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Cabaret, Original Broadway Cast recording (album cover).

Broadway Cast

Cabaret, Original London Cast recording (album cover).

London Cast

Cabaret, film soundtrack (album cover).

(Original film
recording, 1972).

Cabaret, London Cast recording 1986 (album cover).

(London Cast

Cabaret, New Broadway Cast recording (CD cover).

(New Broadway Cast

Cabaret, London Lyric Cast recording (CD cover).

(London Lyric Cast


Mention Cabaret and most people will remember the 1972 film starring Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles and Joel Grey as the Emcee. The film, though, is only a part of the story and those who come to Cabaret the musical expecting to see a stage version of the film will be in for a surprise.

How It Started...
The Musical Is Born...
The Curtain Rises...
Next: The Film...
Then The Revivals...

How It Started

Cabaret is based upon John Van Druten's 1951 play I Am A Camera, itself based upon the Sally Bowles story in Christopher Isherwood's 1939 collection of six short stories, Goodbye To Berlin. The idea of taking Isherwood's work and making a musical of it crossed more than one mind. In 1963 the Broadway producer David Black commissioned songwriter Sandy Wilson to write both a book and a score for a musical version of Goodbye To Berlin. Wilson had made a name for himself with his musical The Boy Friend, a big hit on both sides of the Atlantic 10 years earlier. Julie Andrews, who had starred in the Broadway production of The Boy Friend, agreed to play the part of Sally Bowles in Wilson's new musical.

Meanwhile another Broadway producer, Hal Prince, was busy acquiring the musical rights to both I Am A Camera and Goodbye To Berlin. He had already hired Joe Masteroff as librettist when he discovered that Wilson was working on a similar project. Prince and Masteroff listened to Wilson's songs and considered collaborating with him. In the end they decided against, opting instead for the relatively recently-formed and as-yet-unsuccessful song writing partnership of John Kander and Fred Ebb. Kander and Ebb had been introduced to one another in 1962. Their first musical Golden Gate (1962-63), hadn't made it to the stage; their second, Flora, The Red Menace (1965), starring a 19-year-old Liza Minnelli, had been a flop - though Minnelli did win a Tony award. With Cabaret it was to be third time lucky. Faced by rejection, Wilson abandoned his project, leaving the way clear for Masteroff, Kander and Ebb to pursue theirs.

The Musical Is Born...

Masteroff had originally intended to write a traditional book musical following the linear narrative structure of I Am A Camera. John Van Druten's play had condensed Christopher Isherwood's impressionistic accounts of life in Berlin into a four-month period, shaping his "jumble of subplots and coincidences" into a coherent plot which Masteroff planned to turn into a three-act musical. Under the guiding influence of Hal Prince, however, the musical evolved into something quite different.

Only one of Isherwood's characters was transposed to Cabaret as he had written her. Sally Bowles - "an English girl, an actress... hot stuff, believe me!" - came complete with her Prairie Oysters and emerald green fingernails. Other characters were modified, some were abandoned and some new ones added. Isherwood's big-bosomed landlady, Fräulein Schroeder, became the trim-figured Fräulein Schneider, as she was also named in Van Druten's I Am A Camera. Her role was expanded and she was given a suitor, a Jewish fruit seller named Herr Schultz. Isherwood himself - "Herr Issyvoo" as his landlady called him - became Cliff Bradshaw, an aspiring young writer from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania who gave English lessons to supplement his income. In Goodbye To Berlin the character of Christopher Isherwood is an observer and narrator - "I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking." In I Am A Camera, which took it's name from that line, he became the male romantic lead - homosexual in the play, heterosexual in the film. In Cabaret, it was decided that Cliff's character would be heterosexual, a decision that Hal Prince was later to regret. As the show developed his role was reduced - by opening night the four songs originally intended for him had been cut to just one.

The major change that transformed Cabaret into something quite different from its source material concerned the club where Sally performed to no great acclaim - "she sang badly, without any expression". The Lady Windermere became the Kit Kat Klub. An Emcee - absent in Isherwood's story and in I Am A Camera - took centre stage, presiding over a show-within-the-show, a cabaret which held a mirror to German society, The songs performed in the cabaret provide a critical commentary on the cultural, economic, political and social life of the capital. Interspersed with the narrative scenes, they serve to shine a critical light on the events affecting the principal characters, in particular the rise of the Nazi party and the increasing intolerance displayed towards Jews and gays. The risqué entertainment - the epitome of camp - makes the pretence of distracting the club patrons from their "troubles" but it is actually more subversive, challenging the theatre audience to face up to the "troubles" that the clubgoers had turned a blind eye to. It took the concept of 'life as a cabaret' and turned it on its head, using the theatrical performance of the cabaret to gradually and, by the end, brutally, expose the troubles that the audience thought it had left behind when it entered the theatre.

Masteroff's book for the musical omitted two of the major plot elements from his source material - Sally's and Christopher Isherwood's brief friendship with a bored but wealthy American called Clive, and the romance added by Van Druten between Fritz Wendel, a friend of Sally's, and Natalia Landauer, a young Jewish heiress who was taking English lessons from Christopher Isherwood. Clive does not appear in the musical, nor do Fritz and Natalia, though the dilemma they dramatised of loving someone Jewish in an anti-Semitic society, is dramatised instead in the relationship between Herr Schultz and Fräulein Schneider.

The Curtain Rises...

Cabaret opened on Broadway on 20th November 1966 after a pre-Broadway try-out in Boston and 21 preview performances in New York. The show starred Joel Grey as the Emcee and Jill Haworth as Sally Bowles, with Bert Convy as Cliff Bradshaw, Lotte Lenya as Fräulein Schneider and Jack Gilford as Herr Schultz. It ran for 1,165 performances, moving from the Broadhurst Theater to the Imperial and then to the Broadway. At the 1967 Tony Awards Cabaret won in eight of the categories, scooping the awards for Best Musical, Best Original Score (John Kander and Fred Ebb), Best Featured Actor (Joel Grey), Best Featured Actress (Peg Murray), Best Direction of a Musical (Hal Prince), Best Choreography (Ron Field), Best Scenic Design (Boris Aronson), Best Costume Design (Patricia Zipprodt).

The original London production opened just over a year later on 28th February 1968. Barry Dennen was cast as the Emcee with Judi Dench as Sally and Kevin Colson as Cliff; Lila Kedrova was Fräulein Schneider and Peter Sallis Herr Schultz. The London production ran for 336 performances at the Palace Theatre.

Next: The Film...

The original Broadway and West End stage musicals were significantly different from the film that followed them in 1972. The talentless Sally Bowles, who in the musical had been "the toast of Mayfair" and was as English as tea and scones, became a "most talented young lady" from the USA. Cliff Bradshaw, who in the musical had a "charming American style", changed both his name and his nationality to become Brian Roberts, a PhD student from Cambridge University. Brian is bisexual - and though not a 'Kinsey 6' he was certainly at the gayer end of the Kinsey spectrum. "All right," he tells Sally Bowles, "if you insist, I do not sleep with girls." The sub-plot featuring Fräulein Schneider and Herr Schultz was dropped from the film, with Fräulein Schneider barely appearing and Herr Schultz not appearing at all. The couple's songs - It Couldn't Please Me More and Married - were featured but relegated to the role of background music.

Although many of its scenes were set in the Kit Kat Klub, the film reverted to the narrative structure of Van Druten's play, spending less of its time in the club and more time outside exploring the plot lines taken from I Am A Camera. The three characters from I Am A Camera, who had been dropped from Cabaret the musical, were restored to the film - Fritz Wendel and Natalia Landauer, and Clive, whose character reappeared in the guise of the wealthy playboy, Baron Maximilian Von Heune.

Even where plots of the film and the musical crossed paths, there were differences in some of the detail. In the film Sally is already resident at Fräulein Schneider's when Brian arrives; in the musical it is Sally who moves in after Cliff. In the film Sally introduces Brian to Ernst Ludwig, a money-runner for the Nazi party; in the musical the two meet each other in one of the opening scenes.

Under the direction of Bob Fosse, the film became something of a 'star turn' for Liza Minnelli. Three new songs were added, all of which put her in spotlight - Mein Herr and Maybe This Time, both sung by Sally Bowles, and The Money Song (Money Money), which Sally performed with the Emcee.

The Emcee had a reduced role in the film but retained most of his solo spots from the musical - Willkommen, Two Ladies and If You Could See Her. Significantly, the last line of If You Could See Her - originally "She wouldn't look Jewish at all" - was restored to the film. Hal Prince, with no subsequent regrets, had insisted that Fred Ebb re-write the line for the Broadway opening, following complaints from some audience members during the preview performances. With the exception of those odd occasions when the original line "just slipped out", Joel Grey had performed the song on Broadway with the substitute line "She isn't a meeskite at all".

Then The Revivals...

Cabaret has been revived many times, reappearing on Broadway in 1987 and 1998, with another revival planned for 2014. It returned to the London stage in 1986, 1993, 2006 and 2012. With each revival the show has evolved - as John Kander put it: "Whenever you have a revival, you always find things that you want to change" (Colored Lights, page 72). Songs from the film have been incorporated into the revivals and the roles of the Emcee and Cliff Bradshaw have changed to reflect society's more liberal attitudes towards sex and sexuality.

1986 Revival
Strand Theatre, London,
17th July 1986 - 4th May 1987.

The first revival in 1986 dropped the Telephone Song from Act 1 and added Maybe This Time from the film to Act 2. The Money Song (Money, Money) was also imported from the film.

Looking back on Gillian Lynne's production seven years later, Mark Steyn of The Independent described it as "swastikas-a-go-go, with a scene even Springtime for Hitler might balk at." (The Independent, 30th November 1993)

Emcee: Wayne Sleep
Sally Bowles: Kelly Hunter
Cliff Bradshaw: Peter Land
Fräulein Schneider: Vivienne Martin
Herr Schultz: Oscar Quitak

Cabaret, Broadway Revival 1987 (Playbill).
1987 Revival
Imperial Theatre and Minskoff Theatre, New York,
22nd October 1987 - 4th June 1988.

The Broadway revival the following year saw Joel Grey return to the role of Emcee, this time with top billing.

Two of the songs from Act 1 were dropped, Meeskite and Why Should I Wake Up. The former had been written for Jack Gifford, who played Herr Schultz in the original Broadway production. "He made a terrific moment of it," John Kander explained, "but it was so Giffordesque that we finally took it out of the revival. Nobody else could make it happen" (Colored Lights, page 68). Why Should I Wake Up was replaced by a new song for Cliff, Don't Go. Cliff was now bisexual like Brian in the film, though his sexuality was placed firmly at the centre of the Kinsey scale. The lyrics of Don't Go imply that Sally was the "only girl" for him, his "last chance" of having a lasting relationship with a woman. It was not used in subsequent revivals.

Two other changes were made to the score for the '87 revival: I Don't Care Much, which had been cut from the original 1966 production, was revived for Act 2 and The Money Song (Sitting Pretty) from the original production was combined with The Money Song (Money Money) from the film. Despite these changes, however, the revival was described by John Kander as "more or less a re-creation of the original production." (Colored Lights, page 72)

Emcee: Joel Grey
Sally Bowles: Alyson Reed
Cliff Bradshaw: Gregg Edelman
Fräulein Schneider: Regina Resnik
Herr Schultz: Werner Klemperer

The production received four Tony Award nominations but did not win any of them: Best Revival of a Musical, Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical (Joel Grey) and Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical (Alyson Reed and Regina Resnik).

Cabaret, 1993 revival (programme cover).
1993 Revival
Donmar Warehouse, London,
9th December 1993 - 26th March 1994.

The 1993 London revival marked a significant milestone, turning the "divinely decadent" Kit Kat Klub into a seedy dive and blurring the lines between the 'cabaret audience' and the 'theatre audience'. The seats at the front of the Donmar Warehouse were replaced by chairs around night club tables, so that the theatre became the Kit Kat Klub and the theatre audience became the club audience.

Although this worked well for the Kit Kat Klub scenes, staging the narrative scenes in a club setting was awkward. Whether deliberately or not, this made the scenes on the train and at Fräulein Schneider's apartments feel 'out of place'.

Another significant change in this production was the Emcee, who became more overtly sexual. Gone were the tuxedo, cane and rouged cheeks of Joel Grey's Emcee, in their place a long black leather trench coat, black silk underwear and rouged nipples, not to mention a pair of braces worn around the crotch. This was an Emcee for the Trainspotting generation. Coincidentally, or perhaps not, Irvine Welsh's novel was published the same year.

Cliff's character was played as a wide-eyed innocent abroad. Although he was reticent about admitting to his bisexuality - "It's not the sort of thing you generally go around advertising, is it?" - a kiss on the lips between Cliff and one of the Cabaret boys left the audience in no doubt.

The Donmar revival dropped the Telephone Song from Act 1 as the 1986 London revival had done; it also dropped Meeskite and Why Should I Wake Up as the 1987 Broadway revival had done. I Don't Care Much, from the '87 revival, was added to the show, as were two of the songs from the film - Mein Herr and The Money Song (Money Money).

The staging of many of the songs marked a departure from previous productions. Tomorrow Belongs To Me wasn't so much performed as listened to, with the Emcee crouching over a gramophone; Married, previously a duet between Herr Schultz and Fräulein Schneider, was part-performed by a nightclub singer, singing in German.

One of the most striking elements of the staging came at the end of the show, when the Emcee removed his coat to reveal underneath the striped pyjama uniform of a concentration camp internee with a pink triangle and a yellow star pinned to it.

Commenting on this revival, Fred Ebb said: "I could see the production was very well done, but I thought the leading lady was miscast, and I didn't like it a hell of a lot." (Colored Lights, page 73)

Emcee: Alan Cumming
Sally Bowles: Jane Horrocks
Cliff Bradshaw: Adam Godley
Fräulein Schneider: Sara Kestelman
Herr Schultz: George Raistrick

At the 1994 Laurence Olivier Awards the revival of Cabaret was nominated for four awards: Best Musical Revival, Best Actor in a Musical (Alan Cumming) Best Supporting Performance in a Musical (Sara Kestelman) and Best Director of a Musical (Sam Mendes). Sara Kestelman was the only winner amongst them. The other awards all went to the National Theatre's revival of Sweeney Todd, with Alun Armstrong taking the award for Best Actor in a Musical and Declan Donnellan taking the award for Best Director of a Musical.

1998 Revival
Henry Miller Theatre and Studio 54, New York,
19th March 1998 - 4th January 2004.

The 1998 New York revival was based on Sam Mendes's production at the Donmar Warehouse. "It was essentially the same concept", said John Kander "but it was made immensely better by Rob Marshall when it came to New York." (Colored Lights, page 73)

The Henry Miller Theater was transformed into the Kit Kat Klub just as the Donmar Warehouse had been. The New York Times critic Ben Brantley likened it to a S&M bar. This production, he wrote, was "seedier, raunchier and more sinister" than it had been in either the original Broadway production or in the film, but he criticised the revival for taking "the hard-sell ugliness" too far: "When Mr. Cumming... tells his audience to leave its troubles outside and that 'in here life is beautiful,' he is all too obviously lying." He did, however, praise the portrayal of the Emcee: "Alan Cumming commits grand theatrical larceny by commandeering a character that promised to be eternally the property of Joel Grey." (The New York Times, 20th March 1998)

Although it was based on the Donmar production, the New York revival added some new elements of its own. When he sang Two Ladies, for example, the Emcee performed the song with one lady and a drag queen, accompanied by sex scenes in silhouette. The New York production also added Maybe This Time from the film, which the Donmar production had left out.

Emcee: Alan Cumming
Sally Bowles: Natasha Richardson
Cliff Bradshaw: John Benjamin Hickey
Fräulein Schneider: Mary Louise Wilson
Herr Schultz: Ron Rifkin

Although he had missed out on an Olivier Award in London, Alan Cumming was rewarded in New York, winning the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical.

Natasha Richardson, whose performance had also been praised in Ben Brantley's review, won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical. "The tragedy of Ms. Richardson's Sally, which comes closer to the prototype of Isherwood's stories than any other I've seen, is that for all her determination to be a star, she knows she's not very talented... Born-to-lose characters can be tedious, but Ms. Richardson turns this one into an electrifying triumph." (The New York Times, 20th March 1998)

At the 1998 Tony Awards Cabaret was nominated in ten categories. In addition to the awards won by Alan Cumming and Natasha Richardson, Cabaret won Best Revival of a Musical and Ron Rifkin won Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical.

Cabaret, London Revival, 2006 (programme cover).
2006 revival
Lyric Theatre, London,
10th October 2006 - 21st June 2008.

In 2006 Cabaret was re-imagined by director Rufus Norris with provocative choreography by Javier de Frutos and an ingenious set design by Katrina Lindsay.

At the beginning of the show the stage set literally spelt things out for the audience. As theatre-goers entered the auditorium to take their seats, they were greeted by the word "Will-kom-men" writ large in three rows on an enormous purple screen which concealed the stage. At the sound of the opening drum roll and cymbal, the 'O' slid open like the shutter of a camera, the Emcee peered out, and bid the audience welcome.

The sliding set behind the Willkommen screen allowed the action to move seamlessly between the Kit Kat Klub and Fräulein Schneider's apartments. The symbolic scenes and the narrative scenes were not so much juxtaposed as they were interwoven. In this production these separate 'worlds' didn't just overlap, they coalesced.
Cabaret, London 2007 (programme cover).
The production was strong on symbolism. A balloon-filled suit worn by the Emcee as he sang The Money Song symbolised the inflation that led Fräulein Schneider to compromise on the rent. The dilemma she faced about marrying a Jew was symbolised in the scene in which The Emcee performed If You Could See Her. A female monkey danced in silhouette behind him. As he got to the punch line "She wouldn't look Jewish at all", the screen dropped, revealing a Jewish woman who had not been a monkey at all. But just as the Emcee pleaded for "eine bisschen Verstandnis" - "Why can't the world leben und leben lassen? Live and let live" - so Fräulein Schneider understood the "objection" and called off her wedding with Herr Schultz.

In the final scene the word KABARET was spelt out in giant letters, arranged right to left across the stage. As the Emcee prepared to bid us farewell Ernst Ludwig walked on in Nazi uniform and knocked over the letters one by one, each falling to the floor with a resounding thud. There was a last flicker of defiance as the Emcee held on to the middle letter A but he then pushed it over himself, turning to join a group of naked figures, huddled together as the snow began to fall. By spelling KABARET right to left it was as if the audience was sitting behind the letters and had joined the naked figures on stage, destined to follow them to the gas chambers. The effect was chilling.

Emcee: James Dreyfus
Sally Bowles: Anna Maxwell Martin
Cliff Bradshaw: Michael Hayden
Fräulein Schneider: Sheila Hancock
Herr Schultz: Geoffrey Hutchings

The 2006 production of Cabaret received a nomination for Best Musical Revival at the 2007 Laurence Olivier Awards but lost out to Sunday In The Park With George. Sheila Hancock, however, won the award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical and Javier de Frutos won the award for Best Theatre Choreographer.

Cabaret, 2012 revival (programme cover).
2012 revival
Savoy Theatre - 3rd October 2012 - 19th January 2013.

The 2012 revival was a re-vamped version of the 2006 revival. Director Rufus Norris and choreographer Javier de Frutos made some significant changes, finding what the critic Paul Taylor described as a "fresh and arresting way of expressing the same conception" (Paul Taylor, Independent, 12th October 2012). The Evening Standard critic Henry Hitchings observed that the production was "less concertedly political and less depraved" that its predecessor, "slicker and safer", as Charles Spencer put it (Daily Telegraph, 11th October 2012).

The mood of the first Act was generally lighter, though its denouement was much darker. In the 2006 production Act 1 had ended with naked dancers innocently cavorting around the stage as a pure-voiced youth sang Tomorrow Belongs To Me. In the 2012 version the song was performed by the Emcee. who became a demonic puppeteer conducting the dancers below, all of whom were now dressed in traditional German folk costumes.

By giving greater prominence to the Emcee the 2012 revival addressed an issue that some of the critics had raised in their reviews of previous productions. In his review of the 1987 revival, Frank Rich had complained about the star billing given to Joel Grey. "To have a Cabaret reliant on its Emcee is almost like reviving Oklahoma! as a star vehicle for the actor playing Jud" (The New York Times, 23rd October 1987). By 1993 the objection was not so much that Alan Cumming got star billing as the Emcee, but rather that the Emcee still wasn't given enough time on stage. "When he is around all eyes are on him. The trouble is that he is not around all that often" (Malcolm Rutherford, Financial Times, 11th December 1993). The Emcee of the 2012 revival was undoubtably the star of the show. "Young proves a compelling ringleader, his voice expressive, his presence snaring the necessary combination of charm and grotesquerie" (Time Out, 11th October 2012).

In his review of the 1998 revival Ben Brantley wrote: "The experience of Cabaret has to be one of illicit seduction: both for the work's hero, the American writer Clifford Bradshaw... and, more important, for the audience, who must be made to feel complicitous with the work's dark spirit of revelry" (The New York Times, 20th March 1998). The 2012 revival seduced the audience by making the Emcee a more beguiling, less threatening character and by dressing him in costumes that were no longer borrowed from the 'Rocky Horror' wardrobe. James Dreyfus had presented the Emcee as "a leering drag artist of the Grand Guignol-going-on-Ann Summers school" (Kate Bassett, Independent on Sunday, 15th October 2006); Will Young's Emcee wore sexy leather hot pants and, at the outset at least, had a mischievous, boyish charm about him which it was hard not to like.

The choreography was also seductive but there was less nudity and touch more razzle dazzle than in the 2006 production. As Charles Spencer put it: "Javier de Frutos's choreography seems less confrontational and sexually unbuttoned than it did the first time around." (Daily Telegraph, 11th October 2012).

The changes made to the 2012 revival made it accessible to a wider audience, and although it was arguably more balanced as a result, some of the critics felt that the production had lost some of its edge. However, as Lyn Gardner observed: "The final 20 minutes of Rufus Norris's revamped revival of Cabaret are shockingly good" (The Guardian, 11th October 2012). Tim Walker of the Sunday Telegraph concluded: "There have been quite a few Cabarets over the years - in addition, of course, to the film - but this is the most compelling I have ever seen." (Sunday Telegraph, 14th October 2012)

Emcee: Will Young
Sally Bowles: Michelle Ryan
Cliff Bradshaw: Matt Rawle
Fräulein Schneider: Siân Phillips
Herr Schultz: Linal Haft

The 2012 revival was nominated for three Laurence Olivier Awards: Best Musical Revival, Best Actor in a Musical (Will Young) and Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical (Siân Phillips). Will Young was also nominated for, and won, The Dewynters London Newcomer of the Year award at the Awards.

2014 Revival
Studio 54, 24th April - 31st August 2014

Emcee: Alan Cumming
Sally Bowles: Michelle Williams
Cliff Bradshaw: Bill Heck
Fräulein Schneider: Linda Emond
Herr Schultz: Danny Burstei

Cabaret at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin.

Gaiety Theatre, Dublin

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IMDb: Cabaret (1972)

Wikipedia • Cabaret (musical)

The Wikipedia page about Cabaret provides a useful starting point if you want to know more about the stage musical and the film.

Cabaret the Musical

Cabaret the Musical • Bill Kenwright Ltd.

The official web page for Bill Kenwright's production of Cabaret.

Cabaret the Musical UK Tour • Facebook

The official Facebook page for Bill Kenwright's production of Cabaret.

Cabaret the Musical on Broadway • Facebook

The official Facebook page of the Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of Cabaret, which returns to Broadway in 2014, starring Alan Cumming and Michelle Williams.

The Broadway Musical Home • Cabaret

The Broadway Musical Home says it strives to provide you with "everything you ever wanted to know" about the musicals, people and theatres of Broadway. It certainly provides a useful starting point but you can find other sites that provide more comprehensive information about the Broadway productions of Cabaret if that's what you're after.

IBDB (Internet Broadway Database) • Cabaret

The IBDB (Internet Broadway Database) archive is the official database for Broadway theatre information. IBDB provides records of productions from the beginnings of New York theatre until today, including the productions of Cabaret.

Musical Haven • Cabaret

The Musical website is an online resource with information on musicals past and present - including a page about Cabaret. You can add your own thoughts on the show using the site's comments box.

Orvtur • Cabaret

A database of musicals from New York, London and beyond, among them Cabaret.

Further Reading

Colored Lights: Forty Years of Words and Music, Show Biz, Collaboration, and All That Jazz
Greg Lawrence, Faber & Faber

Kander and Ebb
James Leve, Yale University Press

Cabaret at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin.

Gaiety Theatre, Dublin

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Siobhan Dillon as Sally Bowles.

Siobhan Dillon
as Sally Bowles.

Linal Haft as Herr Schultz.

Linal Haft
as Herr Schultz.

Matt Rawle as Cliff Bradshaw.

Matt Rawle
as Cliff Bradshaw.

Also Starring...

Siobhan Dillon

Siobhan Dillon first made a name for herself in 2006 when she appeared on the BBC's ground-breaking TV talent show How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?. The programme invited undiscovered performers to audition for the role of Maria in The Sound Of Music and then invited television viewers to vote for their favourite.

Although Connie Fisher was chosen as Maria, Siobhan made the most of the opportunity she had been given. While Connie was starring in Andrew Lloyd Webber's West End production of The Sound Of Music at the London Palladium (November 2006 - February 2008), Siobhan was busy building a career of her own. She made her West End début in the role of Patty Simcox in the musical Grease (Piccadilly Theatre, 2007) and in 2010 took over the lead role of Sandy from Emma Stevens. Her other West End roles have been Vivienne Kensington in Legally Blonde (Savoy Theatre. 2010) and Molly Jensen in Ghost the Musical (Piccadilly Theatre, 2012).

Siobhan joined the cast of Cabaret in 2009, replacing Samantha Barks as Sally Bowles in the UK touring production. She returned to the role in 2013 and was complimented by the critics. When the tour reached Hull, the York Press critic Charles Hutchinson remarked: "Siobhan Dillon, fast-tracked from How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, was new to the role of headstrong, solipsistic Kit Kat Club nightclub singer Sally Bowles when playing York four years ago. She was impressive then, and she is even better now." (York Press, 21st November 2013)

Linal Haft

Linal Haft made his acting début in an episode of the Australian television police drama Homicide (1968). Since then he has appeared in many television dramas, among them I, Claudius (1976), two episodes of Armchair Thriller (1978), The Sweeney (1978) and Minder (he appeared in the original series starring George Cole as Arthur Daley in 1982, 1985 and 1994 and in the new series starring Shane Richie as Archie Daley in 2009). His other television work includes appearances in The Professionals (1983), Remington Steele (1985), Dempsey and Makepeace (1985), The Bill (1985, 1998 and 2007), Casualty (1988 and 2009) and Doctors (2010).

Career highlights include the roles of Monty Fish in the second series of ITV's post-war comedy drama Shine On Harvey Moon (1982) and Harry Gold in the popular BBC soap opera EastEnders (2010-2011). Linal is also a recognisable face in the UK for the TV adverts he made with Maureen Lipman for British Telecom.
The Old Neighbourhood, Royal Court
Linal's theatre credits include: Coriolanus, Henry V, Pentecost and Slaughter (RSC); After The Fall, The Changeling and Happy Birthday Brecht (National Theatre); Edmond, The Front Room Boys and The Old Neighborhood (Royal Court). He joined the cast of Cabaret in 2012 when theatre impresario Bill Kenwright revived the Rufus Norris production for a short UK tour and second West End run. He remained in the production for the 2013 UK tour and continued to gain praise from the critics for his portrayal of Herr Schultz: "Haft underplays the dangerously sentimental part of the gentle grocer into adorability." Miranda Rose, Daily Info, Oxford

Matt Rawle

Matt Rawle made his West End début at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, where he was a member of the Ensemble in Boublil & Schonberg's musical Miss Saigon (he also understudied and played the co-lead of Chris). He subsequently played roles in other Boublil & Schonberg musicals: Martin in Martin Guerre at the Prince Edward, London (1996) and Marius in the UK touring production of Les Misérables (1999).
Hard Times theatre programme (front cover).
Since then Matt has appeared in a variety of theatre productions, most of them musicals. In 2000 he appeared with Roy Hudd, Brian Blessed, Patsy Rowlands and Ann Emery in Christopher Tookey's Hard Times: The Musical, which ran for three months at London's Theatre Royal Haymarket (18th May - 26th August). In 2004 he played Sir Lancelot in Camelot and Flute in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park (2nd June - 11th September).

Matt has also appeared in two Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals. He played Che Guevara in the 2006 revival of Evita at the Adelphi Theatre, starring Elena Roger as Evita (2nd June 2006 - 26th May 2007); he then played Alex Dilligan in the UK touring production of Aspects Of Love, starring David Essex as George (31st August 2007 - 21st June 2008).

Next up was a starring role of his own in the musical Zorro, which toured the UK for six weeks prior to a nine-month run at the Garrick Theatre, London (2nd July 2008 - 14th March 2009). Reviewing the show in The Telegraph, Charles Spencer wrote: "Matt Rawle reveals himself as a real star as Diego/Zorro, combining physical skills and spectacular stunts with a cool charm."
Into The Woods theatre programme (front cover).
Matt's other roles have included: Prince in Into The Woods at the Donmar Warehouse (6th November 1998 – 13th February 1999); Salim in Baghdad Wedding at the Soho Theatre, London (28th June - 21st July 2007); Leading Player in Pippin at the Menier Chocolate Factory (22nd November 2011 - 25th February 2012).

Matt joined the cast of Cabaret in 2012, playing the part of Cliff Bradshaw on the short 2012 tour and at the Savoy Theatre, London. He returned to the role for the 2013 tour. Once again Charles Spencer complimented him on his performance: "Matt Rawle is delightfully sympathetic as the bisexual American writer who falls for Sally." (Daily Telegraph, 30th August 2013)

Will Young

On 9th February 2002 more than thirteen million viewers in the UK turned on their television sets to watch the final of the ITV talent show Pop Idol. The bookmakers had backed Gareth Gates to win but the victor on the night, with 4.6 million (53.1%) of the votes cast, was Will Young.
Will Young in 'Cabaret'.
Will became what the programme had promised - a pop idol. His first single, a double A-side featuring the Westlife song Evergreen and a new song written for the winner of the show by Chris Braide and Cathy Dennis, Anything Is Possible, became the fastest selling début in UK chart history, selling more than a million copies in its first week of release.

Between 2002-2008 Will Young had a total of twelve Top 50 singles in the UK, including three more number 1s - Light My Fire (the song that Simon Cowell had initially dismissed as "distinctly average" when Will first performed it on Pop Idol), The Long And Winding Road (a duet with Gareth Gates, released as a double A-side with Gates's version of Suspicious Minds) and Leave Right Now.

Between 2002 and 2011 Will recorded five albums: From Now On (2002); Friday's Child (2003); Keep On (2005); Let It Go (2008); and Echoes (2011). Echoes became Will's third album to reach number 1 and yielded a thirteenth Top 50 single, Jealousy, which peaked at number 5.

In 2005 Will Young made his acting début playing Bertie, a gay choreographer, in the BBC film Mrs. Henderson Presents. The film was scripted by the playwright Martin Sherman, best known for his 1978 play Bent. It was produced by Stephen Frears and starred Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins. Despite the pedigree of cast and creatives, not all of the critics were impressed: "an unadventurous acting début" wrote Catherine Shoard in The Sunday Telegraph. David Edwards, writing in the Daily Mirror, agreed: "Call me bitchy, but you get the impression the part was hardly a stretch." Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian went further: "pop star Will Young plays a singer, who on being asked by Mrs. Henderson if he finds any of the auditioning show girls attractive, smilingly confides that his tastes do not run thus. This heterodoxy is not however dramatised in any way, and Young merely croons sub-Boyfriend ditties like Christopher Gable's irritating younger brother. " Other critics, however, disagreed: the film got a four-star rating from The Sun and Allan Hunter, the film critic at The Express, wrote: "It is exceptionally well cast, with Pop Idol Will Young proving very capable in his screen début." Susannah Clapp later described him as "the surprise talent in Mrs. Henderson Presents." (The Observer, 28th January 2007)
Will Young in 'Cabaret'.
Although he hadn't received compliments from all of the critics, Will was complimented by his co-stars in the film (Judi Dench was quoted in the Evening Standard as saying: "He can do whatever he wants. He's very talented"). Having been specifically encouraged by Bob Hoskins "to do something on the stage" Will Young did exactly that. He made his stage début as an actor in January 2007, playing the lead role of Nicky Lancaster in a production of The Vortex by Noël Coward at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester. The Liverpool Echo reported a standing ovation on the opening night. Michael Billington of The Guardian, however, was less impressed: whilst acknowledging that "Young doesn't disgrace himself" he felt that Will had been cast "in a part beyond his experience." Malcolm Handley of the Daily Post (Liverpool) agreed: "Either director Jo Combes has missed something, or it is a dramatic step too far for Mr. Young." Paul Callan of The Express also agreed: "This is his début as a serious actor and it would have been more prudent if he had chosen another role... But these are early days for Mr. Young and he has distinct talent and a flair for the dramatic."

Early days indeed! That talent and flair would soon find itself fully expressed in Will's next role: the Emcee in the 2012 revival of Cabaret. Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail and Charles Spencer of The Telegraph both gave the show three-star reviews; both had words of praise for Will Young. Spencer wrote: "He has a genuinely disconcerting stage presence with his slicked-down hair, lustful eyes and predatory stillness, and there is a potent mixture of malignity and glee in his performance." Letts concluded: "Mr Young is definitely one of the good things in this show." When the production was revived in 2013, with the addition of Lyn Paul as Fräulein Schneider and Siobhan Dillon as Sally Bowles, the three-star reviews became four and five-star reviews. In almost every review Will was singled out for special praise. Charles Spencer highlighted Will's "revelatory performance" and noted that the production seemed "even stronger in this touring version." Mark Shenton, writing in The Express, agreed: "Presiding over it all with a simultaneously sinister and playful intensity is Will Young's Emcee in a thrilling performance that sets the tone for the production... It is one of the most thrilling rediscoveries of a musical I have seen."

Cabaret, New Theatre, Oxford.

at the New Theatre, Oxford.

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