Entertainment » Music

Cabaret - Original London Cast Recording

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Tuesday Nov 27, 2012
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"Cabaret," the classic musical from composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb, debuted on Broadway in November of 1966, running for a spectacular 1,165 performances and garnering seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The production subsequently received a successful London mounting in 1968, where it ran for 336 performances. Now Masterworks Broadway continues its current mission of making its rare Broadway recordings available digitally by releasing the London recording, starring Judi Dench (long before she became a "dame") as the hedonistic heroine, Sally Bowles, and film star Lila Kedrova as the landlady Fraulein Schneider, both of them in their debut musical roles.

With American Barry Dennen making his British stage debut as the Master of Ceremonies of the notorious Kit Kat Klub in 1930 Berlin, "Cabaret" explores the cross culture conflicts of the German people between their religious upbringing, class status, and political affiliation. The American writer Clifford Bradshaw (effectively portrayed by Kevin Colson, and loosely based on real life writer Christopher Isherwood) provides the objective "eye" to Berlin’s transformation into the capital of Nazi Germany, while he falls out and in love with the British chanteuse Sally Bowles (Dench). Dench shows that she was well cast in the role, and it’s unfortunate that we didn’t get to hear more from her before she established her respectable dramatic and cinematic career.

The musical arrangements strongly resemble the original Broadway recording, and there are no extra tracks included, but this version of "Cabaret" is worth the purchase, if only to hear Dench singing the classic songs, "Don’t Tell Mama" and "Cabaret" and to get another take on the powerful tunes given to Kedrova’s character, "So What?" and "What Would You Do?"

"Cabaret"
1968 London Cast Recording
CD and digital formats
Masterworks Broadway

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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