Cabaret (Revised 1987)

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Currently celebrating its 50th Anniversary!

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 Revised 1987 version includes “Don’t Go.”
  • Only the Original 1967 version includes “Why Should I Wake Up?” and “Meeskite.”
  • Only the 1998 version includes “Mein Herr” and “Maybe This Time.”
  • The 1967 and 1987 versions include “The Telephone Song” and “Sitting Pretty.” The 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 Jay Records, Alley Music Co. and Trio Music Co.

  • Synopsis
  • Credits
  • Orchestration
  • Rehearsal Materials
  • Cast List
  • Brief History
  • Upcoming
  • 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. The Emcee introduces a young English singer named Sally Bowles, who performs a provocative number called “Don’t Tell Mama.” Sally flirts and tries to shock Cliff. Intrigued, Cliff invites her home, but she refuses, explaining that her boyfriend Max, owner of the club, “is most terribly jealous.” The telephone on Cliff’s table rings; the guests at the Kit Kat Klub flirt with one another via an internal phone system (“The Telephone Song”).

    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”). In the Kit Kat Klub, a young waiter starts to sing a song—a patriotic anthem to the Fatherland that slowly descends into a darker, Nazi-inspired march (“Tomorrow Belongs to Me”).

    Months pass. Cliff is getting nowhere with his novel, but has grown accustomed to life with Sally (“Don’t Go”). Sally reveals that she is pregnant. After the initial shock, Cliff is excited by the prospect of fatherhood. Ernst arrives and offers Cliff a job smuggling a briefcase into Germany, and Cliff accepts. The Emcee comments on everyone’s need for cash (“The Money Song/Sitting Pretty”).

    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 welcomes the audience (“Willkommen”), but it is now harsh and violent. He sings, “Auf Wiedersehen…à bientôt…” followed by a crescendo drum roll and a cymbal crash.

  • CABARET
    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
    Broadway production directed by Harold Prince
    Produced for the Broadway Stage by Harold Prince

    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:

    CABARET
    is presented by arrangement with
    TAMS-WITMARK MUSIC LIBRARY, INC.
    560 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10022

  • Choose either Full Orchestration or Flexible Combo (Flexbo)

    Full Orchestration

    1 Reed I: Flute, Piccolo, Clarinet, Eb Clarinet (or Bb Clarinet), Soprano Saxophone & Alto Saxophone
    1 Reed II: Flute (or Clarinet), Piccolo (or Clarinet), Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone & Alto Saxophone
    1 Reed III: Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone & Tenor Saxophone
    1 Reed IV: Bassoon (or Bass Clarinet), Clarinet & Baritone Saxophone
    1 Reed V: Oboe & English Horn

    1 Horn
    2 Trumpet I & II (1st doubling Flugelhorn)
    1 Trombone I (Tenor, doubling Baritone or Euphonium)
    1 Trombone II (Bass)

    1 Percussion:

    Bass Drum, Snare Drum, 2 Tom-toms, Floor Tom, High Bongo, Hi-Hat, Suspended Cymbals (Small, Chinese, Top, Crash, Ride), Cowbell, 2 Wood Blocks, 2 Temple Blocks, Timpani (2 drums), Bells, Xylophone, Triangle, Ratchet, Bird Whistle & Siren Whistle

    1 Guitar/Banjo
    1 Synthesizer: Registrations for Accordion, Celeste, String Pad, Harp, Pipe Organ, Pedal Steel Guitar (with various pitch wheel settings) & optional Cash Register SFX
    1 Piano

    3 Violin I & II (3 stands)
    1 Viola (1 stand)
    1 Cello (1 stand)
    1 Bass

    1 Stage Band Tenor Saxophone [cued in Reed III part]
    1 Stage Band Trombone [cued in Trombone I part]
    1 Stage Band Piano (doubling Accordion) [cued in Piano and Synthesizer parts, respectively]
    1 Stage Band Percussion [cued in Percussion part]: Bass Drum, Snare Drum, Tom-tom, Hi-Hat, Suspended Cymbal, Cowbell & Wood Block

    Flexible Combo (Flexbo) Instrumentation

    The Flexbo is the best way to have the advantage of orchestral writing while using a smaller ensemble. The foundation of a Broadway orchestration is the rhythm section: Piano, Bass and Drums. The remainder of the orchestra — woodwinds, brass and strings — are the “melodic” parts added to provide richness, depth and tonal color. The number of players required for these added parts may be as few as nine and more often twenty to twenty-five. The four Flexbo parts, A, B, C and D, contain the essential musical lines heard from the “melodic” instruments in the full orchestration. While the best results will be achieved using all four Flexbo parts, they have been cued so that even fewer of them can be used.

    1 Flexbo A: Trumpet, doubling Flugelhorn
    1 Flexbo B: Alto Saxophone, Clarinet & optional Flute
    1 Flexbo C: Tenor Saxophone & Clarinet
    1 Flexbo D: Trombone with optional Bass trigger

    1 Percussion:

    Bass Drum, Snare Drum, 2 To-toms, Floor Tom, High Bongo, Hi-Hat, Suspended Cymbals (Small, Chinese, Top, Crash, Ride), Cowbell, 2 Wood Blocks, 2 Temple Blocks, Timpani (2 drums), Bells, Xylophone, Triangle, Ratchet, Bird Whistle & Siren Whistle

    1 Guitar/Banjo
    1 Synthesizer: Registrations for Accordion, Celeste, String Pad, Harp, Pipe Organ, Pedal Steel Guitar (with various pitch wheel settings) & optional Cash Register SFX
    1 Piano (playing from the Piano-Conductor’s Score)
    1 Bass

    The Flexbo arrangement has been designed to sound complete when played by Piano only, or with the addition of one to eight players. The Piano is essential and must use the Piano-Conductor’s Score.

    Parts A, B, C and D must be added in alphabetical order. (Part B may not be used without Part A, etc.)

    The rhythm section players may be added to the Piano in any sequence, although Bass and one Percussion (on trap set) are more valuable than the three remaining parts: the Guitar, the Synthesizer and the second Percussion (on mallet instruments).

    All Stage Band music is included in the following parts:

    Stage Band Tenor Saxophone [cued in Flexbo B]
    Stage Band Trombone [cued in Flexbo A]
    Stage Band Piano (doubling Accordion): Piano-Conductor’s Score [Accordion also cued in Synthesizer part]
    Stage Band Percussion [cued in Percussion part]

  • 1      Piano Conductor’s Score
    1      Prompt Book – For the director
    14    Prompt Books – For the cast
    30    Chorus-Vocal Parts

  • Principals

    (3 female; 3 male)

    *Master of Ceremonies (Emcee) — the host at the Kit Kat Klub
    *Clifford Bradshaw — an American novelist
    *Fräulein Schneider — a landlady who rents rooms in her large flat
    *Herr Schultz — one of Frl. Schneider’s roomers and the proprietor of a fruit shop
    *Fräulein Kost — another of Frl. Schneider’s roomers. Earns a living by offering favors to sailors
    *Sally Bowles — a British cabaret singer at the Kit Kat Klub

    *six principal singing roles

    Ensemble

    Ernst Ludwig — a friendly and likeable German
    Telephone Girl — also Lady #1 in No. 8 “Two Ladies” and Klub Girl #1 in No. 6 “Telephone Dance”
    Customs Officer — also Maitre D’ at the Kit Kat Klub
    Two Ladies — #1 also Telephone Girl in No. 4 “Telephone Song”;
    #2 also Klub Girl #4 in No. 6 “Telephone Dance”
    Maitre D‘ — also Customs Officer
    Max — Sally’s jealous Klub acquaintance. Non-speaking ensemble dancer
    Kissing Couple — He: also Second Sailor. She: also Lady #2 in “Two Ladies”
    3 German Sailors — ensemble dancers. Second and Third Sailors are non-speaking
    Second Sailor is also Kissing Man in No. 6 “Telephone Dance”
    5 Kit Kat Klub Girls — ensemble singers. Girl #4 is also Lady #2 in “Two Ladies”
    5 Klub Waiters — ensemble singers
    Bobby — ensemble dancer
    Victor — ensemble dancer
    Assistant Customs Officer — non-speaking
    Taxi Man — non-speaking
    Gorilla — non-speaking
    2 Nazi Guards — non-speaking
    Girl Orchestra (Stage Band) — tenor saxophone, trombone, drums and piano/accordion

    Ensemble: Company SATB singers and dancers, Klub Patrons and Fruit Shop Guests.

    The original Broadway production had a cast of 27 performers, including chorus. 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.

    Awards (1967)

    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

    Awards (1998)

    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.

    Search for performances near you
    Organization City, State First Performance Last Performance
    Evenpro MIAMI, FL 11/01/2017 11/30/2017
    Harvard-Westlake School NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA 11/02/2017 11/05/2017
    Loveland Stage Company LOVELAND, OH 11/03/2017 11/18/2017
    Grand Valley State University ALLENDALE, MI 11/16/2017 12/03/2017
    Davies High School FARGO, ND 11/16/2017 11/19/2017
    Middlebury College MIDDLEBURY, VT 01/26/2018 01/29/2018
    Brazosport Center Stages CLUTE, TX 02/02/2018 02/11/2018
    University of South Dakota VERMILLION, SD 04/12/2018 04/22/2018
    St. Ambrose University DAVENPORT, IA 04/20/2018 04/22/2018