'Cabaret' comes home to Berlin

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The Independent Online

Berlin said "Willkommen, bienvenue and welcome" to Cabaret last night, as the musical inspired by the novels of the British writer Christopher Isherwood was glamorously re-launched in the city where it was born.

Berlin said "Willkommen, bienvenue and welcome" to Cabaret last night, as the musical inspired by the novels of the British writer Christopher Isherwood was glamorously re-launched in the city where it was born.

Vincent Paterson, the American choreographer behind Madonna's and Michael Jackson's most celebrated moves, had been shipped in to create the new production. He has transformed the entire Bar JederVernunft, a fin-de-siècle cabaret theatre in west Berlin, into the infamous "Kit-Kat-Klub", the hedonistic nightspot where Sally Bowles, a cabaret singer, finds her conscience is caught between racy early 1930s Berlin and the rise of Nazism.

"It's so important for Berlin that Cabaret has come back to its natural home," swooned Count Caspar von Rex, professor of theatre studies and chancellor of Berlin's "Ernst Busch" theatre school. He was one of an élite audience of politicians, actors and gay glitterati glued to the scantily clad Kit-Kat-Klub Girls at a special preview on Friday night.

Berlin's candlelit cabaret and revue bars still thrive against a backgdrop of the city in debt to the tune of €57bn (£39bn), adding a suitably Weimarish edge.

The original production of "Cabaret" by Joe Masteroff was an instant hit when it opened on Broadway in 1966. Based on an earlier John van Druten play, I am a Camera, it was later turned into the 1972 Oscar-winning film which shot Liza Minnelli to international fame, playing the childish but defiant cabaret singer.

Sally Bowles was based on a British actress, Jean Ross, who Isherwood met during his four years in Berlin, which inspired his seminal novels Mr Norris Changes Trains (published 1935) and Goodbye to Berlin (1939).

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