Thursday, February 23, 2023

Musical Interlude (with discussion) - Cabaret (1972)


This is a bit of a followup of yesterday's post, Transgender Experiences in Weimar and Nazi Germany.  

BY: Rhonda Williams

The musical Cabaret is based on John Van Druten's 1951 play which was adapted from "Goodbye to Berlin" (1939). A semi-autobiographical novel by Anglo-American writer Christopher Isherwood: It drew upon his experiences in the poverty-stricken Weimar Republic and his intimate friendship with a nineteen-year-old cabaret singer, Jean Ross.

The Weimar Republic was the official name for the German government during the historical period 1918 to 1933. During the Weimar period it was a constitutional federal republic. (Wikipedia) 

Book Cover
Goodbye to Berlin

*In 1933 Adolf Hitler implemented the Enabling Act which cemented his dictatorship. Isherwood fled Germany and returned to England on April 5, 1933. Afterwards, most of Berlin's cabarets were shuttered by the Nazis, and many of Isherwood's cabaret acquaintances would later flee abroad or perish in concentration camps. 

These factual events served as the genesis for Isherwood's Berlin tales. His 1939 novel "Goodbye to Berlin" was later adapted by playwright John Van Druten into the 1951 Broadway play "I Am A Camera " and, ultimately the 1966 Cabaret musical.

I have seen Cabaret several times. Although the music of enchanting the story is dark.  It shows how fanaticism centered in a dictator can change everything, very quickly.  

Be forewarned! Banning or labeling drag shows /  pride events, book banning, and the limiting of medical help for trans teens is just a beginning. Sorry to be so dark.    

Alan Cumming: Cabaret Ending

*Hitler submitted a proposal to the Reichstag that when passed would immediately grant all legislative powers to the cabinet and by extension Hitler. This would in effect allow Hitler's government to act without concern to the constitution.

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