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KABARETT Spiegeltent/Shaw Festival
By
Jul 8, 2024, 12:25
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Shaw Festival
Through October 12
KABARETT Spiegeltent/Shaw Festival

For most in the movie and theater audience, the image of Germany’s Weimar Republic is “Cabaret.”
In those days between World War I and Adolph Hitler coming to power in 1933, Berlin was the cultural capitol.
It wasn’t only music, here translated mostly into English.
“Kabarett” opens with “Mack the Knife” from Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s “The Threepenny Opera,” reaching back over the centuries to John Gay’s “The Beggar’s Opera.”
Brecht and Weill both bailed from Nazi Germany and came to the U.S. and built careers in American music and theater.
Brecht eventually went back to Germany, East Germany, after the war ended.
There are also crossovers in the music, the classic war song “Lili Marlene.”
That’s a song Hitler sang during his soldier time and other militaries cycled into other languages, usually with different wording, while retaining the music which could be sung in the trenches.
Shaw impresario Tim Carroll directed this show, what’s essentially a juke box musical of music from a time and a place.
He’s working with one of the big performers of the Shaw season, Kristi Frank, Eliza Doolittle from “My Fair Lady.”
She’s working with Shane Carty, J.J. Gerber, Ruthie Nkut and Taurian Teelucksingh.
Only one song is sung in German, “Heute Nacht Oder Nie,” usually “Tell Me Tonight” in English.
Some of the songs reflect the great societal debates of the post-war years (or pre-war if you look, ahead), “Masculine-Feminine,” “Lavendar Song,” “Abortion is Illegal,” “Bilbao Song” from Brecht and Weill’s show “Happy End” and “There’s Nothing Quite Like Money.”
The titles show how political music was in those days when it was competing with the Brownshirts outside singing the “Horst Wessel Song.”
Displaced from the chronological context, the songs stand alone although the show is clearly trying to deliver a sense of the battle over the great issues in the cabarets of Berlin.
It’s a juke box musical, if you think of it as a jukebox in that socialist club central to “The Roll of Shaw,” an alternate stage offering in this same performance space.
It’s an entertaining show and worth your time, with a chorus of strong voices.
Fortunately, “Kabarett” is almost completely in English.

A.W.

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