Play the Songs
In a Berlin nightclub, as the 1920’s draw to a close, a garish Master of Ceremonies welcomes the audience and assures them they will forget all their troubles at the CABARET. With the Emcee’s bawdy songs as wry commentary, CABARET explores the dark, heady, and tumultuous life of Berlin’s natives and expatriates as Germany slowly yields to the emerging Third Reich. Cliff, a young American writer newly arrived in Berlin, is immediately taken by English singer Sally Bowles. Meanwhile, Fräulein Schneider, proprietor of Cliff and Sally’s boardinghouse, tentatively begins a romance with Herr Schultz, a mild-mannered fruit seller who happens to be Jewish. Musical numbers include “Willkommen,” “Cabaret,” “Don’t Tell Mama” and “Two Ladies.”
NOTE: Three Broadway versions of this show (1967,1987, and 1998) are available for licensing. Though all three follow the same story and share most songs, there are some differences in the script and score for each:
- Only this 1998 version includes “Mein Herr” and “Maybe This Time.”
- Only the Original 1967 version includes “Why Should I Wake Up?” and “Meeskite.”
- Only the Revised 1987 version includes “Don’t Go.”
- The 1967 and 1987 versions include “The Telephone Song” and “Sitting Pretty.” This 1998 version does not.
- The 1987 and 1998 versions include “The Money Song” and “I Don’t Care Much.” The Original 1967 version does not.
- In the 1967 version, Herr Schultz is a tenor. In the 1987 and 1998 versions, he is a baritone.
- The three versions differ in their treatment of the character of Cliff: In the Original 1967 version, there is no suggestion that he may be gay or bisexual. In the Revised 1987 version his bisexuality is implied, and in the 1998 version, he is clearly gay or bisexual.
All three versions include “Willkommen,” “So What,” “Don’t Tell Mama,” “Perfectly Marvelous,” “Two Ladies,” “It Couldn’t Please Me More (The Pineapple Song),” “Tomorrow Belongs to Me,” “Married,” “If You Could See Her” and “Cabaret.”
Music samples courtesy of Masterworks Broadway, Alley Music Co. and Trio Music Co.
- Rehearsal Materials
- Cast List
- Brief History
Germany, New Year’s Eve, 1929: The Master of Ceremonies, or Emcee, welcomes the audience to the Kit Kat Club, a seedy Berlin nightspot (“Willkommen”).
Meanwhile, in a railway car, an aspiring young American writer named Clifford Bradshaw heads towards Berlin in hopes of finding inspiration for a new novel. Cliff meets Ernst Ludwig, a German who appears to be in the smuggling business. When Cliff inadvertently helps him, Ernst recommends a boarding house in Berlin. Fräulein Schneider, the proprietress of the boarding house, offers Cliff a room for one hundred marks. When he hesitates, she accepts half the usual price; years of oppression have left her weary but pragmatic (“So What?).
On his first night in Berlin, Cliff visits the Kit Kat Klub, where the Emcee introduces a young English singer named Sally Bowles (“Don’t Tell Mama”). After Sally’s number, Max, the proprietor of the club, fires her; he says it’s “time for a new face.” When Cliff comes backstage, Sally flirts and attempts to shock him. Sally leaves Cliff alone in her dressing room, and a young man named Bobby enters. As Cliff and Bobby kiss, Sally sings her final number at the club (“Mein Herr”).
The next day, as Cliff finishes teaching an English lesson to Ernst, Sally suddenly appears in Cliff’s room with her baggage. Max has thrown her out, and she convinces Cliff (and Fräulein Schneider) to let her move in (“Perfectly Marvelous”). The Emcee and two companions sing a bawdy number about cohabitation (“Two Ladies”).
Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit seller, woos Fräulein Schneider with the gift of a costly pineapple (“It Couldn’t Please Me More”). On a small gramophone, the Emcee plays a recording of a young boy singing a patriotic anthem to the Fatherland (“Tomorrow Belongs to Me”).
Months pass. Cliff is getting nowhere with his novel, but has grown accustomed to life with Sally. Sally reveals that she is pregnant. After the initial shock, Cliff is excited by the prospect of fatherhood, and Sally allows herself to hope (“Maybe This Time”). Ernst arrives and offers Cliff a job smuggling a briefcase into Germany, and Cliff accepts. The Emcee comments on everyone’s need for cash (“Money”).
Meanwhile, Fräulein Schneider has caught one of her boarders, Fräulein Kost, soliciting sailors in her room. Fräulein Kost notes Fräulein Schneider’s hypocrisy; she has seen Herr Schultz spend the night in Fräulein Schneider’s room. To save Fräulein Schneider’s reputation, Herr Schultz declares they are engaged to be wed in three weeks (“Married”).
At the engagement party, Cliff hands Ernst the smuggled suitcase in exchange for an envelope full of cash. Ernst removes his coat, revealing a swastika armband. Realizing that Herr Schultz is Jewish, Ernst goes to leave, but Fräulein Kost stops him, singing “Tomorrow Belongs To Me.” As Cliff, Sally, Herr Schultz and Fräulein Schneider look on, the entire ensemble joins in singing the Nazi anthem.
The second act begins with the Kit Kat Girls and the Emcee, in drag, dancing in a kick-line that morphs into a goosestep. Fräulein Schneider expresses her concerns about marrying Herr Schultz, but he assuages her fears (“Married” Reprise). But their moment of reconciliation is interrupted by the crash of a brick thrown through the window of Herr Schultz’s shop. At the Kit Kat Klub, the Emcee performs a duet with a female gorilla, explaining that society will not accept their love (“If You Could See Her”).
Fräulein Schultz breaks off her engagement to Herr Schultz (“What Would You Do?”). Cliff decides to take Sally back to America where they can raise the baby together. Sally protests, declaring how wonderful their life in Berlin is, and Cliff sharply tells her to “wake up” and take notice of the growing unrest around them. As the Emcee sings a rueful ballad (“I Don’t Care Much”), Cliff and Sally brutally waken each other to the truth. At the Kit Kat Klub, Cliff and Ernst argue, and Ernst’s Nazi bodyguards beat Cliff and drag him out. On stage, the Emcee introduces Sally, who enters to perform again, singing that “life is a cabaret, old chum,” cementing her decision to live in carefree ignorance (“Cabaret”).
The next morning, as Cliff is packing to leave, Herr Schultz explains that he is moving to another boardinghouse, confident that the bad times will soon pass. He understands the German people, he says, because he is a German too. When Sally returns, she reveals that she’s had an abortion; Cliff slaps her. As Cliff leaves, Sally asks him to dedicate his novel to her. On the train to Paris, Cliff begins to write his novel, reflecting on his experiences: “There was a cabaret, and there was a master of ceremonies, and there was a city called Berlin, in a country called Germany… and it was the end of the world.” (“Willkommen” Reprise).
In the Kit Kat Klub, the Emcee again welcomes the audience (“Willkommen”), but he is now harsh and violent. The set disappears, leaving only white space. The Emcee sings, “Auf Wiedersehen… à bientôt…” and slowly removes his coat, revealing the clothes of a concentration camp prisoner. There is a drum roll and cymbal crash. Blackout.
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 — for the Director
16 Chorus-Vocal Parts
14 Prompt Books for the Cast
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.
CABARET opened on Broadway on November 20, 1966, and played for 1,165 performances at the Broadhurst, Imperial, and Broadway Theatres. The London production ran for 336 performances at the Palace Theatre. The show was revised for Broadway, first in 1987, when it played for 261 performances at the Imperial and Minskoff Theatres, and again in 1998 at Studio 54, where it played for 2,377 performances. In 2014, CABARET returned to Broadway at Studio 54, playing an additional 388 performances.
8 Tony Awards for Musical, Composer and Lyricist, Director, Choreographer, Scenic Design, Costume Design, Featured Actor and Featured Actress
The Outer Critics Circle Award for Production
The New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical
4 Tony Awards for Revival, Actor, Actress, and Featured Actor
3 Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Revival, Actor and Actress
3 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Revival, Actor and Actress
Find upcoming performances near you.
Organization City, State First Performance Last Performance No Stakes Theater Project CHICAGO, IL 04/20/2017 05/06/2017 Harrington Arts Alliance LOVELAND, CO 04/21/2017 04/30/2017 Liberty High School KISSIMMEE, FL 04/22/2017 05/07/2017 Magee Secondary School VANCOUVER, BC 04/27/2017 05/05/2017 Coronado High School CORONADO, CA 04/28/2017 05/06/2017 Towson University TOWSON, MD 05/04/2017 05/13/2017 Harvard University CAMBRIDGE, MA 05/04/2017 05/07/2017 Theatre At The Center Inc. MUNSTER, IN 05/04/2017 06/04/2017 Comtra Cultural Center CRANBERRY TWP, PA 05/05/2017 05/20/2017 The Knox School ST. JAMES, NY 05/05/2017 05/06/2017 Pacifica Spindrift Players PACIFICA, CA 05/05/2017 05/28/2017 Gavilan Community College GILROY, CA 05/05/2017 05/20/2017 Actors Cabaret of Eugene EUGENE, OR 05/05/2017 06/03/2017 New Dorp High School STATEN ISLAND, NY 05/11/2017 05/12/2017 Grace Church High School NEW YORK, NY 05/12/2017 05/13/2017 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 The Ziegfeld Theater OGDEN, UT 06/02/2017 06/24/2017 Osceola Arts KISSIMMEE, FL 06/17/2017 07/03/2017 Highlands Playhouse HIGHLANDS, NC 06/22/2017 07/08/2017 Hipp Stage Productions MARIETTA, OH 06/23/2017 07/02/2017 Wimberley Playhouse WIMBERLEY, TX 07/06/2017 07/30/2017 Haylofters, Inc. BURLINGTON, WI 07/13/2017 07/30/2017 Flynn Center For The Perf. Arts BURLINGTON, VT 07/20/2017 07/23/2017 Merlin Players OWATONNA, MN 07/28/2017 08/06/2017 Serenbe Playhouse CHATTAHOOCHEE HILLS, GA 08/03/2017 09/03/2017 Lakeside Community Theatre THE COLONY, TX 08/04/2017 08/26/2017 Stoneham Theatre Young Company STONEHAM, MA 08/18/2017 08/20/2017 Arden Theatre PHILADELPHIA, PA 09/21/2017 10/22/2017 Cincinnati Landmark Productions Covedale CINCINNATI, OH 09/28/2017 10/15/2017 Shenandoah University WINCHESTER, VA 09/29/2017 10/01/2017 John Carroll University UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, OH 11/03/2017 11/12/2017 Oconomowoc Sr. High School OCONOMOWOC, WI 11/11/2017 11/18/2017 Custom Made Theatre Company SAN FRANCISCO, CA 01/11/2018 02/17/2018 Paramount Theatre AURORA, IL 02/07/2018 03/18/2018 Baton Rouge Little Theater BATON ROUGE, LA 03/09/2018 03/25/2018 Florida Repertory Theatre FORT MYERS, FL 03/20/2018 04/15/2018 West Virginia Wesleyan College BUCKHANNON, WV 03/22/2018 03/24/2018 Xavier University CINCINNATI, OH 04/13/2018 04/15/2018 River Raisin Center for the Arts MONROE, MI 04/27/2018 05/06/2018