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
Co-directed and Choreographed by Rob Marshall
Directed by Sam Mendes
Such credits to the authors for all purposes shall be in type size equal to or greater than that of any other credits except for that of the star(s) above the title. In the programs, the credits shall appear on the title page thereof.
The title page of the program shall contain the following announcement in type size at least one-half the size of the authors’ credits:
is presented by arrangement with
TAMS-WITMARK MUSIC LIBRARY, INC.
560 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10022
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
16 Chorus-Vocal Parts
14 Prompt Books
Master of Ceremonies (Emcee)
Customs Official (doubles as Herman, non-speaking; and Max, speaking)
Fräulein Kost (doubles as Fritz, non-speaking)
Rudy (a sailor, non-speaking; doubles as Hans, also non-speaking)
Max (doubles as Herman, non-speaking, and Customs Official, speaking)
Gorilla (non-speaking, doubles as French, also non-speaking)
Boy Soprano (pre-recorded, non-speaking)
The Kit Kat Girls:
Frenchie (non-speaking, doubles as Gorilla, also non-speaking)
Fritzie (non-speaking, doubles as Fräulein Kost, who speaks)
The Kit Kat Boys:
Hans (non-speaking, doubles as Rudy, a sailor, also non-speaking)
Herman (non-speaking, doubles as Customs Official and Max, both speaking)
The 1998 Broadway production had a cast of 16 performers, plus pre-recorded Boy Soprano voice. Some doubling was employed in the minor parts, as outlined above.
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.
The show was mounted at Studio 54 again in 2014 and played for 388 performances starring Alan Cumming As Emcee and Michelle Williams as Sally Bowles.
Find upcoming performances near you.
Organization City, State First Performance Last Performance Tribe Productions SAN FRANCISCO, CA 01/05/2017 01/15/2017 Tribble School of Performing Arts HOUSTON, TX 01/05/2017 01/08/2017 St. Paul Conservatory for Perf. Artists ST. PAUL, MN 01/20/2017 01/22/2017 Wilmington Drama League WILMINGTON, DE 01/27/2017 02/05/2017 University of Texas at El Paso EL PASO, TX 01/27/2017 02/12/2017 Purdue University WEST LAFAYETTE, IN 02/16/2017 02/26/2017 FUSE Productions STATE COLLEGE, PA 02/16/2017 02/18/2017 Brooks School NORTH ANDOVER, MA 02/16/2017 02/18/2017 Stage 212 LASALLE, IL 02/17/2017 02/26/2017 Marist College Theatre POUGHKEEPSIE, NY 02/22/2017 02/26/2017 Roosevelt University CHICAGO, IL 02/23/2017 02/26/2017 Bear Creek High School LAKEWOOD, CO 03/02/2017 03/04/2017 Marathon Community Theatre, Inc. MARATHON, FL 03/09/2017 04/08/2017 Cutting Edge Theatre Company TOLEDO, OH 03/11/2017 03/13/2017 University of Colorado COLORADO SPRINGS, CO 03/16/2017 03/26/2017 University Of Saskatchewan SASKATOON, SK 03/22/2017 04/01/2017 Solano College FAIRFIELD, CA 03/23/2017 04/08/2017 Sul Ross State University ALPINE, TX 03/25/2017 04/09/2017 Salisbury University SALISBURY, MD 03/30/2017 04/09/2017 Stage M BIG RAPIDS, MI 03/30/2017 04/02/2017 Players Guild of Canton CANTON, OH 03/31/2017 04/15/2017 Westminster College NEW WILMINGTON, PA 04/06/2017 04/09/2017 San Dimas High School SAN DIMAS, CA 04/19/2017 04/22/2017 No Stakes Theater Project CHICAGO, IL 04/20/2017 05/06/2017 Harrington Arts Alliance LOVELAND, CO 04/21/2017 04/30/2017 Coronado High School CORONADO, CA 04/28/2017 04/30/2017 California State University East Bay HAYWARD, CA 05/03/2017 05/11/2017 Theatre At The Center Inc. MUNSTER, IN 05/04/2017 06/04/2017 Towson University TOWSON, MD 05/04/2017 05/13/2017 Gavilan Community College GILROY, CA 05/05/2017 05/20/2017 Actors Cabaret of Eugene EUGENE, OR 05/05/2017 06/03/2017 Pacifica Spindrift Players PACIFICA, CA 05/05/2017 05/28/2017 North Fork Community Theatre MATTITUCK, NY 05/18/2017 06/04/2017 Miners Alley Playhouse GOLDEN, CO 05/19/2017 06/25/2017 Celebration Theatre LOS ANGELES, CA 05/19/2017 07/16/2017 Whitefish Theatre Company WHITEFISH, MT 06/01/2017 06/11/2017 Osceola Arts KISSIMMEE, FL 06/17/2017 06/26/2017 Highlands Playhouse HIGHLANDS, NC 06/22/2017 07/08/2017 Hipp Stage Productions MARIETTA, OH 06/23/2017 07/02/2017 Wimberley Players WIMBERLEY, TX 07/06/2017 07/30/2017 Merlin Players OWATONNA, MN 07/28/2017 08/06/2017 Duluth Playhouse, Inc. DULUTH, MN 08/03/2017 08/19/2017 Serenbe Playhouse CHATTAHOOCHEE HILLS, GA 08/03/2017 09/03/2017