Airdate: The Real Cabaret

ABC2 has a bit of a treat for fans of music theatre next month.

The Real Cabaret is a special in which Alan Cumming (The Good Wife) looks at German cabaret and meets such luminary names as Liza Minnelli, composer John Kander and performer Ute Lemper.

Few musicals can claim to capture the mood of a historical period as well as the 1972 classic film Cabaret.

Liza Minnelli’s unforgettable portrayal of singer Sally Bowles, and the film’s stylish recreation of the era have become defining images of Weimar Berlin.

The Real Cabaret pays tribute to the magic of the original film and explores the fascinating and often shocking reality of the people and stories that inspired it.

In 1930, a young British writer, Christopher Isherwood, travelled to Berlin, and it is his memoir, Goodbye to Berlin, that vividly captured the period and greatly inspired the classic film.

Actor Alan Cumming journeys back to Berlin in Christopher Isherwood’s footsteps to delve into the truths behind the fiction and meets many of the original stars including Liza Minnelli and talks to cabaret artists, among them acclaimed performer Ute Lemper.

He says the real world of Weimar cabaret represented a time in history, a unique time when freedom of expression – sexual, political and artistic – came together like never before or since.

Alan talks to the composer of Cabaret, John Kander, about the inspiration for the film’s most famous songs and discovers the stories of the original composers and performers such as Marlene Dietrich.

Alan also reveals the tragic fate of many of the cabaret artists at the hands of the Nazis. Most of them did not escape the concentration camps to which they were sent.

It airs 7:30pm Sunday, 7 November.

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