO 05/06/2016 05/21/2016