General English

Media Studies

  • noun live entertainment in a restaurant, club or bar, consisting of singing, dancing or comic acts


  • A form of intimate nightclub or restaurant entertainment, usuallyaccompanying a meal; it was especially popular in Germany in the 1930sand in Britain and America in the 1960s. The word refers both to thevenue and to the entertainment or floor show. The performance usuallycombines music, dancing, comedy skits, and other forms of light entertainment.

    The term 'cabaret' originated in 17th-century France, whenit meant a drinking house. Modern cabaret developed from musichall during the first boom in nightclubs and cabarets just beforeWorld War I. A leading London venue was the Hotel Metropole, wherein 1922 the 'Midnight Follies' broke all cabaret records. Britishlicensing laws permitted an audience seated at tables to consume foodand alcoholic drinks that could not be served in a theater auditorium.London's Hippodrome became a cabaret restaurant in 1958,renaming itself the Talk of the Town.

    Between the wars, German cabaret drew such leading artisticfigures as Bertolt Brecht. The atmosphere of pre-war Berlin cabaretwas captured by Christopher Isherwood's book Goodbye to Berlin(1929). This was the basis for John van Druten's play I Am a Camera(1951) and the Broadway musical Cabaret.

  • (written as Cabaret)
    The groundbreaking musical by Fred Ebb, John Kander, and Joe Masteroffthat opened on Broadway in 1966 with Jill Haworth as Sally Bowles, Joel Grey asthe Master of Ceremonies, and Lotte Lenya in the role of Fräulein Schneider.The show, which is set in the decadent and dangerous world of 1930s Berlin,won the Tony award as Best Musical. Two years later the London productionwith Judi Dench (who sang "with a voice like fractured glass")won the Evening Standard Award. The 1972 film, which differs significantlyfrom the stage version, earned Oscars for Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey. The songs,with lyrics by Ebb and music by Kander, include 'Cabaret', 'Willkommen','Tomorrow Belongs to Me', and 'The Money Song'.

    The story concerns Clifford Bradshaw, a young American writer,who arrives in Berlin in 1929 and meets Sally Bowles, an English chanteusewho works in the Kit Kat Klub. Cliff grows fond of her and tries totake her away from the growing Nazi menace, but Sally chooses to remain;he writes down the first of his reminiscences as his train departs.