Roundabout Recommends

Cabaret: Read, Watch, Listen

Posted on: July 11th, 2014 by Olivia O'Connor


Immerse yourself in the world of Cabaret with our recommended reading, watching and listening lists!


Before the Deluge: A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s by Otto Friedrich
American journalist and cultural historian Otto Friedrich explores the history of Berlin during its golden age, covering subjects in the spheres of entertainment, culture, and politics.

The Making of Cabaret by Keith Garebian
A detailed production history of Cabaret covering the show’s source material, first production, film adaptation, and contemporary revivals.

Weimar Culture: The Outsider as Insider by Peter Gay
An essay approach to the social, political, and artistic world of the Weimar era, analyzing the period’s distinct modes of thought and expression.

Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin by Mel Gordon
A collection of photographs, advertisements, and illustrations (interspersed with commentary) from Weimar Berlin. The visually shocking book exposes the era’s dark decadence and promiscuity.

The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood
A collection of Isherwood’s two short, semi-autobiographical novels chronicling the knife’s-edge existence of 1931 Berlin. One of the novellas, Goodbye to Berlin, introduces the first iteration of the now-iconic character of Sally Bowles.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer
A detailed and celebrated account of the rise, heyday, and destruction of Adolph Hitler’s political and military regime. Shirer worked as a foreign correspondent for various print and broadcast news outlets during the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, witnessing many of the horrors of the Third Reich firsthand.

I Am a Camera by John van Druten
This 1951 play, adapted from Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin, expands on the character of Sally Bowles. The play’s title comes from a line of Goodbye to Berlin: “I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking.”


Cabaret (1972)
This film adaptation features iconic performances from Liza Minelli and Joel Grey. The film made many changes to the stage musical, including changes to Sally and Cliff’s nationality and sexuality and the elimination/addition of several musical numbers. Several of these changes (including the addition of songs “Money,” “Maybe This Time,” and “Mein Herr”) have since been made to the stage version of the musical, as well.

I Am a Camera (1955)
The film version of John van Druten’s play features Julie Harris in the Sally Bowles role, which she also originated in the stage play. Her onstage performance garnered her critical acclaim and her first Tony win, but the film was not a success.

Third Reich: Rise and Fall (2010)
A two-part History Channel presentation which uses amateur film footage (taken by native Germans) to document the power of Hitler’s regime.

Legendary Sin Cities: Paris, Berlin, Shanghai (2005)
A three-part Canadian Broadcasting Corporation documentary profiling Paris, Berlin, and Shanghai during their periods of notorious decadence.


The true sounds of the Weimar cabaret era are captured on these recordings.

Claire Waldoff: German Cabaret Legend (CD)

Willy Fritsch, Gitta Alpar, Renate Mueller-Hermann Thimig, Ann Stein, Curt Bois
Tonfilmschlager der Weimarer Republik: 1929-1933 (CD)

Perlen der Kleinkunst (CD)



Cabaret plays at Studio 54 through January 4, 2015. For more information and tickets, please visit our website.

Related Categories:
2013-2014 Season, Cabaret, Roundabout Recommends

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