eddie redmayne with a hat in cabaret

Going to the Kit Kat Club Was a ‘Cabaret’ Experience Like No Other

Musical theatre fans have their favorite musicals. They can bring you joy, make you cry, or just be that escape from the world you need. I would not label the musical Cabaret as any of those things, but it will change the way you think about the world at large.

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The new production starring Eddie Redmayne and Gayle Rankin opened in New York City, and I had the pleasure of attending the show with the quest of capturing what going to the Kit Kat Club feels like. For musicals like Cabaret, you are supposed to be brought into this world and lulled into a sense of security before the world comes crashing down around you. You do leave your troubles outside and forget what you know about history to be taken up in Cliff Bradshaw experiencing Berlin at the tipping point of World War II.

Walking through different floors of the club, starting with a shot as soon as you walk through the doors (that you can opt out of for a non-alcoholic option), you are in the midst of a world of gluttony. You’re told to forget the world and just enjoy the music and the art presented to you. Every floor has a special themed bar with a show prior to walking through, the first floor being the start of your adventure. Performers you’ll see on stage dance around and talk to the guests as they wait in line for drinks and for food options.

You can then go up to the red or green bar, get more drinks and take in the pre-show numbers all before stepping into the main stage of the Kit Kat Club, the experience made that much more magical by your camera having to be turned off.

Welcome to the Kit Kat Club

This isn’t the first time that Cabaret has been set up like an actual cabaret. Often it is the go-to kind of staging, but it’s different sitting in the round, being completely captivated by the story and hearing gasps when people realize that Ludwig is smuggling goods in for the Nazi party or that Fraulein Schneider isn’t going to marry Herr Schultz anymore because he is Jewish.

Every emotion that you would normally feel is intensified by the immersive nature of this production, and given how the artists of Berlin reacted to the impending doom of World War II, it felt incredibly timely on top of everything else happening around me.

Gayle Rankin’s Sally is just as aloof as she has been in the past, but there is an edge to her that makes you believe that, deep down, she understands everything but wants to believe none of it. It’s mesmerizing watching as Eddie Redmayne’s Emcee becomes more like a clown and descending into that “nothing matters” mindset and driving home how dark Cabaret is.

Yes, I went to Cabaret already knowing that it was one of my favorite musicals of all time, a perfect Kander and Ebb piece, but this production took me to the Kit Kat Club, and I will forever cherish the experience.

(featured image: Marc Brenner)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.