What is a Cabaret?

It’s a strange word to be sure, but it’s basically another word for a play. The only real change is that unlike traditional plays, the cabarets are mostly preformed in bars, nightclubs, or pubs. Audiences can eat and drink while watching the show, which will include singing, dancing, comedy, and dramas.

Some common performances include drag shows, underground plays, indie performers, and solo performers. In the past, they were seen as higher-class taverns were the nobility could go and dine out, but weren’t associated with any entertainment until much later.

Then they turned into musical places where people could meet up and preform for the locals, and those locals included both the higher and lower classes of society. The show would begin with a monologue by a master of ceremonies, which would often mock various aspects of life and the upper classes.

Soon Cabarets evolved into larger venues that also became more specialized. Some became special for only mocking current events or important figures, while others focused solely on comedy and producing plays and music, and some even focused on erotic themes.

Movement through the world

While some of them weren’t called cabarets, they began to travel through the world and developed followings in the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, and even in the US, with each country adding certain aspects to make the small plays their own. For example, German cabarets focused on gallows humor, and U.S new York city cabaret focused on jazz music and introducing people to up and coming jazz singers, especially in Chicago where the jazz movement was strongest.

new York city cabaret

While they are in decline thanks to the upswing of more traditional shows and the rise of TV, you can still find cabarets at various spots throughout the world and recapture a little piece of performance history.