Cabaret (musical)

Cabaret is a 1966 musical with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Joe Masteroff, based on John Van Druten's 1951 play I Am a Camera, which was adapted from the short novel Goodbye to Berlin (1939) by Christopher Isherwood. Set in 1931 Berlin as the Nazis are rising to power, it focuses on the nightlife at the seedy Kit Kat Klub, and revolves around American writer Cliff Bradshaw and his relationship with English cabaret performer Sally Bowles.

Original Broadway cast recording
MusicJohn Kander
LyricsFred Ebb
BookJoe Masteroff
BasisI Am a Camera
by John Van Druten
Goodbye to Berlin
by Christopher Isherwood
See list
  • 1966 Boston (tryout)
  • 1966 Broadway
  • 1967 U.S. tour
  • 1968 West End
  • 1969 U.S. tour
  • 1972 Film
  • 1986 West End
  • 1987 U.S. tour
  • 1987 Broadway
  • 1989 U.S. tour
  • 1993 West End
  • 1998 Broadway
  • 1999 North American tour
  • 2006 West End
  • 2008 U.K. tour
  • 2012 U.K. tour
  • 2012 West End
  • 2013 U.K. Tour
  • 2014 Broadway
  • 2016 North American tour
  • 2017 U.K. tour
  • 2019 U.K. tour

A sub-plot involves the doomed romance between German boarding house owner Fräulein Schneider and her elderly suitor Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit vendor. Overseeing the action is the Master of Ceremonies at the Kit Kat Klub. The club serves as a metaphor for ominous political developments in late Weimar Germany.

The 1966 original Broadway production became a hit, inspiring numerous subsequent productions in London and New York, as well as the 1972 film of the same name.


Sandy Wilson, who had achieved success with The Boy Friend in the 1950s, had completed the book and most of the score for Goodbye to Berlin, his adaptation of Van Druten's play I Am a Camera, when he discovered that producer David Black's option on both the 1951 Van Druten play and its source material by Christopher Isherwood had lapsed and been acquired by Harold Prince. Prince commissioned Joe Masteroff to work on the book. When Prince and Masteroff agreed that Wilson's score failed to capture the essence of late-1920s Berlin, John Kander and Fred Ebb were invited to join the project.

The new version was initially a dramatic play preceded by a prologue of songs describing the Berlin atmosphere from various points of view. As the composers began to distribute the songs between scenes, they realized the story could be told in the structure of a more traditional book musical, and they replaced some of the songs with tunes more relevant to the plot. Isherwood's original characters were changed as well. The male lead became an American writer who teaches English; the anti-Semitic landlady was transformed into a tolerant woman with a Jewish beau, Herr Schultz, who owned a fruit store; two language students were eliminated; and two characters—prostitute Fräulein Kost and Nazi Ernst Ludwig—were added to the mix. The musical ultimately expressed two stories in one: the first, a revue centered on the decadence of the seedy Kit Kat Klub; the second, a story set in the society of the club.[1]

After seeing one of the last rehearsals before the company headed to Boston for the pre-Broadway run, Jerome Robbins suggested the musical sequences outside the cabaret be eliminated. Prince ignored his advice. In Boston, Jill Haworth struggled with her characterization of cabaret performer Sally Bowles; critics thought the blonde dressed in a white dress suggested senior prom more than tawdry nightclub, so Sally was changed to brunette before the show opened on Broadway.[2]

Prince's staging was unusual for the time. As the audience filled the theater, the curtain was already up, revealing a stage containing only a large mirror reflecting the auditorium. There was no overture; instead, a drum roll and cymbal crash led into the opening number. The juxtaposition of dialogue scenes with songs used as exposition and separate cabaret numbers providing social commentary was a novel concept that initially startled the audience, but as they gradually came to understand the difference between the two, they were able to accept the reasoning behind them.[3]


Original Broadway production

The musical opened on Broadway on November 20, 1966, at the Broadhurst Theatre, transferred to the Imperial Theatre and then the Broadway Theatre before closing on September 6, 1969, after 1,165 performances and 21 previews.[4] Directed by Harold Prince and choreographed by Ron Field, the cast featured Jill Haworth as Sally, Bert Convy as Cliff, Lotte Lenya as Fräulein Schneider, Jack Gilford as Herr Schultz, Joel Grey as the Master of Ceremonies (Emcee), Edward Winter as Ernst, and Peg Murray as Fräulein Kost. Replacements later in the run included Anita Gillette and Melissa Hart as Sally, Ken Kercheval and Larry Kert as Cliff, and Martin Ross as the Emcee. In addition, John Serry Sr. performed as the orchestral accordionist.

The 1967–68 US national tour featured Melissa Hart (Sally), Signe Hasso (Fräulein Schneider) and Leo Fuchs (Herr Schultz). The tour included the Shubert Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut in December 1967; the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles; Cleveland, Ohio; Baltimore, Maryland; and Atlanta, Georgia.[5]

Original London production

The musical premiered in the West End on February 28, 1968, at the Palace Theatre with Judi Dench as Sally, Kevin Colson as Cliff, Barry Dennen as the Emcee, Lila Kedrova as Fräulein Schneider and Peter Sallis as Herr Schultz. It ran for 336 performances.[6]

1986 London revival

In 1986, the show was revived in London at the Strand Theatre starring Kelly Hunter as Sally, Peter Land as Cliff and Wayne Sleep as the Emcee, directed and choreographed by Gillian Lynne.

1987 Broadway revival

The first Broadway revival opened on October 22, 1987, with direction and choreography by Prince and Field. The revival opened at the Imperial Theatre, and then transferred to the Minskoff Theatre to complete its 261-performance run. Joel Grey received star billing as the Emcee, with Alyson Reed as Sally, Gregg Edelman as Cliff, Regina Resnik as Fräulein Schneider, Werner Klemperer as Herr Schultz, and David Staller as Ernst Ludwig. The song "Don't Go" was added for Cliff's character.

1993 London revival

In 1993, Sam Mendes directed a new production for the Donmar Warehouse in London's West End. It starred Jane Horrocks as Sally, Adam Godley as Cliff, Alan Cumming as the Emcee and Sara Kestelman as Fräulein Schneider. Cumming received an Olivier Award nomination for his performance and Kestelman won the Olivier for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical. Mendes's conception was very different from either the original production or the conventional first revival.

The most significant change was the character of the Emcee. The role, as played by Joel Grey in both prior incarnations, was an asexual, edgy character dressed in a tuxedo with rouged cheeks. Alan Cumming's portrayal was highly sexualized, as he wore suspenders (i.e. braces) around his crotch and red paint on his nipples.[7]

Staging details differed as well; instead of "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" being performed by a male choir, the Emcee plays a recording of a boy soprano singing it. In the final scene, the Emcee removes his outer clothes to reveal a striped suit of the type worn by the internees in concentration camps; on it are pinned a yellow badge (identifying Jews) and a pink triangle (denoting homosexuals). Other changes included added references to Cliff's bisexuality, including a brief scene where he kisses one of the Cabaret boys.[8] "I Don't Care Much", which was cut from the original production, was reinstated, and "Mein Herr" was added from the film.

1998 Broadway revival

The second Broadway revival was based on the 1993 Mendes-Donmar Warehouse production. For the Broadway transfer, Rob Marshall was co-director and choreographer. The production opened after 37 previews on March 19, 1998, at the Kit Kat Klub, housed in what previously had been known as Henry Miller's Theatre. Later that year it transferred to Studio 54, where it remained for the rest of its 2,377-performance run, becoming the third longest-running revival in Broadway musical history, third only to Oh! Calcutta! and Chicago. For the Broadway production, Cumming reprised his role as the Emcee, opposite newcomers Natasha Richardson as Sally, John Benjamin Hickey as Cliff, Ron Rifkin as Herr Schultz, Denis O'Hare as Ernst Ludwig, Michele Pawk as Fräulein Kost, and Mary Louise Wilson as Fräulein Schneider, along with Joyce Chittick, Leenya Rideout, Erin Hill, Christina Pawl, Kristen Olness, Michael O'Donnell, Bill Szobody and Fred Rose. The Broadway production was nominated for ten Tony Awards, winning four for Cumming, Richardson and Rifkin, as well as the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical. This production featured a number of notable replacements later in the run: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Susan Egan, Joely Fisher, Gina Gershon, Deborah Gibson, Teri Hatcher, Melina Kanakaredes, Jane Leeves, Molly Ringwald, Brooke Shields, and Lea Thompson as Sally; Michael C. Hall, Raúl Esparza, Neil Patrick Harris, Adam Pascal, Jon Secada, Norbert Leo Butz and John Stamos as the Emcee; Boyd Gaines and Michael Hayden as Cliff; Tom Bosley, Dick Latessa, Hal Linden, Laurence Luckinbill, and Tony Roberts as Herr Schultz; and Blair Brown, Polly Bergen, Mariette Hartley and Carole Shelley as Fräulein Schneider.

There were a number of changes made between the 1993 and 1998 revivals, despite the similarities in creative team. The cabaret number "Two Ladies" was staged with the Emcee, a cabaret girl, and a cabaret boy in drag and included a shadow play simulating various sexual positions.[8] The score was entirely re-orchestrated, using synthesizer effects and expanding the stage band, with all the instruments now being played by the cabaret girls and boys. The brutally satiric "Sitting Pretty", with its mocking references to deprivation, despair and hunger, was eliminated entirely, as it had been in the film version, and where in the 1993 revival it had been combined with "Money" (as it had been in 1987 London production), "Money" was now performed on its own. "Maybe This Time", from the film adaptation, was added to the score.[8]

2006 London revival

In September 2006, a new production of the show opened at the Lyric Theatre, directed by Rufus Norris,[9] and starring Anna Maxwell Martin as Sally, James Dreyfus as the Emcee, Harriet Thorpe as Fräulein Kost, and Sheila Hancock as Fräulein Schneider. Hancock won the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical. Replacements later in the run included Kim Medcalf and Amy Nuttall as Sally, Honor Blackman and Angela Richards as Fräulein Schneider, and Julian Clary and Alistair McGowan as the Emcee. This production closed in June 2008 and toured nationally for two years with a cast that included Wayne Sleep as the Emcee and Samantha Barks and Siobhan Dillon as Sally.

2012 London revival

A revival opened in the West End at the Savoy Theatre on October 3, 2012, following a four-week tour of the UK, including Bromley, Southampton, Nottingham, Norwich and Salford.[10] Will Young played the Emcee and Michelle Ryan portrayed Sally Bowles.[11] It was announced on August 10, 2012, that Siân Phillips, Harriet Thorpe and Matt Rawle would also be joining the cast. The production was made by the creative team behind the 2006 London revival, but they created a different set, lighting, costumes, choreography and direction. The 2012 revival focused more on comic aspects but still expressed the harshness of 1931 Germany.[12] In August 2013 the show went on tour, again with Young as The Emcee, Siobhan Dillon reprising her role of Sally and Lyn Paul joining the cast as Fräulein Schneider.[13]

The production toured the UK in autumn 2017 with Young reprising his role as the Emcee and Louise Redknapp as Sally Bowles.[14]

Another UK tour will begin in autumn 2019 starring John Partridge as the Emcee, Kara Lily Hayworth as Sally Bowles and Anita Harris as Fräulein Schneider.

2014 Broadway revival

In September 2013 Roundabout Theatre Company announced plans to return the company's acclaimed 1998 production to Studio 54 in New York.[15] For this, the show's third Broadway revival, Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall reprised their respective roles as director and co-director/choreographer to recreate their work from the earlier production. Alan Cumming starred again as the Emcee while Academy Award-nominee Michelle Williams made her Broadway debut as Sally Bowles. On October 7, 2013, Tony Award nominees Danny Burstein and Linda Emond joined the cast as Herr Schultz and Fräulein Schneider.[16] The production began a 24-week limited engagement with previews from March 21, 2014 with opening night on April 24, 2014. This engagement was later extended to a 36-week run concluding on January 4, 2015.[17]

On August 21, 2014 it was officially confirmed that Emma Stone would replace Michelle Williams as Sally until February 1, 2015 after Williams left the production on November 9, and Alan Cumming would continue in the role of The Emcee until the show's closing date in March 2015.[18] The Roundabout Theatre Company announced on January 5, 2015, that Stone would extend her run as Sally until February 15.[19] On February 17, Sienna Miller replaced Stone as Sally through to the show's closing on March 29, 2015.[20]

The production later toured the US from January 2016 with Randy Harrison as the Emcee and Andrea Goss (following her appearance as Frenchie in the Broadway production). They were later replaced by Jon Peterson and Leigh Ann Larkin.

Other productions

The Octagon Theatre, Bolton (UK)(1993)[21]. Directed by Ian Forest, designed by Ashley Sharp; starring Ashley Artus (Manchester Evening News Drama Award Nomination for his performance) as the Emcee, Deborah McAndrew, and Bill Champion.

A BBC Radio 2 radio broadcast in 1996 at the Golders Green Hippodrome starred Claire Burt (Sally Bowles), Steven Berkoff (Emcee), Alex Hanson (Clifford Bradshaw), Keith Michell (Herr Schultz), and Rosemary Leach (Fräulein Schneider).

Since 2003, there have been successful international stagings of the show (many of which have been influenced by Mendes' concept), including productions in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, France, Greece, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, and Venezuela. In 2008, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival performed an extremely powerful production at the Avon Theatre designed by Douglas Paraschuk and directed by Amanda Dehnert,[22] featuring Bruce Dow as the Emcee, Trish Lindström as Sally, Sean Arbuckle as Cliff, Nora McClellan as Fräulein Schneider and Frank Moore as Herr Schultz.

The Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, included Cabaret in its 2014 season.[23] The production, which ran from April 10 – October 26, 2014 at the Festival Theatre, was directed by Peter Hinton (influenced by the Mendes production) with choreography by Denise Clarke and featured Juan Chioran as the Emcee, Deborah Hay as Sally, Gray Powell as Cliff, Benedict Campbell as Herr Schultz, Corrine Koslo as Fräulein Schneider, and Jay Turvey as Ernst.

A new major revival production with new direction played Sydney and Melbourne, Australia in 2017. The production starred Paul Capsis as the Emcee and Chelsea Gibb as Sally. The production mixed elements of the Mendes production, such as its version of "Two Ladies" and its portrayal of a gay Cliff, with the highly colourful art design of the original (the Emcee is in full makeup and clothed) and most of the additional songs from the 1972 film (with the exception of "Mein Herr").[24]

A videotaped UK TV production was produced in 1993 starring Alan Cumming.[25][26]

Since 1992 ten Polish productions of Cabaret were premiered, with the last one played from January 8, 2016 at Teatr Dramatyczny in Warsaw.[27]


Act I

At the dawn of the 1930s in Berlin, the Nazi Party is growing stronger. The Kit Kat Klub is a seedy cabaret, a place of decadent celebration. The Klub's Master of Ceremonies, or M.C. (Emcee), together with the cabaret girls and waiters, warm up the audience ("Willkommen"). In a train station, Cliff Bradshaw arrives, a young American writer coming to Berlin to work on his new novel. He meets Ernst Ludwig, a German who offers Cliff work and recommends a boarding house. At the boarding house, Fräulein Schneider offers Cliff a room for one hundred marks; he can only pay fifty. After a brief debate, she relents and lets Cliff live there for fifty marks. Fräulein Schneider observes that she has learned to take whatever life offers ("So What?").

As Cliff visits the Kit Kat Klub, the Emcee introduces a British singer, Sally, who performs a racy, flirtatious number ("Don't Tell Mama"). Afterward, she asks Cliff to recite poetry for her; he recites "Casey at the Bat". Cliff offers to take 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 the female ensemble ("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").

The next day, Cliff has just finished giving Ernst an English lesson when Sally arrives. Max has fired her and thrown her out, and now she has no place to live, and so she asks him if she can live in his room. At first he resists, but she convinces him (and Fräulein Schneider) to take her in ("Perfectly Marvelous"). The Emcee and two female companions sing a song ("Two Ladies") that comments on Cliff and Sally's unusual living conditions. Herr Schultz, an elderly Jewish fruit-shop owner who lives in her boardinghouse, has given Fräulein Schneider a pineapple as a gift ("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. (In the 1998 and 2014 revivals, this is replaced by the Emcee playing a recording of a boy soprano).

Months later, Cliff and Sally are still living together and have fallen in love. 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 the father and reluctantly decides to get an abortion. Cliff reminds her that it could be his child, and seems to convince her to have the baby. ("Maybe This Time") Ernst enters and offers Cliff a job—picking up a suitcase in Paris and delivering it to his "client" in Berlin—easy money. The Emcee comments on this with the song "Sitting Pretty" (or, in later versions, "Money").

Meanwhile, Fräulein Schneider has caught one of her boarders, Fräulein Kost, bringing sailors into her room. Fräulein Schneider forbids her from doing it again, but Fräulein Kost threatens to leave. She also mentions 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 leaves, 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 to Ernst. A tipsy Herr 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, looking for revenge on Fräulein Schneider, Fräulein Kost tells Ernst, who now sports a Nazi armband, that Schultz is a Jew. Ernst warns Fräulein Schneider that marrying a Jew may not be wise. 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 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 union 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 window of Herr Schultz's fruit shop. Schultz tries to reassure her that it is just children making trouble, but Fräulein Schneider is afraid.

Back at the Kit Kat Klub, the Emcee performs a song-and-dance routine with a girl 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." (The line was intended to shock the audience and make them consider how easily and unthinkingly they accepted prejudice, but protests and boycott threats from Jewish leaders in Boston led Ebb to write an alternate final line, "She isn't a Meeskite at all."[28]) 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, saying that she can't just give up this way, she asks him what other choice she has ("What Would You Do?").

Cliff tells Sally that he is taking her back to America so that they can raise their 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. Sally retorts that politics have nothing to do with them or their affairs. Following their argument, Sally returns to the club ("I Don't Care Much") (in the 1998 Broadway and 2012 London revivals, Sally takes cocaine before leaving Cliff's room). At the Kit Kat Klub 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 asks if Cliff's attitude towards him is because of "that Jew at the party", Cliff attacks him—only to be badly beaten up by Ernst's Nazi bodyguards and dragged out of 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, the bruised Cliff is packing, when Herr Schultz visits. He tells Cliff that he is moving to another boardinghouse, but is 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 has had an abortion; Cliff slaps her. He still hopes that she will join him, but Sally says that she has "always hated Paris" and hopes that when Cliff finally writes his novel, he will dedicate it to her. Cliff 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 us (in the 1998 revival, he strips off his overcoat to reveal a concentration camp prisoner's uniform marked with a yellow Star of David and a pink triangle), and the backdrop raises to reveal white space with the ensemble standing within. The cabaret ensemble reprises "Willkommen", but it is now harsh and violent as the Emcee sings, "Auf Wiedersehen...à bientôt..." followed by a crescendo drum roll and a cymbal crash. Some productions have the white space then flashing with a strobe effect, implying the cabaret performers, except for Sally (who is not standing in the white space), will fall victim to Nazi atrocities towards the Jews and gays.


  • Sally Bowles – The headlining British singer at the Kit Kat Klub
  • The Emcee – The Master of Ceremonies at the Kit Kat Klub, a leering, ghoulish, flamboyant figure
  • Clifford "Cliff" Bradshaw – An American writer traveling through Berlin
  • Fräulein Schneider – An older German woman who runs the boarding house that Cliff and Sally live in
  • Herr Schultz – An elderly Jewish fruit shop owner who falls in love with Fräulein Schneider
  • Ernst Ludwig – A German man who befriends Cliff when he arrives in Berlin, later revealed to be a Nazi.
  • Fräulein Kost – A German prostitute who rents in Fräulein Schneider's boarding house
  • Rosie, LuLu, Frenchie, Texas, Fritzie, and Helga – Girls who perform at the Kit Kat Klub
  • Bobby, Victor, Hans, and Herman – The Cabaret Boys of the Kit Kat Klub
  • Boy Soprano – A young boy involved in the Nazi Party
  • Max – Owner of the Kit Kat Klub


Role Original Broadway Original London 1972 film 1986 London Revival 1987 Broadway Revival 1993 London Revival 1998 Broadway Revival 2006 London Revival 2012 London Revival 2014 Broadway Revival 2016 US tour 2017 UK Tour
The Emcee Joel Grey Barry Dennen Joel Grey Wayne Sleep Joel Grey Alan Cumming James Dreyfus Will Young Alan Cumming Randy Harrison Will Young
Sally Bowles Jill Haworth Judi Dench Liza Minnelli Kelly Hunter Alyson Reed Jane Horrocks Natasha Richardson Anna Maxwell Martin Michelle Ryan Michelle Williams Andrea Goss Louise Redknapp
Clifford Bradshaw Bert Convy Kevin Colson Michael York Peter Land Gregg Edelman Adam Godley John Benjamin Hickey Michael Hayden Matt Rawle Bill Heck Lee Aaron Rosen Charles Hagerty
Fräulein Schneider Lotte Lenya Lila Kedrova Elisabeth Neumann-Viertel Vivienne Martin Regina Resnik Sara Kestelman Mary Louise Wilson Sheila Hancock Siân Phillips Linda Emond Shannon Cochran Susan Penhaligon
Herr Schultz Jack Gilford Peter Sallis N/A Oscar Quitak Werner Klemperer George Raistrick Ron Rifkin Geoffrey Hutchings Linal Haft Danny Burstein Mark Nelson Linal Haft
Ernst Ludwig Edward Winter Richard Owens Ralf Wolter Rodney Cottam David Staller Michael Gardiner Denis O'Hare Andrew Maud Nicholas Tizzard Aaron Krohn Ned Noyes Nicholas Tizzard
Fräulein Kost Peg Murray Pamela Strong Helen Vita Grazine Frame Nora Mae Lyng Charlotte Medcalf Michele Pawk Harriet Thorpe Gayle Rankin Alison Ewing Basienka Blake


Every production of Cabaret has modified the original score, with songs being changed, cut, or added from the film version. This is a collective list featuring all songs from every major production.


  • "Telephone Song" was cut in the 1998, 2012, and 2014 revivals, replaced by "Mein Herr".
  • The character Bobby replaced one of the ladies in "Two Ladies" for the 1998 and 2014 revivals.
  • For the 1998 and 2014 revivals, "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" was changed from a group number by the waiters in the cabaret to a gramophone recording of a boy tenor singing the song, with the leading player speaking the last words.
  • "Don't Go" replaced "Why Should I Wake Up?" in the 1987 revival but was removed from the score afterwards.
  • "Maybe This Time", a song from the film, was added in the 1998, 2012, and 2014 revivals.
  • "Money", a song from the film, was blended with "Sitting Pretty" in the 1987 revival; it replaced "Sitting Pretty" in the 1998 and 2014 revivals.
  • For the 1998 revival, Fräulein Kost sang the film's German translation of "Married" after two English verses.
  • "Meeskite" was cut in the 1987, 1998, 2012, and 2014 revivals.
  • "Married (Reprise)" was cut in the 2012 revival.
  • "I Don't Care Much" was added for the 1987, 1998, 2012, and 2014 revivals.

Notes on the music

Of the prologue of songs originally planned, only "Willkommen" remained. One of the dropped numbers, "I Don't Care Much", was eventually restored to the 1987 production. "Roommates" was replaced by "Perfectly Marvelous", but largely serves the same purpose, for Sally to convince Cliff to let her move in with him. "Good Time Charlie" was to be sung by Sally to Cliff while they are on their way to Fräulein Schneider and Herr Schultz's engagement party, with Sally mocking the overly dour and pessimistic Cliff with the lines "You're such a good time Charlie/What'll we do with you?/You're such a good-time Charlie/frolicking all the time..."). "It'll All Blow Over" was planned for the end of the first act: Fräulein Schneider is concerned that marrying a Jew might not be wise, and Cliff is concerned about the city's growing Nazism. In the song, Sally tells them both that they have nothing to worry about and that all will turn out well in the end. She eventually convinces Cliff and Fräulein Schneider to sing the song with her. (Both this song and "Roommates" are occasionally underscored by the ostinato rhythm of the piece.) These three deleted songs were recorded by Kander and Ebb, and the sheet music for the songs was included in The Complete Cabaret Collection, a book of vocal selections from the musical.

The song "Mein Herr", which was written for the 1972 film, and "Maybe This Time" (an earlier song of Kander and Ebb's, written for the unproduced musical Golden Gate) were included in the 1998 revival. In this revival, "Mein Herr" replaced "The Telephone Song", which already had a small appearance before "Don't Tell Mama". "Maybe This Time" replaced "Why Should I Wake Up?", and was sung by Sally in her own personal reflection (both were included in the 2006 London revival). Previously, in the 1987 revival, a new song was written for Cliff entitled "Don't Go".

In addition, there were two "Money" songs. Originally, the song "Sitting Pretty" was sung by the Emcee and backed up by the Cabaret Girls in international costumes and their units of currency (representing Russian rubles, Japanese yen, French francs, American dollars, and German reichsmarks). For the movie, this number was then replaced by "Money, Money", and sung by the Emcee and Sally Bowles. However, "Sitting Pretty" was still heard briefly in the film. For the 1987 revival, there was a special version comprising a medley of both money songs, and motifs from the later song were incorporated into the "international" dance that had "Sitting Pretty". For the 1998 revival, only the later song written for the movie was used. This version added the Cabaret Girls, and had a darker and raunchier edge to it.


The first recording of Cabaret was the original cast album, with some of the songs (especially "Sitting Pretty"/"The Money Song") heavily edited to save disk space, and others (especially "Telephone Song") taken at a faster tempo. When this album was released on compact disc, Kander and Ebb's voice-and-piano recordings of songs cut from the musical were added as bonus material.

The 1972 movie soundtrack with Liza Minnelli is perhaps the best-known of the recordings, although the movie is much re-written and eliminates all but six of the original songs from the stage production.

The original London cast recording (1968) was released in the UK and reissued on the CBS Embassy label in 1973. Both the 1986 London and 1998 Broadway revival casts were recorded.

A 1999 two-CD studio recording contains more or less the entire score, including songs written for the movie or for later productions, and many incidentals and instrumentals not usually recorded. This recording features Jonathan Pryce as the Emcee, Maria Friedman as Sally, Gregg Edelman as Cliff, Judi Dench as Fräulein Schneider, and Fred Ebb as Herr Schultz.

The most recent recording of Cabaret is the cast recording of the 2006/2007 London revival at the Lyric Theatre. The recording includes James Dreyfus as emcee and Anna Maxwell Martin as Sally Bowles. The recording peaked number 107 on the French Albums Chart[29] and number 49 and the Dutch Albums Chart.[30]

In addition to these recordings, cast albums for the French, Spanish, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Austrian, Dutch, and two German productions have been released.[31]


Cabaret uses this instrumentation in some productions:

Awards and honors

Original Broadway production

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1967 Tony Award Best Musical Won
Best Original Score John Kander and Fred Ebb Won
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Jack Gilford Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Lotte Lenya Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Joel Grey Won
Edward Winter Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Peg Murray Won
Best Direction of a Musical Harold Prince Won
Best Choreography Ron Field Won
Best Scenic Design Boris Aronson Won
Best Costume Design Patricia Zipprodt Won
New York Drama Critics Circle Best Musical Won
Outer Critics Circle Award Best Musical Won

1987 Broadway revival

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1987 Tony Award Best Revival of a Musical Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Werner Klemperer Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Alyson Reed Nominated
Regina Resnik Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Revival of a Musical Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Joel Grey Nominated
Outstanding Director of a Musical Harold Prince Nominated

1993 London revival

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1994 Laurence Olivier Award Best Musical Revival Nominated
Best Actor in a Musical Alan Cumming Nominated
Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical Sara Kestelman Won
Best Director of a Musical Sam Mendes Nominated

1998 Broadway revival

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1998 Tony Award Best Revival of a Musical Won
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Alan Cumming Won
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Natasha Richardson Won
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Ron Rifkin Won
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Mary Louise Wilson Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall Nominated
Best Choreography Rob Marshall Nominated
Best Orchestrations Michael Gibson Nominated
Best Costume Design William Ivey Long Nominated
Best Lighting Design Peggy Eisenhauer and Mike Baldassari Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Revival of a Musical Won
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Alan Cumming Won
Outstanding Actress in a Musical Natasha Richardson Won
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Michele Pawk Nominated
Outstanding Director Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall Nominated
Outstanding Choreography Rob Marshall Nominated
Outstanding Orchestrations Michael Gibson Nominated
Outstanding Set Design Robert Brill Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design William Ivey Long Nominated
Outstanding Lighting Design Peggy Eisenhauer and Mike Baldassari Nominated
Drama League Award Distinguished Production of a Revival Won
New York Drama Critics Circle Special Citation Won
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Revival of a Musical Won
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Alan Cumming Won
Outstanding Actress in a Musical Natasha Richardson Won
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Ron Rifkin Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Michele Pawk Nominated
Outstanding Choreography Rob Marshall Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design William Ivey Long Nominated
Outstanding Director of a Musical Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall Nominated
Outstanding Lighting Design Peggy Eisenhauer and Mike Baldassari Nominated
Theatre World Award Outstanding Broadway Debut Alan Cumming Won

2006 London revival

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2007 Laurence Olivier Award Best Musical Revival Nominated
Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical Sheila Hancock Won
Best Theatre Choreographer Javier de Frutos Won

2012 London revival

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2013 Laurence Olivier Award Best Musical Revival Nominated
Best Actor in a Musical Will Young Nominated
Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical Siân Phillips Nominated

2014 Broadway revival

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2014 Tony Award
Best Featured Actor in a Musical Danny Burstein Nominated
Best Featured Actress in a Musical Linda Emond Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Danny Burstein Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Revival of a Musical Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Musical Michelle Williams Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Danny Burstein Nominated
Fred and Adele Astaire Award Outstanding Choreographer in a Broadway Show Rob Marshall Nominated
Outstanding Female Dancer in a Broadway Show Gayle Rankin Nominated


  • Mordden, Ethan (2001). Open a New Window: The Broadway Musical in the 1960s. New York: Palgrave. ISBN 0-312-23952-1.
  • Green, Stanley (1980). Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80113-2.
  • Jones, John Bush (2003). Our musicals, ourselves: a social history of the American musical theatre. University Press of New England. p. 243. ISBN 9780874519044.


  1. Mordden 2001, pp. 152–54
  2. Bloom & Vlastnik, Ken & Frank (2004). Broadway Musicals – The 101 Greatest Shows of All Time. New York City: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc. pp. 47–49. ISBN 1-57912-390-2.
  3. Mordden 2001, pp. 156–57
  4. Cabaret (1966–69) at the Internet Broadway Database
  5. "Cabaret National Tour, 1967", Retrieved July 5, 2016
  6. Green 1980, p. 53
  7. Reice, Sylvie (March 10, 1998). "Cabaret by Sylvie Reice". Curtain Up Review.
  8. Brantley, Ben (March 20, 1998). "Desperate Dance at Oblivion's Brink". The New York Times.
  9. "Listing for 2006 revival". Retrieved July 29, 2010.
  10. "Will Young to make West End musical debut in Cabaret". BBC News. May 18, 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
  11. "Michelle Ryan to join Will Young in Cabaret revival". BBC News. May 25, 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
  12. "Heads it's Lia – tails it's Kristin: The toss of a coin will decide leading lady for Harold Pinter's revived play". Daily Mail. August 10, 2012. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
  13. Rosie Bannister (June 26, 2013). "Will Young returns to emcee Cabaret tour – Theatre News". What's on Stage. Retrieved September 9, 2013. Will Young is set to reprise his role of Emcee in a UK tour of Rufus Norris's production of Cabaret, which will open at the New Wimbledon Theatre on 28 August 2013.
  14. "Louise Redknapp to join Will Young in new tour of Cabaret | WhatsOnStage". Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  15. "Willkommenn! Roundabout Will Welcome Tony-Winning Cabaret Back to Broadway With Alan Cumming and Michelle Williams in 2014". Playbill. September 4, 2013. Archived from the original on November 5, 2013. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  16. "Danny Burstein and Linda Emond to Play 'Herr Schultz' and 'Fräulein Schneider' in Cabaret Revival". Broadway World. October 7, 2013.
  17. "Michelle Williams extends run in Broadway's Cabaret". Broadway World. July 21, 2014.
  18. "Emma Stone to join Broadway's Cabaret in November". Daily News. New York. August 20, 2014. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
  19. "Emma Stone extends Cabaret run on Broadway". Entertainment Weekly. January 5, 2015.
  20. "Sienna Miller to replace Emma Stone in Broadway's Cabaret". Entertainment Weekly. January 7, 2015.
  21. "Cabaret (musical) at The Octagon Theatre, Bolton". The British Newspaper Archive. November 21, 1993. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  22. "Stratford Festival Review: Terrific Cabaret in both senses of the word". Southwestern Ontario news. Archived from the original on January 13, 2015.
  23. "Cabaret Festival Theatre, April 10 – October 26". Shaw Festival. Archived from the original on November 19, 2013.
  24. Cabaret Archived November 6, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, 2017 Australian production
  25. Cabaret (1993 UK videotaped TV production starring Alan Cumming) on IMDb
  26. Cabaret (1993 UK videotaped TV production) on YouTube
  27. Cabaret on
  28. Jones 2003, p. 243
  29. Musical – Cabaret (Album). Retrieved August 8, 2013. (in France).
  30. Musical – Cabaret (Album). Retrieved August 8, 2013. (in Dutch).
  31. "Cast album information". Cast Album DB.
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