Cabaret (1998 Version)


In a Berlin nightclub, as the 1920’s draw to a close, a garish Master of Ceremonies welcomes the audience and assures them they will forget all their troubles at the CABARET. With the Emcee’s bawdy songs as wry commentary, CABARET explores the dark, heady, and tumultuous life of Berlin’s natives and expatriates as Germany slowly yields to the emerging Third Reich. Cliff, a young American writer newly arrived in Berlin, is immediately taken by English singer Sally Bowles. Meanwhile, Fräulein Schneider, proprietor of Cliff and Sally’s boarding house, tentatively begins a romance with Herr Schultz, a mild-mannered fruit seller who happens to be Jewish. Musical numbers include “Willkommen,” “Cabaret,” “Don’t Tell Mama” and “Two Ladies.”

NOTE: Three Broadway versions of this show (1966,1987, and 1998) are available for licensing. Though all three follow the same story and share most songs, there are some differences in the script and score for each:

  • Only this 1998 version includes “Mein Herr” and “Maybe This Time.”
  • Only the Original 1966 version includes “Why Should I Wake Up?” and “Meeskite.”
  • Only the Revised 1987 version includes “Don’t Go.”
  • The 1966 and 1987 versions include “The Telephone Song” and “Sitting Pretty.” This 1998 version does not.
  • The 1987 and 1998 versions include “The Money Song” and “I Don’t Care Much.” The Original 1967 version does not.
  • The three versions differ in their treatment of the character of Cliff: In the Original 1966 version, there is no suggestion that he may be gay or bisexual. In the Revised 1987 version his bisexuality is implied, and in the 1998 version, he is clearly gay or bisexual.

All three versions include “Willkommen,” “So What,” “Don’t Tell Mama,” “Perfectly Marvelous,” “Two Ladies,” “It Couldn’t Please Me More (The Pineapple Song),” “Tomorrow Belongs to Me,” “Married,” “If You Could See Her” and “Cabaret.”

Authorized performance and rehearsal tracks for CABARET (1998 Version) are available from The MT Pit. For more information, visit

Music samples courtesy of Masterworks Broadway, Alley Music Co. and Trio Music Co.

  • Synopsis
  • Credits
  • Orchestration
  • Materials
  • Cast
  • History
  • Musical Numbers
  • Upcoming
  • Act I

    Germany, New Year’s Eve, 1929: The Master of Ceremonies, or Emcee, welcomes the audience to the Kit Kat Club, a seedy Berlin nightspot (“Willkommen”).

    Meanwhile, in a railway car, an aspiring young American writer named Clifford Bradshaw heads towards Berlin in hopes of finding inspiration for a new novel. Cliff meets Ernst Ludwig, a German who appears to be in the smuggling business. When Cliff inadvertently helps him, Ernst recommends a boarding house in Berlin. Fräulein Schneider, the proprietress of the boarding house, offers Cliff a room for one hundred marks. When he hesitates, she accepts half the usual price; years of oppression have left her weary but pragmatic (“So What?).

    On his first night in Berlin, Cliff visits the Kit Kat Klub, where the Emcee introduces a young English singer named Sally Bowles (“Don’t Tell Mama”). After Sally’s number, Max, the proprietor of the club, fires her; he says it’s “time for a new face.” When Cliff comes backstage, Sally flirts and attempts to shock him. Sally leaves Cliff alone in her dressing room, and a young man named Bobby enters. As Cliff and Bobby kiss, Sally sings her final number at the club (“Mein Herr”).

    The next day, as Cliff finishes teaching an English lesson to Ernst, Sally suddenly appears in Cliff’s room with her baggage. Max has thrown her out, and she convinces Cliff (and Fräulein Schneider) to let her move in (“Perfectly Marvelous”). The Emcee and two companions sing a bawdy number about cohabitation (“Two Ladies”).

    Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit seller, woos Fräulein Schneider with the gift of a costly pineapple (“It Couldn’t Please Me More”). On a small gramophone, the Emcee plays a recording of a young boy singing a patriotic anthem to the Fatherland (“Tomorrow Belongs to Me”).

    Months pass. Cliff is getting nowhere with his novel, but has grown accustomed to life with Sally. Sally reveals that she is pregnant. After the initial shock, Cliff is excited by the prospect of fatherhood, and Sally allows herself to hope (“Maybe This Time”). Ernst arrives and offers Cliff a job smuggling a briefcase into Germany, and Cliff accepts. The Emcee comments on everyone’s need for cash (“Money”).

    Meanwhile, Fräulein Schneider has caught one of her boarders, Fräulein Kost, soliciting sailors in her room. Fräulein Kost notes Fräulein Schneider’s hypocrisy; she has seen Herr Schultz spend the night in Fräulein Schneider’s room. To save Fräulein Schneider’s reputation, Herr Schultz declares they are engaged to be wed in three weeks (“Married”).

    At the engagement party, Cliff hands Ernst the smuggled suitcase in exchange for an envelope full of cash. Ernst removes his coat, revealing a swastika armband. Realizing that Herr Schultz is Jewish, Ernst goes to leave, but Fräulein Kost stops him, singing “Tomorrow Belongs To Me.” As Cliff, Sally, Herr Schultz and Fräulein Schneider look on, the entire ensemble joins in singing the Nazi anthem.

    Act II

    The second act begins with the Kit Kat Girls and the Emcee, in drag, dancing in a kick-line that morphs into a goosestep. Fräulein Schneider expresses her concerns about marrying Herr Schultz, but he assuages her fears (“Married” Reprise). But their moment of reconciliation is interrupted by the crash of a brick thrown through the window of Herr Schultz’s shop. At the Kit Kat Klub, the Emcee performs a duet with a female gorilla, explaining that society will not accept their love (“If You Could See Her”).

    Fräulein Schultz breaks off her engagement to Herr Schultz (“What Would You Do?”). Cliff decides to take Sally back to America where they can raise the baby together. Sally protests, declaring how wonderful their life in Berlin is, and Cliff sharply tells her to “wake up” and take notice of the growing unrest around them. As the Emcee sings a rueful ballad (“I Don’t Care Much”), Cliff and Sally brutally waken each other to the truth. At the Kit Kat Klub, Cliff and Ernst argue, and Ernst’s Nazi bodyguards beat Cliff and drag him out. On stage, the Emcee introduces Sally, who enters to perform again, singing that “life is a cabaret, old chum,” cementing her decision to live in carefree ignorance (“Cabaret”).

    The next morning, as Cliff is packing to leave, Herr Schultz explains that he is moving to another boardinghouse, confident that the bad times will soon pass. He understands the German people, he says, because he is a German too. When Sally returns, she reveals that she’s had an abortion; Cliff slaps her. As Cliff leaves, Sally asks him to dedicate his novel to her. On the train to Paris, Cliff begins to write his novel, reflecting on his experiences: “There was a cabaret, and there was a master of ceremonies, and there was a city called Berlin, in a country called Germany… and it was the end of the world.” (“Willkommen” Reprise).

    In the Kit Kat Klub, the Emcee again welcomes the audience (“Willkommen”), but he is now harsh and violent. The set disappears, leaving only white space. The Emcee sings, “Auf Wiedersehen… à bientôt…” and slowly removes his coat, revealing the clothes of a concentration camp prisoner. There is a drum roll and cymbal crash. Blackout.

    Book by Joe Masteroff
    Based on the play by John Van Druten and
    Stories by Christopher Isherwood
    Music by John Kander           Lyrics by Fred Ebb
    Co-directed and Choreographed by Rob Marshall
    Directed by Sam Mendes

    Such credits to the authors for all purposes shall be in type size equal to or greater than that of any other credits except for that of the star(s) above the title. In the programs, the credits shall appear on the title page thereof.

    The title page of the program shall contain the following announcement in type size at least one-half the size of the authors’ credits:

    is presented by arrangement with
    Tams-Witmark, A Concord Theatricals Company

    Additionally, you agree to include the above language hyperlinked to on all websites on which you promote the play.

  • NOTE: Authorized performance and rehearsal tracks for CABARET (1998 Version) are available from The MT Pit. For more information, visit

    Full Orchestration

    1 Reed I (Clarinet, Alto Saxophone & optional Clarinet in A)
    1 Reed II (Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone)

    1 Trumpet
    1 Trombone

    1 Synthesizer (primarily Accordion)
    1 Guitar/Banjo (primarily Banjo)
    1 Bass
    1 Drums

    Piano (Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material [2 volumes])

    Optional Orchestra Parts

    (played by actors, if possible, for certain numbers only)

    1 Violin
    1 Viola
    1 Cello

    1 Alto Saxophone
    1 Tenor Saxophone & Clarinet
    1 Clarinet
    1 Flute

    1 Trumpet II
    1 Tuba

    1 Accordion
    1 Harp

  • Rehearsal Materials

    2       Piano/Conductor Scores
    20     Libretto/Vocal Books

    NOTE: Authorized performance and rehearsal tracks for CABARET (1998 Version) are available from The MT Pit. For more information, visit

  • Master of Ceremonies (Emcee)
    Sally Bowles
    Clifford Bradshaw
    Ernst Ludwig
    Customs Official
    (doubles as Herman, non-speaking; and Max, speaking)
    Fräulein Schneider
    Fräulein Kost
    (doubles as Fritz, non-speaking)
    Rudy (a sailor, non-speaking; doubles as Hans, also non-speaking)
    Herr Schultz
    (doubles as Herman, non-speaking, and Customs Official, speaking)
    Gorilla (non-speaking, doubles as French, also non-speaking)
    Boy Soprano (pre-recorded, non-speaking)

    The Kit Kat Girls:
    Rosie (non-speaking)
    Lulu (non-speaking)
    Frenchie (non-speaking, doubles as Gorilla, also non-speaking)
    Fritzie (non-speaking, doubles as Fräulein Kost, who speaks)

    The Kit Kat Boys:
    Hans (non-speaking, doubles as Rudy, a sailor, also non-speaking)
    Herman (non-speaking, doubles as Customs Official and Max, both speaking)

    The 1998 Broadway production had a cast of 16 performers, plus pre-recorded Boy Soprano voice. Some doubling was employed in the minor parts, as outlined above.

  • CABARET opened on Broadway on November 20, 1966, and played for 1,165 performances at the Broadhurst, Imperial, and Broadway Theatres. The London production ran for 336 performances at the Palace Theatre. The show was revised for Broadway, first in 1987, when it played for 261 performances at the Imperial and Minskoff Theatres, and again in 1998 at Studio 54, where it played for 2,377 performances. In 2014, CABARET returned to Broadway at Studio 54, playing an additional 388 performances.

    Awards (1967)

    8 Tony Awards for Musical, Composer and Lyricist, Director, Choreographer, Scenic Design, Costume Design, Featured Actor and Featured Actress
    The Outer Critics Circle Award for Production
    The New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical

    Awards (1998)

    4 Tony Awards for Revival, Actor, Actress, and Featured Actor
    3 Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Revival, Actor and Actress
    3 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Revival, Actor and Actress

  • Act I

    1. “Willkommen” – M.C. & Company
    2. Playoff: Willkommen – Orchestra
    3. Train Music – Orchestra
    4. “Welcome to Berlin” – M.C.
    5. “So What?” – Fräulein Schneider
    6. Klub Transition – Orchestra
    7. “Don’t Tell Mama” – Sally & the Kit Kat Girls
    8. Playoff: Don’t Tell Mama – Orchestra
    9. Underscore: Don’t Tell Mama – Orchestra
    10. “Mein Herr” – Sally & Girls
    11. Playoff: Mein Herr — Orchestra
    12. “Perfectly Marvelous” – Sally & Cliff
    13. “Two Ladies” – M.C. & Two Girls
    14. Playoff: Two Ladies – Orchestra
    15. “It Couldn’t Please Me More” – Schneider, Schultz, & M.C.
    16. Into Tomorrow – Orchestra
    16a. “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” – Boy’s Voice (pre-recorded)
    17. Scene Change: After Tomorrow – Orchestra
    18. “Maybe This Time” – Sally
    19. “Money” – M.C. & Girls
    20. Playoff & Underscore: Money – Orchestra
    21. “Married” – Schultz, Kost, & Schneider
    22. Fruit Shop Dance – Orchestra
    23. Reprise: Tomorrow Belongs to Me – Kost, Ernst, & Guests

    Act II

    24. Entr’acte – Orchestra
    25. Kick Line Number – Girls
    26. Reprise: “Married” – Schultz
    27. “If You Could See Her” – M.C.
    28. Playoff: If You Could See Her – Orchestra
    29. “What Would You Do?” – Schneider
    30. “I Don’t Care Much” – M.C.
    31. Incidental: The Fight – Orchestra
    32. “Cabaret” – Sally
    33. Underscore: After Cabaret – Orchestra
    34. Finale (recorded) – Cliff & M.C.
    35. End of Show – M.C.

  • Find upcoming performances near you.

    Search for performances near you
    Organization City, State First Performance Last Performance
    Colorado State University School for the Arts Fort Collins, CO 11/15/2019 02/15/2020
    Seattle Gilbert & Sullivan Seattle, WA 11/22/2019 12/21/2019
    Arizona Theatre Company Tucson, AZ 11/30/2019 12/29/2019
    Theatre Intrepide Inc - DBA A.C.T. Studio Theatre Stuart, FL 01/04/2020 01/20/2020
    Arizona Theatre Company Phoenix, AZ 01/05/2020 01/26/2020
    Chattahoochee High School Alpharetta, GA 01/16/2020 01/19/2020
    Bishop O'Dowd High School Oakland, CA 01/17/2020 01/26/2020
    New Candlelight Productions Wilmington, DE 01/18/2020 02/23/2020
    Virginia Samford Theatre Birmingham, AL 01/23/2020 02/09/2020
    College of the Holy Cross Worcester, MA 01/30/2020 02/09/2020
    Ghostlight Productions Staten Island, NY 01/30/2020 02/09/2020
    Theater to Go Princeton Junction, NJ 01/31/2020 02/09/2020
    Sheridan College Oakville, ON 02/12/2020 02/24/2020
    Florida Southern College Lakeland, FL 02/13/2020 02/24/2020
    University of Illinois Lyric Theatre Department Urbana, IL 02/14/2020 02/23/2020
    Encore! Performing Arts Clermont, FL 02/14/2020 02/23/2020
    Fair Lady Productions Naperville, IL 02/14/2020 02/16/2020
    The Loomis Chaffee School Windsor, CT 02/19/2020 02/22/2020
    Lindbergh High School St. Louis, MO 02/20/2020 02/22/2020
    University of Findlay Findlay, OH 02/21/2020 02/23/2020
    High Point Community Theatre High Point, NC 02/27/2020 03/01/2020
    Spokane Civic Theatre Spokane, WA 02/28/2020 03/22/2020
    Ovations Theatre Rockville, MD 02/29/2020 03/02/2020
    Royal Bay Secondary Victoria, BC 03/04/2020 03/07/2020
    Central College Pella, IA 03/04/2020 03/08/2020
    Morristown Beard School Morristown, NJ 03/04/2020 03/07/2020
    Bristol Riverside Theatre Bristol, PA 03/10/2020 04/05/2020
    Argyle Theatre Babylon, NY 03/12/2020 04/19/2020
    Albany High School Albany, NY 03/12/2020 03/15/2020
    Front Row Centre Players Calgary, AB 03/20/2020 04/04/2020
    Macon Little Theatre Macon, GA 03/20/2020 03/29/2020
    Loyola University New Orleans, LA 03/20/2020 03/28/2020
    Grand Prairie Arts Council GRAND PRAIRIE, TX 03/20/2020 03/29/2020
    Daytona Playhouse Daytona Beach, FL 03/27/2020 04/12/2020
    Lindenwood University Saint Charles, MO 04/01/2020 04/04/2020
    Penn State Harrisburg Middletown, PA 04/02/2020 04/04/2020
    Oakland University Rochester, MI 04/02/2020 04/13/2020
    Bucknell University Lewisburg, PA 04/03/2020 04/06/2020
    Act 3 Productions Atlanta, GA 04/10/2020 04/26/2020
    Reboot Theatre Company Seattle, WA 04/10/2020 04/25/2020
    Columbus State University Columbus, GA 04/10/2020 04/18/2020
    Oakland School for the Arts Oakland, CA 04/15/2020 04/19/2020
    Sunset Playhouse Elm Grove, WI 04/23/2020 05/10/2020
    The Actors Gang Culver City, CA 04/23/2020 06/13/2020
    Renaissance Performing Arts Mansfield, OH 04/24/2020 05/02/2020
    Dieruff High School Allentown, PA 04/24/2020 04/26/2020
    South Valley Civic Theatre Morgan Hill, CA 04/24/2020 05/16/2020
    University of Washington-School of Drama Seattle, WA 04/25/2020 05/17/2020
    Scarborough Music Theatre Scarborough, ON 04/30/2020 05/16/2020
    Greater Grand Forks Community Theatre Grand Forks, ND 05/13/2020 05/23/2020
    MNM Theatre Company WEST PALM BEACH, FL 05/15/2020 05/31/2020
    Pull-Tight Players Franklin, TN 05/29/2020 06/13/2020
    Columbian Theatre Wamego, KS 06/05/2020 06/22/2020
    Second Generation Theatre Company Buffalo, NY 06/12/2020 06/28/2020
    Guthrie Theater Minneapolis, MN 06/15/2020 08/17/2020
    Butterfield Stage Players Gainesville, TX 06/18/2020 06/29/2020
    Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera Pittsburgh, PA 06/19/2020 06/28/2020
    Mill Mountain Theatre Roanoke, VA 06/24/2020 07/05/2020
    Clear Space Theatre Company Rehoboth Beach, DE 07/01/2020 08/27/2020
    Sandstone Summer Theatre Amherst, OH 07/09/2020 07/11/2020
    State Theatre Center for the Arts Uniontown, PA 07/24/2020 07/26/2020
    Broadway Theatre of Pitman Pitman, NJ 10/23/2020 11/15/2020
    Methacton Community Theater Norristown, PA 11/06/2020 11/15/2020