Everything you need to know about ‘Cabaret’ in London
Welcome to the Kit Kat Club. An ever-changing world where artists roam free and nothing is off limits. For the first time, audiences can step inside the Kit Kat Club at a newly-reconfigured Playhouse Theatre to experience Cabaret like never before.
What is Cabaret about?
Nowhere celebrates the Jazz Age quite like the Kit Kat Club. The Kit Kat Club isn’t just a building though, it’s a hedonistic paradise; being at the Kit Kat Club really is a state of mind. American writer Cliff Bradshaw meets English cabaret singer Sally Bowles at the club. Nothing is easy for these dreamers though, especially when the rise of Nazism threatens their lifestyle. Typically, Cabaret is set in Weimar Germany. For this revival, Cabaret will be set in an immersive world where artists are celebrating the end of days.
When did Cabaret premiere?
Cabaret premiered on 20 Nov. 1966 at Broadway’s Broadhurst Theatre. The original cast starred Joel Grey as the Emcee, who won a Tony Award for the role. Cabaret on Broadway ran for 1,186 performances.
Two years later, the Kit Kat Club came to the West End, as Cabaret transferred to the Palace Theatre. Judi Dench played Sally Bowles in the original Cabaret London musical, but it didn’t find its feet like on Broadway, only playing for 336 performances.
Over the years, there have been numerous award-winning Cabaret revivals in London. Gillian Lynne (who is honoured in the naming of the Gillian Lynne Theatre) directed and choreographed Cabaret in 1986. Then in 1993, Sam Mendes directed Cabaret at the Donmar Warehouse, starring Alan Cumming as the Emcee, Jane Horrocks as Sally and Adam Godley as Cliff.
Fast forward to the 21st century, and so far there’s been two more Cabaret London revivals. Cabaret ran at the Lyric Theatre from 2006 to 2008. The same production returned to the West End in 2012 with a short revival at the Savoy Theatre.
Who wrote Cabaret?
The Cabaret musical is based on Christopher Isherwood’s 1939 novel, Goodbye to Berlin. Isherwood's semi-autobiographical book charts his time in Berlin from 1929 to 1932, during the Weimar Republic era. After the war, Goodbye to Berlin was adapted for the stage by John Van Druten. The new stage play, I Am a Camera, premiered on Broadway in 1951 and ran for eight months.
A decade afer I Am a Camera, work on the Cabaret musical began. Led by Harold Prince, who eventually went on to direct the musical, he hired Joe Masteroff to write the Cabaret book, with John Kander and Fred Ebb penning the music and lyrics respectively.
Joe Masteroff was a Tony Award-winning writer. As well as creating the Cabaret story, Masteroff also wrote the book for She Loves Me and 70, Girls, 70. John Kander and Fred Ebb were a prolific songwriting team. They worked together on musicals for 50 years, and their notable works alongside Cabaret include Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman and The Scottsboro Boys.
Who is in the Cabaret cast?
Eddie Redmayne makes his West End musical debut as the Emcee in Cabaret. The Olivier Award-winning star has been in London plays including Red and The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, but now he’ll be singing “Willkommen” at the Kit Kat Club. Redmayne is no stranger to musicals though — he played Marius in the Les Miserables film adaptation.
Jessie Buckley will play Sally Bowles in Cabaret. She’s returning to the West End for the first time in six years, previously appearing in plays such as Henry V and The Winter’s Tale. Now she’ll be singing “Maybe This Time” in the upcoming Cabaret revival.
The Cabaret cast stars Omari Douglas as Cliff Bradshaw, Liza Sadovy as Fraulein Schneider, Elliot Levey as Herr Schultz, Stewart Clarke as Ernst Ludwig, Anna-Jane Casey as Fraulein Kost.
The Cabaret cast is completed by Josh Andrews, Emily Benjamin, Sally Frith, Matthew Gent, Emma Louise Jones, Ela Lisondra, Theo Maddix, Chris O’Mara, Daniel Perry, Andre Refig, Christopher Tendai, Bethany Terry, Lillie-Pearl Wildman and Sophie Maria Wojna.
What is the Prologue Company in Cabaret?
As well as the Cabaret musical, a pre-show performance will be led by the Prologue Company, further inviting audiences into the Kit Kat Club. The Prologue Company will be entertaining theatregoers through song, dance and live music before the Cabaret musical begins. Full details about the Prologue Company’s involvement in Cabaret will be revealed at a later date.
The Prologue company is completed by Gabriela Bendetti, Rachel Benson, Laura Braid, Julian Capolei, Hollie Cassar, Celine Fortenbacher-Popławska, Samantha Ho, Andrew Linnie and Sally Swanson with an original score composed by Angus MacRae.
Pre-show entertainment running time is currently unknown.
Who is directing Cabaret?
Rebecca Frecknall will direct Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club. Frecknall is currently associate director at the Almeida Theatre, and has directed Three Sisters and The Duchess of Malfi for the West End venue.
What theatre in London is Cabaret playing at?
Cabaret will play at the Kit Kat Club, which is the new name for the renovated Playhouse Theatre while Cabaret is open. The Playhouse Theatre has been redesigned to accommodate for a flexible performance space, with previous shows such as The Jungle having audiences sit on multiple sides of the stage.
Is the Kit Kat Club the Playhouse Theatre?
Yes. The Kit Kat Club is the name for the reconfigured Playhouse Theatre. The new name will remain throughout Cabaret’s entire run. For Cabaret performances at the Kit Kat Club, the theatre has been renovated to accommodate seating on two sides of the stage, allowing for in-the-round performances. Find out more about the Kit Kat Club here.
What is the running time of Cabaret?
The Cabaret running time is currently unknown.
What are the songs in Cabaret?
Cabaret features music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. Songs from Cabaret have found themselves in musical theatre canon, including “Don’t Tell Mama," "Money," and "Cabaret." We’ve listed all the songs in Cabaret below.
"Willkommen" – Emcee and Company
"So What?" – Fräulein Schneider
"Telephone Song/Telephone Dance"– Cliff and Company
"Don't Tell Mama" – Sally and the Kit Kat Girls
"Mein Herr" – Sally
"Perfectly Marvelous" – Sally and Cliff
"Two Ladies" – Emcee and Two Ladies
"It Couldn't Please Me More (A Pineapple)" – Fräulein Schneider and Herr Schultz
"Tomorrow Belongs to Me" – Nazi Youth/Waiters/Emcee
"Why Should I Wake Up?" – Cliff
"Don't Go"– Cliff
"Maybe This Time" – Sally
"Sitting Pretty" – Emcee and Girls
"Money" – Emcee and Company
"Married" – Herr Schultz and Fräulein Schneider
"Meeskite" – Herr Schultz and Sally
"Tomorrow Belongs to Me" (Reprise) – Fräulein Kost, Ernst Ludwig and Company
"Entr'acte" / "Kickline" – Emcee and Girls
"Married" (Reprise)– Herr Schultz
"If You Could See Her (The Gorilla Song)" – Emcee
"What Would You Do?" – Fräulein Schneider
"I Don't Care Much" – Emcee
"Cabaret" – Sally
"Willkommen (Reprise)" / "Finale Ultimo" – Emcee, Cliff, and Company
How do I get tickets for Cabaret?
Cabaret is at the Kit Kat Club from 15 November. Currently, Cabaret performances are scheduled to 16 April.
There is also a Cabaret Lottery, where you can be in with a chance of winning a pair of £25 tickets to see Cabaret. Read details on the Cabaret Lottery.
Photo credit: Cabaret (Photo courtesy of Cabaret)