Cabaret

Kit Kat Klub at Playhouse Theatre
Northumberland Avenue, London

Public Previews: 15 November 2021
Opens: to be announced
Closes: 16 April 2022

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Nearest Tube: Embankment or Charing Cross

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Show times
Monday at 7.30pm
Tuesday at 7.30pm
Wednesday at 2.00pm and 7.30pm
Thursday at 7.30pm
Friday at 7.30pm
Saturday at 2.00pm and 7.30pm
Sunday no shows

Runs ? hours and ? minutes

Seat prices
? to ?
(plus booking fees if applicable)

Cabaret the Musical

A major revival of Kander and Ebb's musical Cabaret in London starring Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley

John Kander and Fred Ebb's legendary landmark musical Cabaret turns Weimar Berlin of 1931 into a dark and sexually charged haven of decadence where its extraordinary and morally ambiguous inhabitants are determined to keep up appearances as the real world - outside the comfortable sanctuary of the cabaret - prepares for the nightmarish chaos of war. It is here that Sally Bowles performs nightly at the infamous Kit Kat Klub in "a shimmering masterpiece of a show guaranteed night after night! It's divine decadence darling!"Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome, in cabaret, au cabaret, to cabaret!

For this revival the Playhouse Theatre is being completely made-over. It will be performed 'in-the-round' with the current seating capacity of 780-seats being reduced to 550.

Musical with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Joe Masteroff, based on the play I Am A Camera by John Van Druten, and Christopher Isherwood's novel Goodbye to Berlin.

The cast features Eddie Redmayne as 'Emcee', Jessie Buckley as 'Sally Bowles', Omari Douglas as 'Clifford Bradshaw', Liza Sadovy as 'Fraulein Schneider', Elliot Levey as 'Herr Schultz', Stewart Clarke as 'Ernst Ludwig', Anna-Jane Casey as 'Fraulein Kost'/'Fritzie', Andre Refig as 'Max', Christopher Tendai as 'Bobby', Daniel Perry as 'Victor', Matthew Gent as 'Hans', Bethany Terry, Lillie-Pearl Wildman, Sally Frith, Sophie Maria Wojna, Theo Maddix, Chris O'Mara, Ela Lisondra, Emily Benjamin, Emma Louise Jones, and Josh Andrews. Casting from 22 March 2022 to be announced. All casting subject to change without notice.

Directed by Rebecca Frecknall, with designs by Tom Scutt, choreography by Julia Cheng, lighting by Isabella Byrd, and sound by Nick Lidster.

Eddie Redmayne's London theatre credits include playing the roles of the title role in Michael Grandage's revival of William Shakespeare's Richard II at the Donmar Warehouse in 2011; 'Ken' in Michael Grandage's production of John Logan's Red at the Donmar Warehouse in 2009; and 'Billy' in Anthony Page's production of Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? at the Almeida Theatre, and transfer to the West End's Apollo Theatre in 2004.

Jessie Buckley's London theatre credits include playing the roles of 'Perdita' in Rob Ashford and Kenneth Branagh's revival of William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale at the Garrick Theatre in 2015; 'Muriel Palmer' in Rob Ashford and Kenneth Branagh's revival of Terence Rattigan's The Harlequinade at the Garrick Theatre in 2015; 'Princess Katharine' in Michael Grandage's revival of William Shakespeare's Henry V at the Noel Coward Theatre in 2013; 'Miranda' in Jeremy Herrin's revival of William Shakespeare's The Tempest at the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in 2013; and 'Anne Egerman' in Trevor Nunn's revival of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music at the Menier Chocolate Factory in 2008, and transfer to the West End's Garrick Theatre in 2009.

The fall of the German Empire resulted in the birth of the Weimar Republic - a democratic government that fostered liberalism and paved the way for a mini cultural revolution. Thus Berlin in the 1920s gained an 'anything goes' reputation. The cabaret was particularly renowned for its taboo breaking with risque songs that challenged traditional ideas of morality. Despite the liberal themes of the songs, however, some performers had an ambiguous relationship with their material, and it wasn't always clear whether they were seeking to celebrate or lampoon diversity. Much of the material was of the nudge-nudge-wink-wink variety, more sensationalist than truly transgressive, and a good percentage of the 'degeneracy' was staged for the voyeuristic tourists who visited in droves.

A seemingly detached stance is at the heart of Christopher Isherwood's 1939 short novel, Goodbye to Berlin, in which the narrator opens with the now-famous lines: "I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking. Recording the man shaving at the window opposite and the woman in the kimono washing her hair. Some day, all this will have to he developed, carefully printed, fixed." Of course, in reality Isherwood was no passive observer. The very act of selecting and recording these specific events meant he was taking a position, and the result was a nuanced novel that is now regarded as one of the most politically significant of the 20th century. Indeed, Time magazine included it in its recent list of the 100 greatest English-language novels written since 1923. The episodic nature of the material made Goodbye to Berlin perfect for a stage adaptation and in 1951 Isherwood's friend John Van Druten turned it into the play I Am A Camera. Streamlining the book to focus on a handful of characters, the play and its subsequent film version were a huge success and put Isherwood on the literary map. Hal Prince then took the material a step further when he collaborated with librettist Joe Masteroff and composing team John Kander and Fred Ebb to produce the first musical version. Cabaret the Musical opened on Broadway on 20 November 1966 and became one of the earliest major 'concept musicals'. It has since gained classic status and is regularly cited as one of the greatest musicals of all time.

John Kander and Fred Ebb's West End credits include the musicals Kiss of the Spider Woman, Chicago, Curtains, and The Scottsboro Boys.

Cabaret in London at the Kit Kat Klub at the Playhouse Theatre public previews from 15 November 2021, opens on to be announced, and closes on 16 April 2020


Original West End London Production of I Am A Camera at the New Theatre 1954

Original West End Production of Cabaret at the Palace Theatre 1968

1st West End London Revival of Cabaret at the Strand Theatre 1986

London Revival of Cabaret at the Donmar Warehouse in 1993

2nd West End London Revival of Cabaret at the Lyric Theatre in 2006

3rd West End London Revival of Cabaret at the Savoy Theatre in 2012


Original West End London Production of I Am A Camera at the New Theatre 1954

Previewed 9 March 1954, Opened 12 March 1954, Closed 8 January 1955 at the New Theatre (now Noel Coward Theatre)

The original play by John Van Druten, adapted from Christopher Isherwood's novel Goodbye to Berlin.

The cast featured Dorothy Tutin as 'Sally Bowles', Michael Gwynn as 'Christopher Isherwood', Marianne Deeming as 'Fraulein Schneider', Robert Cartland as 'Fritz Wendel', Renee Goddard as 'Natalia Landauer', Hugh McDermott as 'Clive Mortimer', and Everley Gregg as 'Mrs Watson-Courtneidge'.

Directed by John Van Druten with designs by Boris Aronson.


Original West End Production of Cabaret at the Palace Theatre 1968

Previewed 26 February 1968, Opened 28 February 1968, Closed 30 November 1968 at the Palace Theatre

The cast featured Barry Dennen as 'Emcee, Master of Ceremonies', Judi Dench as 'Sally Bowles', Kevin Colson as 'Clifford Bradshaw', Lila Kedrova as 'Fraulein Schneider' (up to Saturday 24 August 1968), Thelma Ruby as 'Fraulein Schneider' (from Monday 26 August 1968), Peter Sallis as 'Herr Schultz', Richard Owens as 'Ernst Ludwig', and Pamela Strong as 'Fraulein Kost', with David Bexon, Pauline Chapman, Roy Durbin, Geoffrey Evans, Venetia Fernandez, Elaine Garreau, Harry Goodier, Maggie Goodwin, Judy Gridley, Christine Harrington, Sean Hewitt, Janos Kurucz, Dierdre Laird, Anne Lewington, Barry Martin, Liza Martin, Dawn Maxey, George May, Basil Patton, Richild Springer, David Thornton, Gess Whitfield, David Wheldon Williams, Beverley Wright, Christine Yates, and Gordon Yeats, with the Kit Kat Klub Girls' Band: Jean Mercer, Jenny Russell, Pat Sheridan, and Barbara Thompson.

Directed by Harold Prince, with choreography by Ronald Field, sets by Boris Aronson, costumes by Patricia Zipprodt, and lighting by Robert Ornbo based on the original lighting by Jean Rosenthal.


1st West End London Revival of Cabaret at the Strand Theatre 1986

Previewed 10 July 1986, Opened 17 July 1986, Closed 30 April 1987 (see note below) at the Strand Theatre (now Novello Theatre)

The original cast up to Saturday 10 January 1987 featured Wayne Sleep as 'Emcee, Master of Ceremonies', Kelly Hunter as 'Sally Bowles', Peter Land as 'Clifford Bradshaw', Vivienne Martin as 'Fraulein Schneider', Oscar Quitak as 'Herr Schultz', Rodney Cottam as 'Ernst Ludwig', andGrazina Frame as 'Fraulein Kost', with Peter Barry, Caroline Clare, Bill Deamer, Sarah Drummond, James Dundas, Pamela Gale, Kailli Greenwood, Margaret Houston, Bryen Lawrence, Gail McGregor, Caroline O'Connor, Basil Patton, Pamela Scott, John Thornton, David Turner, with the Kit Kat Klub Girls' Band: Kate Edgar, Kathleen Hancox, Lesia Melnyk, Anne Miles. Swings: Janie Dee, Sean Garvey and Kim Ismay.

The cast from Monday 12 January 1987 featured Wayne Sleep as 'Emcee, Master of Ceremonies', Toyah Willcox as 'Sally Bowles', Peter Land as 'Clifford Bradshaw', Vivienne Martin as 'Fraulein Schneider', Oscar Quitak as 'Herr Schultz', Paul Hegarty as 'Ernst Ludwig', and Valerie Walsh as 'Fraulein Kost'.

Directed and choreographed by Gillian Lynne, with designs by Mark Thompson, and lighting by Michael Northen.

NOTE: There was an industrial dispute with the orchestra when five members where sacked for, as reported at the time, playing out of tune, excessive drinking and undisciplined behavious - this lead to the full orchestra going on strike on Wednesday 29 April 1987.

The production was playing an eight-performance-a-week schedule: Monday to Saturday evenings, and Friday and Saturday afternoon matinees. The evening performances on Wednesday 29 and Thursday 30 April 1987 where performed by the cast in full, including all the song and dance routines, but with no orchestral accompaniment due to the orchestra strike. Ticket holders for both shows where refunded, but where allowed to remain and watch the show for free. (At the time Wayne Sleep was on holiday leave, and his role was being played by his understudy). Performances from Friday 1 May where cancelled, with negotiations taking place into the following week. Unfortunately the dispute was not able to be resolved, and therefore on Wednesday 6 May it was officially announced that the show had closed. This meant that the last performance was on Thursday 30 April 1987, and the last performance with full orchestral accompaniment was on Tuesday 28 April 1987.


London Revival of Cabaret at the Donmar Warehouse in 1993

Previewed 2 December 1993, Opened 9 December 1993, Closed 26 March 1994 at the Donmar Warehouse

The cast featured Alan Cumming as 'Emcee, Master of Ceremonies', Jane Horrocks as 'Sally Bowles', Adam Godley as 'Clifford Bradshaw', Sara Kestelman as 'Fraulein Schneider', George Rainstrick as 'Herr Schultz', Michael Gardiner as 'Ernst Ludwig', and Charlotte Medcalf as 'Fraulein Kost', with Anthony Hunt, Matt Kane, Jane Karen, Loveday Smith, Christopher Staines, Charlotte Storey, and Kevin Walton.

Directed by Sam Mendes, with choreography by Lea Anderson, designs by Sue Blane, lighting by Paul Pyant, and sound by John A Leonard.

At the time of this production ITV's Carlton Televisision was financially sponsoring the Donmar Warehouse, and as part of that, this production of Cabaret was filmed at the Donmar Warehouse and broadcast on ITV television on Wednesday 14 September 1994.


2nd West End London Revival of Cabaret at the Lyric Theatre in 2006

Previewed 22 September 2006, Opened 10 October 2006, Closed 21 June 2008 at the Lyric Theatre

The original cast up to Saturday 31 March 2007 featured James Dreyfus as 'Emcee, Master of Ceremonies', Anna Maxwell Martin as 'Sally Bowles', Michael Hayden as 'Clifford Bradshaw', Sheila Hancock as 'Fraulein Schneider', Geoffrey Hutchings as 'Herr Schultz', Andrew Maud as 'Ernst Ludwig', and Harriet Thorpe as 'Fraulein Kost', with Christopher Akrill, Rebecca Bainbridge, Alastair Brookshaw, Michael Camp, Josephine Darvill-Mills, Kaisa Hammarlund, Alexandra Jones, Jack Jefferson, Benny Maslov, Jason Rowe, Rebecca Sutherland, and Clemmie Sveaas.

The cast from Monday 2 April 2007 to Saturday 29 September 2007 featured James Dreyfus as 'Emcee, Master of Ceremonies', Kim Medcalf as 'Sally Bowles', Michael Hayden as 'Clifford Bradshaw', Honor Blackman as 'Fraulein Schneider', Francis Matthews as 'Herr Schultz', Andrew Maud as 'Ernst Ludwig', and Harriet Thorpe as 'Fraulein Kost'.

Monday 1 October 2007, no performance due to cast change.

The cast from Tuesday 2 October 2007 to Saturday 19 April 2008 featured Julian Clary as 'Emcee, Master of Ceremonies', Amy Nuttall as 'Sally Bowles', Steven Cree as 'Clifford Bradshaw', Angela Richards as 'Fraulein Schneider', Barry James as 'Herr Schultz', Michael Beckley as 'Ernst Ludwig', and Valerie Cutko as 'Fraulein Kost'.

The cast from Monday 21 April 2008 to Saturday 21 June 2008 featured Alistair McGowan as 'Emcee, Master of Ceremonies', Amy Nuttall as 'Sally Bowles', Steven Cree as 'Clifford Bradshaw', Angela Richards as 'Fraulein Schneider', Barry James as 'Herr Schultz', Michael Beckley as 'Ernst Ludwig', and Valerie Cutko as 'Fraulein Kost'.

Directed by Rufus Norris, with choreography by Javier De Frutos, designs by Katrina Lindsay, lighting by Jean Kalman, and sound by Ben Harrison.

Regarding the storyline in Cabaret, the director of this stage version, Rufus Norris says: "It's always been an unusual one. It doesn't have a straightforward girl-meets-boy love story, it doesn't have a happy ending. All the characters end up in some form of bitter compromise. The reason I wanted to do this show was not to make a light piece of work that would appeal to the masses - I hope it does appeal to the masses but not as a light piece of work. There is an audience out there for a serious piece of musical theatre and this is the show to do it with."

"You feel you're in good hands straight away with James Dreyfus's wonderfully leering, clownish Emcee. Unfortunately, the two principal leads are less satisfying. Michael Hayden plays Clifford Bradshaw, the colourless and preppy young American novelist. It is always going to be a difficult role to inject with much zest, and he fails. As for Anna Maxwell Martin as Sally Bowles, well, the kindest thing you can say is that she is miscast... Much better are Geoffrey Hutchings as Herr Schultz and Sheila Hancock as Fraulein Schneider, the latter even making a virtue of what she herself might be the first to admit is not a natural singing voice... Also excellent is Harriet Thorpe, the red-headed whore and bosomy bully with a fondness for sailors... And that brings us to the production's weakness: it's all so darned obvious and in your face. You shouldn't keep comparing it with the movie, since they're such different media, and very different scripts, too - but you can't help it. Everything in Bob Fosse's masterpiece, from the superb choreography to the subdued apres-nous-le-deluge melancholy, is absent here. Instead, the director, Rufus Norris, seems to be relying on shock value... A 21st-century audience is hardly prudish, and it isn't going to be shocked by this approach - just bored. Specifically, your imagination is bored: it hasn't anything left to do." The Sunday Times

"The film of Cabaret was thrown off balance by Liza Minnelli's star turn as Sally Bowles, but with the less showy Anna Maxwell Martin in the role its equilibrium has been regained. Michael Hayden is convincing as Clifford Bradshaw, the bisexual writer with whom she falls in love, and who looks uncannily like Harrison Ford. Sheila Hancock does a poignant turn as Bradshaw's landlady who has fallen in love with a Jew, a masterfully understated performance by Geoffrey Hutchings. James Dreyfus, as the Emcee at the louche Kit-Kat Club, holds the whole thing together with precisely the right mixture of menace and sensuality... This production is far, far more than the sum of its tunes... [it] is a compelling production that works on every level." The Sunday Telegraph

"There's a chill in the air right from the start of Rufus Norris's unequivocally political, icily precise reworking of Cabaret... "Against Katrina Lindsay's sleazy, industrial set design, there's little glitz on display that isn't countered by a tawdry hollowness, and no more so than in Anna Maxwell Martin's very English, excellent Sally Bowles. Maxwell Martin may not have the best voice in the world but that's allowed to work in her favour here, deepening the sense of Bowles as a very ordinary nobody: grasping, vulnerable, amoral and desperate. And she brilliantly reinvents the title song Cabaret as a sardonic, knowing death rattle from a world imploding from within. There's excellent work, too, from Sheila Hancock as the lonely landlady who ultimately refuses to marry Herr Schultz because he is Jewish, and Michael Hayden as the weak, under-achieving author Clifford Bradshaw." The London Metro

Cabaret in London previewed from 22 September 2006, opened on 10 October 2006 and closed on 21 June 2008


3rd West End London Revival of Cabaret at the Savoy Theatre in 2012

Previewed 4 October 2012, Opened 9 October 2012, Closed 19 January 2013 at the Savoy Theatre

The return of Rufus Norris' acclaimed revival of Kander and Ebb's musical Cabaret in London starring Will Young in his musical theatre debut as the enigmatic Emcee.

Please Note: This show contains both male and female full frontal nudity and so in not appropriate for children.

The cast featured Will Young as 'Emcee, Master of Ceremonies', Michelle Ryan as 'Sally Bowles', Matt Rawle as 'Clifford Bradshaw', Sian Phillips as 'Fraulein Schneider', Linal Haft as 'Herr Schultz', Nicholas Tizzard as 'Ernst Ludwig', Harriet Thorpe as 'Fraulein Kost', with John Brannoch, Jessica Ellen, Allessia Lugoboni, Edd Mitton, Ian Parsons, Nuno Silva, Rebecca Sutherland, Shahla Tarrant, Laura Tyrer, Cydney Uffindell-Phillips, and Matthew Wesley.

Directed by Rufus Norris, with choreography by Javier De Frutos, designs by Katrina Lindsay, lighting by Mark Howett, and sound by Ben Harrison.

This was a revised staging of the 2006 production.

When this production opened at the Savoy Theatre in October 2012, Henry Hitchings at the London Evening Standard highlighted that "Rufus Norris's take on Cabaret isn't new. It was staged, to great plaudits, in 2006. Here, with bigger stars, it remains inventive but feels less concertedly political and less depraved. There's more glamour and not so deep a sense of the disturbing... Will Young's vigorous interpretation typifies a production that has too little menace and contains a good deal of posturing." Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph thought that "Javier de Frutos's choreography seems less confrontational and sexually unbuttoned than it did the first time around... and the whole production feels slicker and safer. Though it will appeal to a wider audience, something has been lost... Rufus Norris's unexpected ending, which it would be a crime to reveal, is even more chilling, and one leaves this patchy but inventive production with a shiver of deep unease." Paul Taylor in the Independent wrote that "Rufus Norris's 2006 revival of this Kander and Ebb classic blew me away with its dark, fiercely energised and full-frontal vision of Weimar Berlin as a society gyrating its crotch at the edge of the abyss... Now the show is back in a re-imagined version in which Norris and his choreographer, Javier de Frutos, often find fresh and arresting way of expressing the same conception, with certain key numbers staged completely differently... Will Young sings beautifully and has bags of stage presence in his leather hot pants... Michelle Ryan, by contrast, signally fails to rise to the occasion of Sally Bowles. Instead of showing us the emotional flakiness... she gives us a wholesome, healthy girl who is about as 'divinely decadent' as a lacrosse match followed by a hearty cream tea." Libby Purves in the Times commented how, "in Rufus Norris's revived production, Will Young is a worthy kingpin. Strong vocally and dramatically, he has an assured presence even during the battier numbers... Michelle Ryan's Sally Bowles, on the other hand, is expressive, touching in song, but in dialogue her lines often feel, well, like lines." Julie Carpenter in the Daily Express explained that "Rufus Norris's production could be accused of initially lacking some edge and Javier De Frutos's choreography proves more raw than sleazy, perhaps losing some of the heady permissiveness of the pre-Nazi era. But rather than having the Nazi threat hanging in the air it comes in short, sharp bursts like slaps in the face, particularly in the second half, while the cheery opening half almost lulls the audience into the same complacency displayed by many of the characters. It ultimately proves effective." Lyn Gardner in the Guardian said that "the final 20 minutes of Rufus Norris's revamped revival of Cabaret are shockingly good. The campy glamour of Berlin's pre-war Kit-Kat Club is gradually stripped away, just as the illusions of would-be writer Clifford Bradshaw have been destroyed... When Will Young's Emcee welcomes us into the club, he is, like the production itself, inviting us to enjoy what must also be condemned... Had Norris dared more from the outset, however, this could have been a rare piece of musical theatre, challenging as well as entertaining." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail described how "Will Young is definitely one of the good things in this show. He sings handsomely, as does Matt Rawle... Some of the other singing is, ahem, less good... The band pumps out John Kander's celebrated tunes efficiently and the hoofers flash a lot of buttockry and biceps."

Cabaret in London at the Savoy Theatre previewed from 4 October 2012, opened on 9 October 2012 and closed on 19 January 2013