Monday, September 12, 2016

Musical Monday - Wilkommen by Joel Grey

The 1972 movie Cabaret, directed by Bob Fosse, takes place in 1931 against the backdrop of the rise of fascism in the Weimar Republic. All but one of the musical numbers take place within the confines of the seedy Kit Kat Klub, a Berlin cabaret where the Master of Ceremonies (played by Joel Grey), and Sally Bowles (played by Liza Minelli) work, but they reflect the developments in the larger story that takes place in the outside world, including the growing anti-Semitism and increasing profile and power of the Nazi Party. Given the candidacy of Trump for the U.S. Presidency and his tendency towards xenophobia, racism, and misogyny, these songs seem apropos at the moment.

Wilkommen is the opening number, introducing both the venue and some of the characters that the story will follow. The performance also features some of Fosse's choreography, which reflects his signature style. At this point, the fascists are nowhere in sight, except for a slightly suggestive mustache on one of the cabaret patrons, and people come to the club to get away from the hard realities of the Great Depression. The story will get darker, but for now, the musical is showing the audience a moment of pure hedonism.

Previous Musical Monday: The River by Bruce Springsteen
Subsequent Musical Monday: Mein Herr by Liza Minnelli

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