Cabaret

Cast

Coming Soon

Creative

TBD
Conductor

Tomer Zvulun
Stage Director

Alexander Dodge
Set Designer

Erik Teague
Costume Designer

Erin Teachman
Projection Designer

Marcella Barbeau
Lighting Designer

Ricardo Aponte
Choreographer

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
Originally Co-directed and Choreographed by Rob Marshall
Originally Directed by Sam Mendes
Premiere Date: November 20, 1966, Broadhurst Theatre, New York City

Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome! The Big Tent Series returns with Kander and Ebb’s Tony Award-winning musical set in 1930s Berlin. Cabaret star Sally Bowles headlines at the seedy Kit Kat Klub, where an entourage of colorful characters entertains and seduces guests looking for refuge, solace, and acceptance against the ominous threat of fascism. When a wholesome American novelist falls for Sally, he tries to convince her to leave the cabaret behind–but in Berlin she’s free…as free as she’ll ever be.

Performed in English with English supertitles

The Molly Blank Big Tent

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rendering: Alexander Dodge

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Synopsis

Act I
At the twilight of the Jazz Age in Berlin, the incipient Nazi Party is growing stronger. The Kit Kat Klub is a seedy cabaret—a place of decadent celebration. The club’s Master of Ceremonies, or Emcee, together with the cabaret girls and waiters, warm up the audience (“Willkommen”). Meanwhile, a young American writer named Clifford Bradshaw arrives via a railway train in Berlin. He has journeyed to the city to work on a new novel. Cliff encounters Ernst Ludwig, a German smuggler who offers him black market work and recommends a boarding house. At the boarding house, the proprietress Fräulein Schneider offers Cliff a room for one hundred reichsmarks, but he can only pay fifty. After a brief debate, she relents and allows Cliff to live there for fifty marks. Fräulein Schneider observes that she has learned to take whatever life offers (“So What?”).

When Cliff visits the Kit Kat Klub, the Emcee introduces an English chanteuse, Sally Bowles, who performs a flirtatious number (“Don’t Tell Mama”). Afterward, she asks Cliff to recite poetry for her, and he recites “Casey at the Bat”. Cliff offers to escort Sally home, but she says that her boyfriend Max, the club’s owner, is too jealous. Sally performs her final number at the Kit Kat Klub aided by a female ensemble of jazz babies (“Mein Herr”). The cabaret ensemble performs a song and dance, calling each other on inter-table phones and inviting each other for dances and drinks (“The Telephone Song”).

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The next day at the boarding house, Cliff has just finished giving an English lesson to Ernst when Sally arrives. Max has fired her and thrown her out, and now she has no place to live. Sally asks Cliff if she can live in his room. At first he resists, but she convinces him to take her in (“Perfectly Marvelous”). The Emcee and two female companions sing a song (“Two Ladies”) that comments on Cliff and Sally’s new living arrangement. Herr Schultz, an elderly Jewish fruit-shop owner who lives in the boarding house, gives a pineapple to Fräulein Schneider as a romantic gesture (“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 marching song—becoming the strident “Tomorrow Belongs to Me”. He initially sings a cappella, before the customers and the band join in.

Months later, Cliff and Sally are still living together and have grown intimate. Cliff knows that he is in a “dream”, but he enjoys living with Sally too much to come to his senses (“Why Should I Wake Up?”). Sally reveals that she is pregnant, but she does not know who is the father and reluctantly decides to obtain an abortion. Cliff reminds her that it could be his child and tries to convince her to have the baby (“Maybe This Time”). Ernst enters and offers Cliff a chance to earn easy money—picking up a suitcase in Paris and delivering it to his “client” in Berlin. The Emcee comments on this with the song “Sitting Pretty” (or, in later versions, “Money”).

Meanwhile, Fräulein Schneider has caught one of her boarders, the prostitute Fräulein Kost, bringing sailors into her room. Fräulein Schneider forbids her from doing so again, but Kost threatens to leave. Kost reveals that she has seen Fräulein Schneider with Herr Schultz in her room. Herr Schultz saves Fräulein Schneider’s reputation by telling Fräulein Kost that he and Fräulein Schneider are to be married in three weeks. After Fräulein Kost departs, Fräulein Schneider thanks Herr Schultz for lying to Fräulein Kost. Herr Schultz says that he was serious and proposes to Fräulein Schneider (“Married”).

At Fräulein Schneider and Herr Schultz’s engagement party, Cliff arrives and delivers the suitcase of contraband to Ernst. A tipsy Schultz sings “Meeskite” (“meeskite”, he explains, is Yiddish for ugly or funny-looking), a song with a moral (“Anyone responsible for loveliness, large or small/Is not a meeskite at all”). Afterward, seeking revenge on Fräulein Schneider, Kost tells Ernst, who now sports a Nazi armband, that Schultz is a Jew. Ernst warns Fräulein Schneider that marrying a Jew is unwise. Fräulein Kost and company reprise “Tomorrow Belongs to Me”, with more overtly Nazi overtones, as Cliff, Sally, Fräulein Schneider, Herr Schultz, and the Emcee look on.

Act II
The villagers gather excitedly for the evening’s entertainment. The curtain rises with the four players in character: Nedda as Columbine, Beppe as Harlequin, Canio as Pagliaccio and Tonio as Taddeo, prepared to act out the classic tale of the cuckolded husband. Assured by the servant Taddeo that Pagliaccio is away, Columbine awaits the appearance of her true love, Harlequin. Taddeo takes this moment to pour out his true feelings to her, but she heartlessly brushes him off and as soon as Harlequin arrives, Taddeo is ordered away. The lovers dine together and agree to drug Pagliaccio so that they can be together. They are interrupted by Taddeo, who warns that Pagliaccio is making an unexpected return. Harlequin rushes out, and Columbine/Nedda’s parting words mimic exactly what she had said to Silvio earlier: “Till tonight, and I shall be yours forever.”

Pagliaccio observes the half-eaten meals and Columbine’s guilty demeanor. He demands to know her lover’s name, slipping out of his portrayal of Pagliaccio and into the reality of Canio’s world. Nedda is at first carefree, then defiant — if deemed unworthy, she demands to be set free. Again the lines between fantasy and reality are blurred, and blinded by rage over her constant denials, Canio stabs Nedda in cold blood. In her cry for help she blurts out Silvio’s name, but as he rushes to her side, Canio murders him as well. As in the Prologue, Tonio again addresses the audience with the final line — the comedy is over.

Act II

The cabaret girls—along with the Emcee in drag—perform a kick line routine which eventually becomes a goose-step. Fräulein Schneider expresses her concerns about her impending nuptials to Herr Schultz, who assures her that everything will be all right (“Married” Reprise). They are interrupted by the crash of a brick being thrown through the glass window of Herr Schultz’s fruit shop. Schultz tries to reassure her that it is merely rowdy children making trouble, but Fräulein Schneider is now afraid.

Back at the Kit Kat Klub, the Emcee performs a song-and-dance routine with a woman in a gorilla suit, singing that their love has been met with universal disapproval (“If You Could See Her”). Encouraging the audience to be more open-minded, he defends his ape-woman, concluding with, “if you could see her through my eyes… she wouldn’t look Jewish at all.” Fräulein Schneider goes to Cliff and Sally’s room and returns their engagement present, explaining that her marriage has been called off. When Cliff protests and states that she can’t just give up this way, she asks him what other choice she has (“What Would You Do?”).

Cliff begs Sally to leave Germany with him so that they can raise their child together in America. Sally protests and claims their sybaritic life in Berlin is wonderful. Cliff urges her to “wake up” and to notice the growing social upheaval around them. Sally retorts that politics have nothing to do with them and returns to the Kit Kat Klub (“I Don’t Care Much”). At the club, after another heated argument with Sally, Cliff is accosted by Ernst, who has another delivery job for him. Cliff tries to brush him off, but when Ernst inquires if Cliff’s attitude towards him is because of “that Jew at the party”, Cliff attacks him—only to be beaten by Ernst’s Nazi bodyguards and expelled from the club. 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 and freedom (“Cabaret”).

The next morning, a bruised Cliff is packing his clothes in his room when Herr Schultz visits. He informs Cliff that he is moving to another boarding house, but he is confident that these difficult times will soon pass. He understands the German people, he declares, because he is a German too. When Sally returns, she announces that she has had an abortion, and Cliff slaps her. He still hopes that she will join him in France, but Sally retorts that she has “always hated Paris.” She hopes that, when Cliff finally writes his novel, he will dedicate the work to her. Cliff leaves, heartbroken.

On the railway train to Paris, Cliff begins to compose 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 and I was dancing with Sally Bowles—and we were both fast asleep” (“Willkommen” Reprise). In the Kit Kat Klub, the Emcee welcomes the audience, and the backdrop raises to reveal a white space with the ensemble standing within. The cabaret ensemble reprises “Willkommen”, but the song is now harsh and discordant as the Emcee sings, “Auf Wiedersehen… à bientôt…” followed by a crescendo drum roll and a cymbal crash.

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Newbie Guide


Sponsored by the Molly Blank Fund of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation

The Discoveries series

The Discoveries series is dedicated to audience members who are seeking new works, new ideas and fresh perspectives. These are not your standard operas.

Locations

As part of The Opera’s effort to bring opera to new audiences all over Atlanta, these productions are performed in exciting alternative venues that we don’t traditionally perform opera in.

Supertitles

Many operas are in a foreign language. Supertitles are similar to subtitles in a film, except they are projected above the stage. These translations will help you follow what’s happening on stage.

What to Wear

There is no dress code at The Opera and you will see everything from jeans to evening gowns and formal suits. Most people use it as a chance to enjoy dressing up in their own style.

Arriving in Good Time

If you are late, you will have to sit the first act in the back and then in the intermission ushers will show you to your seat. Plan ahead to arrive with extra time.

Directions to Discoveries series Venues

Enhance Your Visit

Backstory

Discoveries series performances include events either before or after the performance. As part of the Backstory program, these experiences allow audience members to learn more about the opera, open a conversation around important topics, and participate with the cast in conversation, dancing, and many other formats. Free for ticket holders.

Familiarizing Yourself with the Story

Because of the foreign languages, classical music, and often complex plots, you will very likely enjoy the performance better if you spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with the story and characters in advance. Some people even like to listen to the music in advance and others prefer to let it wash over them during the show and perhaps look it up afterwards.

Composer

John Kander (b. 1927)

John Kander, the composer half of the legendary songwriting team, Kander and Ebb that has produced CabaretWoman of the YearThe Act and the incomparable Chicago, was born in Kansas City, Missouri on March 18, 1927.

Kander began studying music as a child and in his early career worked as a conductor and accompanying pianist for many productions. From 1955 through 1958, Kander was choral director and conductor for the Warwick Musical Theatre in Rhode Island. He was also the pianist for The Amazing Adele and An Evening with Bea Lillie. He was the conductor for the 1957 New York revival of Conversation Piece and arranged the dance music for the productions of Gypsy (1959) and Irma la Douce (1960). Kander made his Broadway composing debut in a 1962 collaboration with James Goldman. The production, A Family Affair, was short-lived but included hit songs such as “Anything For You”, “There’s a Room in My House” and “Harmony”.

In 1964, Kander was introduced to Fred Ebb, a lyricist who had experienced some minor success with novelty tunes.

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The first successful Kander & Ebb collaboration was on the song “My Coloring Book,” recorded by Kitty Kallen, Sandy Stewart, and Barbra Streisand. The duo’s first stage musical, Golden Gate, went unrealized, but it did convince producer Harold Prince to hire them for his new Broadway show Flora, The Red Menace, a satire of Greenwich Village bohemian culture and radical politics that starred Liza Minnelli in her Tony Award-winning Broadway debut. Though not a hit, the show solidified Kander and Ebb as a team and Liza Minnelli as a star.

The next year, Prince commissioned Kander & Ebb to create the score for a musical version of I Am A Camera, which was to be produced under the name of Cabaret. In 1966, Cabaret opened, winning seven Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Score of the Season Award. The original production ran for 1,166 performances, has been revived three times, and produced a 1972 film version starring Liza Minnelli (a role which earned her a Best Actress Oscar Award).

1968 produced two other musicals, The Happy Time and Zorba and three years later the team produced 70, Girls, 70. In 1972, Kander & Ebb wrote a number of songs for Minnelli’s television special, Liza With a Z, which received an Emmy for Outstanding Single Program – Variety or Popular Music.

After contributing five songs, including “How Lucky Can You Get” and “Let’s Hear It For Me,” to the 1975 movie Funny Lady, they launched the Broadway musical Chicago, which was largely overlooked during its original run but was revived to massive success two decades later. Chicago had another incarnation in 2002, when the film version received an Oscar for Best Picture and revived the movie musical.

In 1977, Kander & Ebb collaborated with Martin Scorsese on the movie New York, New York; the title song was introduced by Minnelli, and later recorded by Frank Sinatra, and became the unofficial theme song of New York City. The Minnelli Broadway vehicle The Act also opened that year.

After a four-year absence from Broadway, Kander and Ebb returned with 1981’s Woman of the Year, which starred Lauren Bacall and was based on the 1942 Katharine Hepburn movie. The Rink, which opened in 1984, starred Chita Rivera and Minnelli, with the songs “Colored Lights”, “Chief Cook and Bottle Washer,” and “Mrs. A.” In 1985, Kander & Ebb opened Kiss of the Spider Woman and Steel Pier in 1997.

For nearly five decades, Kander and Ebb have been one of Broadway’s preeminent songwriting teams, the longest-running music-and-lyrics partnership in Broadway musical history. Minnelli once said, “The greatest thing about Kander and Ebb is you sing their songs and you feel good.”

Courtesy Songwriters Hall of Fame

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Lyricist

Fred Ebb (1929-2004)

Fred Ebb, the lyricist half of the legendary songwriting team, Kander & Ebb that has produced CabaretWoman of the YearThe Act and, of course the incomparable Chicago was born in New York City, NY on April 8, 1935.

His lifelong love of the theater began while Ebb was still a child, and independently from the rest of his family, as there was no music ever performed or listened to in his childhood home. He graduated from New York University and following received his Masters Degree in English Literature from Columbia University. In the early 1950’s, Ebb worked at a hosiery company, in a department store credit office, as a trucker’s helper, and bronzed baby shoes.

His first songwriting opportunity came when a friend introduced him to songwriter Phil Springer, a composer whom Ebb credits for teaching prosody, form, AABA as opposed to Verse-Chorus, and technique in general. The Ebb-Springer team worked with eight hours every day writing songs in New York’s famed Brill Building. The first professional songwriting assignment came in 1953 when he and Springer were hired by Columbia Records to write a song for Judy Garland called “Heartbroken.” Highlights from the Springer-Ebb catalog include “How Little We Know”, “Santa Baby”, “Moonlight Gambler” and “Nevertheless I Never Lost the Blues”.

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Throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s, Ebb wrote for nightclub acts and revues, as well as for the television series This Was the Week That Was. After a few unsuccessful Broadway productions, Ebb was introduced to composer John Kander in 1964. The legendary team would stay together for 21 years.

The first successful Kander & Ebb collaboration was on the song “My Coloring Book,” recorded by Kitty Kallen, Sandy Stewart, and Barbra Streisand. The duo’s first stage musical, Golden Gate, went unrealized, but it did convince producer Harold Prince to hire them for his new Broadway show Flora, The Red Menace, a satire of Greenwich Village bohemian culture and radical politics that starred Liza Minnelli in her Tony Award-winning Broadway debut. Though not a hit, the show solidified Kander and Ebb as a team and Liza Minnelli as a star.

The next year, Prince commissioned Kander & Ebb to create the score for a musical version of I Am A Camera, which was to be produced under the name of Cabaret. In 1966, Cabaret opened, winning seven Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Score of the Season Award. The original production ran for 1,166 performances, has been revived three times and produced a 1972 film version starring Liza Minnelli (a role which earned her a Best Actress Oscar Award).

1968 produced two other musicals, The Happy Time and Zorba and three years later the team produced 70, Girls, 70.

In 1972, Kander & Ebb wrote a number of songs for Minnelli’s television special, Liza With a Z, which received an Emmy for Outstanding Single Program – Variety or Popular Music. After contributing five songs, including “How Lucky Can You Get” and “Let’s Hear It For Me,” to the 1975 movie Funny Lady, they launched the Broadway musical Chicago, which was largely overlooked during its original run but was revived to massive success two decades later. Chicago had another incarnation in 2002, when the film version received an Oscar for Best Picture and revived the movie musical.

In 1977, Kander & Ebb collaborated with Martin Scorsese on the movie New York, New York; the title song was introduced by Minnelli, and later recorded by Frank Sinatra, and became the unofficial theme song of New York City. The Minnelli Broadway vehicle The Act also opened that year.

After a four-year absence from Broadway, Kander and Ebb returned with 1981’s Woman of the Year, which starred Lauren Bacall and was based on the 1942 Katharine Hepburn movie. The Rink, which opened in 1984, starred Chita Rivera and Minnelli, with the songs “Colored Lights”, “Chief Cook and Bottle Washer,” and “Mrs. A.” In 1985, Kander & Ebb opened Kiss of the Spider Woman and Steel Pier in 1997. In 1999, Ebb wrote and directed Minnelli on Minnelli, starring Liza Minnelli in a Broadway tribute to the movie musicals directed by her father Vincente Minnelli.

Courtesy Songwriters Hall of Fame

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Conductor

James Lowe

A leading conductor of Opera and Musical Theater, Grammy-nominated musician James Lowe will return to Houston Grand Opera this fall to lead John Caird’s production of La bohéme. This season he will also make return appearances at Lyric Opera of Chicago (West Side Story), Washington National Opera (Jeanine Tesori’s The Lion, The Unicorn and Me), The Glimmerglass Festival (Show Boat) and Utah Opera (The Little Prince). He made his European debut conducting Candide in Francesca Zambello’s production at the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse and Opéra National de Bordeaux, and he recently conducted Turandot at Tulsa Opera. He has also appeared at San Francisco Opera and New York City Opera, as well as on Broadway.

On Broadway, James Lowe was the Music Director and Conductor of the recent revival of Les Misérables, as well as the Tony Award-winning revival of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes, starring Sutton Foster and Joel Grey. He also served as the Music Supervisor for the First National Tour of this production. Mr. Lowe made his Broadway debut conducting performances of Gypsy, starring Patti LuPone.

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As Associate Conductor at Houston Grand Opera for several seasons he served as cover conductor, principal pianist and coach on many productions, including the world premiere of Mark Adamo’s Lysistrata. Mr. Lowe assisted on the world premieres of Carlisle Floyd’s Cold Sassy Tree and Tod Machover’s Resurrection, playing keyboards on the recordings of those operas. He can also be heard as keyboardist on HGO’s popular recording of Adamo’s Little Women. He has been on the music staff of New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Virginia Opera and the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, and served as Resident Conductor and Chorus Master at the Ash Lawn Opera Festival. He has been the Music Director of the Butler Opera Center at the University of Texas, and he appeared onstage as the Tavern Pianist in Santa Fe Opera’s 2001 production of Wozzeck.

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Director

Tomer Zvulun

General and Artistic Director of The Atlanta Opera since 2013, Israeli born Tomer Zvulun is also one of leading stage director of his generation, earning consistent praise for his creative vision and innovative interpretations. His work has been presented by prestigious opera houses in Europe, South and Central America, Israel and the US, including The Metropolitan Opera, Washington National Opera, Seattle Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas, San Diego, Boston, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Montreal, Buenos Aires, Israeli Opera, and the festivals of Wexford, Glimmerglass and Wolf Trap, as well as leading educational institutes and universities such as The Juilliard School, Indiana University, and Boston University.

Tomer spent seven seasons on the directing staff of the Metropolitan Opera where he directed revivals of Carmen and Tosca and was involved with more than a dozen new productions. He is a frequent guest director in companies such as Seattle Opera (Semele, La Bohème, Eugene Onegin, Lucia di Lammermoor), Dallas Opera (Die Fledermaus, La Bohème), Houston (Flying Dutchman, Rigoletto), Wexford Festival (Silent Night, Dinner at Eight), Cincinnati Opera (Magic Flute, Don Giovanni, Flying Dutchman), Wolf Trap (Falstaff, Don Giovanni), Israeli Opera (Dead Man Walking, Giulio Cesare) among others. His European premiere of Silent Night at the Wexford Festival received two Irish Times Awards and traveled from Ireland to Washington National Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival and the opera companies of Atlanta, Austin and Salt Lake City.

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Zvulun directed over 15 new productions in his home company in Atlanta, including Dead Man Walking, Flying Dutchman, Soldier Songs, Silent Night, Maria de Buenos Aires, La Boheme, Madama Butterfly, Lucia di Lammermoor, Magic Flute, and Eugene Onegin to name but a few. During Tomer’s tenure, the company’s fundraising has tripled, resulting in twice the number of productions presented annually. His focus on innovation has garnered national attention and resulted in a Harvard Business School case study chronicling The Atlanta Opera’s turnaround, an International Opera Awards nomination, an ArtsATL Luminary Award, and an invitation to deliver a TEDx Talk about innovation in opera.

His upcoming projects include a new Rigoletto in Houston; a new Salome in Atlanta and Kansas City; revivals of his acclaimed production of Eugene Onegin in Montreal, Seattle and Palm Beach; Silent Night at Utah Opera; and Madama Butterfly and Glory Denied in Atlanta. He is currently working on developing a world premiere based on Anne Frank’s Diary and Sensorium Ex, a world premiere based on a story about artificial intelligence.

Tomer’s recent shows have traveled across continents, receiving critical acclaim for their striking visuals and cinematic quality. Some of them included The Flying Dutchman (Houston, Cincinnati, Atlanta), Dinner at Eight (Wexford Festival, Minnesota Opera), Eugene Onegin (Seattle, Atlanta, Detroit, Kansas City), Lucia di Lammermoor (Seattle, Atlanta, Cleveland) Silent Night (Wexford, Atlanta, Glimmerglass, Washington, Austin), Soldier Songs (Atlanta, San Diego), Dead Man Walking (New Orleans, Atlanta), La Bohème (Seattle, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Atlanta, Dallas), Lucrezia Borgia (Buenos Aires), Gianni Schicchi (Juilliard, IVAI Tel Aviv), L’heaure Espagnole (Juilliard), Magic Flute (Cincinnati, Atlanta, Indiana University), Don Giovanni (Wolf Trap, Cincinnati), Die Fledermaus (Dallas, Kansas City), Falstaff (Wolf Trap, Des Moines), Rigoletto (Boston, Atlanta, Omaha, Charlotte), Madama Butterfly (Atlanta, Castleton Festival, New Orleans), Tosca (National Theatre Panama, Atlanta) and Semele (Seattle).

Tomer Zvulun was born and raised in Israel, attended the open University in Tel Aviv and Harvard Business School and makes his home in Atlanta.

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