Cabaret (Original 1966)

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Cabaret (Original 1966)

Joe Masteroff, John Van Druten, Christopher Isherwood, John Kander, Fred Ebb

Full Length Musical, Drama  /  4f, 3m

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

Daring, provocative and exuberantly entertaining, Cabaret explores the dark and heady life of Bohemian Berlin as Germany slowly yields to the emerging Third Reich.

Photo: Joan Marcus

Cabaret (Original 1966)
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OVERVIEW

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    4f, 3m
  • Duration
    Duration
    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Subgenre
    Adaptations (Literature), Period, Docudrama/Historic
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13)
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)
Accolades
Accolades
  • Winner! Eight 1967 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Composer/Lyricist
    Winner! The 1967 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Production
    Winner! The 1967 New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical
    Winner! Four 1998 Tony Awards for Revival, Actor, Actress, and Featured Actor
    Winner! Three 1998 Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Revival, Actor and Actress
    Winner!Three 1998 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Revival, Actor and Actress
    Nominee: Two 2014 Tony Awards, for Featured Actor and Actress

Description
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 with English singer Sally Bowles. Meanwhile, Fräulein Schneider, proprietor of Cliff and Sally's boarding house, 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 (1966, 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 Original 1966 version includes “Why Should I Wake Up?” and “Meeskite.”
  • Only the Revised 1987 version includes “Don’t Go.”
  • Only the 1998 version includes “Mein Herr” and “Maybe This Time.”
  • The 1966 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.” This Original 1966 version does not.
  • The three versions differ in their treatment of the character of Cliff: In the Original 1966 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.”
History
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.

Act I

Germany, New Year's Eve, 1929: The Master of Ceremonies, or Emcee, welcomes the audience to the Kit Kat Klub, 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 enjoying life with Sally (“Why Should I Wake Up?”) 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 (“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 arrives with the suitcase he smuggled for Ernst. Ernst arrives, wearing a swastika armband. With hesitation, Cliff hands off the suitcase and accepts payment. Herr Schultz, enjoying his party, gets a bit tipsy and sings a self-deprecating Yiddish song, “Meeskite.” Ernst decides to leave, but Fräulein Kost lures him back by singing “Tomorrow Belongs To Me.” As Cliff, Sally, Herr Schultz and Fräulein Schneider look on, the entire ensemble joins in singing the Nazi anthem.

Act II

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). 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. At the Kit Kat Klub, after another heated argument with Sally, 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. Sally asks Cliff to dedicate his novel to her, and he leaves, heartbroken.

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 drum roll and cymbal crash.

Considerations

Performing Groups
  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups
  • Youth/Camp Programs
Cautions
  • Alcohol
  • Mild Adult Themes
  • Smoking

Licence details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.
    Performance rights for this title are currently withdrawn.

Specifics

Details

  • Time Period: 1930s
  • Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: The Kit Kat Klub, a seedy nightclub in Berlin. New Year's Eve, 1929.
  • Additional Features: Not Applicable
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Casting

4f, 3m
Cast Attributes
  • Drag performance
  • Expandable casting
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
  • Role(s) for Trans Actor(s)
  • Role(s) for Non-Binary Actor(s)
Principals
(3 female; 4 male)

Sally Bowles
Fraulein Schneider
Fraulein Kost

Master of Ceremonies (Emcee)
Clifford Bradshaw
Herr Schultz
Ernst Ludwig

Supporting
Customs Officer
Telephone Girl
Girl Orchestra
Two Ladies
Maître d’
Max
Bartender
German Sailors
Frau Wendel
Herr Wendel
Frau Kruger
Herr Erdmann

Kit Kat Girls/Boys:
Maria
Lulu
Rosie
Fritzie
Texas
Frenchie
Bobby
Victor
Greta
Felix

Music

  • Musical Style: Classic Broadway
  • Dance Requirements: Easy
  • Vocal Demands: Difficult
  • Orchestra Size: Large
  • Chorus Size: Large

Act I

1. “Willkommen” – M.C. & Chorus
2. “Welcome To Berlin” – M.C.
3. “So What?” – Fraulein Schneider
4. “Telephone Song” – Telephone Girl
5. “Don’t Tell Mama” – Sally & Girls
5a.  Don’t Tell Mama – Stage Band
6. “Telephone Dance” – Cliff & Chorus
6a. Telephone Crossover – Orchestra
7. “Perfectly Marvelous” – Sally & Cliff
8. “Two Ladies” – M.C. & Two Girls
9. “It Couldn’t Please Me More” – Schneider &Schultz
10. “Tomorrow Belongs To Me” – M.C. & Two Girls
11. Change of Scene – Orchestra
12. “Why Should I Wake Up?” – Cliff
13. “Sitting Pretty” – M.C. & Girls
14. Incidental – Orchestra
15. “Married” – Schneider & Schultz
15a. End of Scene 12 – Orchestra
15b. Opening Scene 13 – Stage Band
16. Fruit Shop Dance – Orchestra
16a. The Scene Continues: Incidental – Stage Band
17. “Meeskite” – Schultz & Sally
18. Reprise: “Tomorrow Belongs To Me” – Kost, Ernst, & Chorus

Act II

19. Entr’acte – Stage Band
20. Kick Line No. 1 – Orchestra
20a. Kick Line No. 2 – Orchestra
21. Reprise: “Married” – Schultz
22. “If You Could See Her” – M.C.
23. Incidental & Underscore – Orchestra
24. “What Would You Do?” – Schneider
25. Sally’s Revolt – Orchestra
25a. Cabaret Incidental – Stage Band
26. “Cabaret” – Sally
27. Break Up: Underscore – Orchestra
28. Finale Ultimo – Cliff, M.C., Sally, & Chorus
29. Curtain Calls – Full Company
30. Exit Music – Orchestra

Full Package:
1 Piano/Conductor Score
35 Libretto/Vocal Books
1 Reed 1
1 Reed 2
1 Reed 3
1 Reed 4
1 Horn
2 Trumpet 1&2
1 Trombone 1
1 Trombone 2
1 Percussion
1 Guitar
1 Accordion/Celeste
3 Violin 1&2
1 Viola
1 Cello
1 Bass
1 Stage Band Tenor Saxophone
1 Stage Band Trombone
1 Stage Band Piano
1 Stage Band Drums

Piano Only:
1 Piano/Conductor
35 Libretto/Vocal Books

Flexbo:

The Flexbo is the best solution, when you do not have full instrumentation, to take advantage of orchestral writing. The foundation for a Broadway orchestration is the standard rhythm section: bass, piano and drums. The remainder of the orchestra, the “melodic” instruments – woodwinds, brass and strings – provide richness, depth and tonal color. The number of performers required to play these parts may be as few as nine, but almost always are in the twenty to twenty-five range. The four flexbo parts contain the essential musical lines provided by the “melodic” instruments in a full Broadway orchestration. While the best results will be achieved by using all four Flexbo parts, the Flexbo parts are cued so that even fewer players can be used.

1 Part A: Trumpet
1 Part B: Alto Sax, Clarinet (optional Flute)
1 Part C: Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet
1 Part D: Trombone

1 Bass
1 Percussion
1 Accordion (optional)
1 Guitar/Banjo (optional)
Piano (Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material)

Stage Band:

1 Percussion
1 Piano

Materials

Scripts

Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package:
1 Piano/Conductor Score
35 Libretto/Vocal Books
1 Reed 1
1 Reed 2
1 Reed 3
1 Reed 4
1 Horn
2 Trumpet 1&2
1 Trombone 1
1 Trombone 2
1 Percussion
1 Guitar
1 Accordion/Celeste
3 Violin 1&2
1 Viola
1 Cello
1 Bass
1 Stage Band Tenor Saxophone
1 Stage Band Trombone
1 Stage Band Piano
1 Stage Band Drums

Piano Only:
1 Piano/Conductor
35 Libretto/Vocal Books

Flexbo:
1 Piano/Conductor
35 Libretto/Vocal Books
1 Flexbo A
1 Flexbo B
1 Flexbo C
1 Flexbo D
1 Percussion
1 Guitar/Banjo
1 Accordion
1 Bass
1 Stage Band Percussion
1 Stage Band Piano

Additional Resources And Services Available

Media

Music Samples

Videos

  • Wilkommen: 1966 Tony Awards

  • Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey: Cabaret Medley

More videos +

Photos

  • Cabaret (Original 1966)

    Credit: Joan Marcus

  • Cabaret (Original 1966)

    Credit: Joan Marcus

  • Cabaret (Original 1966)

    Credit: Joan Marcus

  • Cabaret (Original 1966)

    Credit: Joan Marcus

More

Authors

Joe Masteroff

Born in 1919 in Philadelphia, Joe Masteroff had only one dream from infancy: to write for the theatre. After the essential lonely childhood and four-year stint in the Air Force, he came to New York to face his future: book writer or book seller? Luckily, luck intervened. Before long he had three shows on Broadway be ...

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Author

John Van Druten

Author

Christopher Isherwood

John Kander

John Kander is a Tony, Emmy and Grammy-winning composer, a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors Award, and a member of the American Theatre Hall of Fame. With frequent collaborator Fred Ebb, he composed the score to dozens of Broadway musicals, including Cabaret, Zorba, Chicago, The Act, Woman of the Year, The ...

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Fred Ebb

Fred Ebb (1933–2004) was an award-winning lyricist, librettist and director who frequently and successfully collaborated with composer John Kander. Ebb's work for the theatre included Flora, The Red Menace; Cabaret; The Happy Time; Zorba; 70, Girls, 70; Chicago; The Act; Woman of the Year; 2x5; The Rink; And The ...

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