In a Berlin nightclub, as the 1920’s draw to a close, a garish Master of Ceremonies welcomes the audience and assures them they will forget all their troubles at the Cabaret.
Germany, in the midst of a post-World War I economic depression, is transitioning from avant-garde cultural epicenter to the beginnings of Hitler’s totalitarian regime and the rise of the Nazi Party.
Into this world enters Clifford Bradshaw, a struggling American writer looking for inspiration for his next novel. On his first night in Berlin, Cliff wanders into the Kit Kat Klub and is immediately taken by English singer Sally Bowles, a vivacious, talented cabaret performer, and an utterly lost soul. Sally and Cliff begin a relationship, which blossoms unexpectedly into dream-like ardor. Meanwhile, Fräulein Schneider, proprietor of Cliff and Sally’s boarding house, tentatively begins a romance with Herr Schultz, a mild-mannered fruit seller who just so happens to be Jewish. As time passes, however, the situation in Berlin changes from exciting and vital to ominous and violent.
Using the Emcee’s bawdy songs as wry commentary, Cabaret explores the dark, heady, and tumultuous life of Berlin’s natives and expatriates as Germany slowly yields to the emerging Third Reich. With a distinctly Brechtian dose of provocation, and a score featuring songs that have become classics of the American Musical Theater, Cabaret is a fierce, meaty musical that pushes the boundaries of the form and literally holds “the mirror up to nature.”