Tony Awards, 1967, Cabaret

27 Mar


We leave the last of the dark musicals of the mid-sixties with the darkest of them all, Cabaret.   I really like Cabaret better than Chicago–it’s deeper, and braver, and more ambiguous than the giant film noir cartoon of Chicago could ever hope to be.   It’s also more difficult.   What’s the most interesting is how the show has grown since its original inception.

Many musicals are the same no matter who puts it on or when.  Like Oklahoma–yes there’s varying degrees of talent involved and you could endlessly discuss the merits of this cast album vs. that cast album–however, the songs will be the same, the characters the same, the message the same.   Cabaret has changed, and you don’t notice it until you go back to the original cast album.   There’s a lot more real life moments and less of the actual Cabaret represented there.   Also the Nazi references are softer and there’s very few gay references at all.

As the shows (and movie) progressed the Nazi references become more blatant, and with that this group of misfits who make their little imaginary worlds in a cafe are the ones under criticism.   By being ignorant of what was going on in the real world, they become victims of it.

Really, whatever version you get is going to have some good things going for it–by far my favorite is the 1998 version (though a new one is coming out next month–we’ll see).  It’s the one which knits the story almost perfectly together, balancing the tragedy and the escapism into something that really has a solid punch.

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