Cabaret (Revised 1987)


The scene is a night club in Berlin, as the 1920’s 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. His songs provide wry commentary throughout the show. On the train to Berlin we find Cliff, a young American writer, and Ernst, a German who surprises Cliff by putting his briefcase among Cliff’s luggage at the German border. History is in the process of being made. Musical numbers include It Couldn’t Please Me More, Willkommen, Cabaret, Don’t Go, The Money Song and Two Ladies. We find Cliff on the train again, now leaving Berlin alone. He writes about Sally and the people of Berlin leading up to the Third Reich. It has been a tumultuous and heartbreaking era.

*Music samples courtesy of Jay Records, Alley Music Co. and Trio Music Co.

  • Synopsis
  • Credits
  • Orchestration
  • Rehearsal Materials
  • Cast List
  • Brief History
  • Upcoming
  • 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
    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:

    is presented by arrangement with
    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


    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 played for 1165 performances on Broadway at the Broadhurst, Imperial and Broadway Theatres and for 336 performances in London at the Palace Theatre. It was revised for Broadway, first in 1987, when it played for 261 performances at the Imperial and Minskoff Theatres, and most recently in 1998 at Studio 54, where it played for 2,377 performances.

  • Find upcoming performances near you.

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    Organization City, State First Performance Last Performance
    Monmouth Regional High School TINTON FALLS, NJ 03/09/2017 03/11/2017
    Chanticleer Community Theatre COUNCIL BLUFFS, IA 03/31/2017 04/09/2017
    Rice Players HOUSTON, TX 04/08/2017 04/16/2017
    Feather River College QUINCY, CA 05/04/2017 05/14/2017
    Little Theatre of Wilkes Barre WILKES-BARRE, PA 09/08/2017 09/24/2017
    Evenpro MIAMI, FL 11/01/2017 11/30/2017