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William Grange

Published by Methuen Drama

Where did cabaret come from?

What has it got to do with pre-war Berlin, decadent society and Nazis?

How does it turn into media cabaret and the sisterhood of sleaze?

Is cabaret a primary vehicle for exploring the range of sexual practices and alternative sexual identities?

In this new book William Grange brings into one place for the first time the range of practices now associated with the form of cabaret

Beginning with its origins in speciality German theatres and the development both of the sheet music industry and disc recordings, Grange tracks the form through into its golden age in the 1920s and beyond

The book's three sections deal first with the emergence of Berlin as the 'German Chicago', where cabaret flourished in the midst of post-war political turmoil

The abolition of censorship allowed nude dancing and sexually explicit songs and routines

It also saw the introduction of kick-line dancing and black performers

In the book's second and third sections Grange takes the story forward into the post second-world-war world, describing how the form moved outwards from central Europe to move across the whole world, reaching Singapore and Australia, and as it did so settling into the range of forms in which we know it today

Some of these forms became 'media cabaret' looking towards the new media age, the postmodernism that followed on from modernism

To this age, even in its new forms, cabaret brought its old habits of making challenges to assumptions around gender identities and sexual practices

As throughout its whole history, cabaret was a form that provided particular vehicles for female performers

And whereas it once served up whore songs and nude dancing it now offers a sisterhood of sleaze

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Series Preface


CHAPTER I : Beginnings in France


The Bohemians

Rodolphe Salis

Aristide Bruant

Yvette Guilbert

CHAPTER II: The Craze Spreads to Germany



Frank Wedekind

Kathi Kobus


CHAPTER III: Offshoots: Prague, Kracow, Budapest, Moscow, Zurich






New York

CHAPTER IV: The Golden Age of Cabaret


The Outbreak of War

The New Republic

The Naked Body of Cabaret

Wildness and Megalomania

The Follies of Foliés and Revues

Retorts and Tribunals

CHAPTER V: The Nazi Terror


The National Socialist Reign of Terror

Cabaret in Exile

Klaus and Erika Mann

CHAPTER VI: Cabaret in a Media-Driven Age


The Economic Miracle

Cabaret on the Airwaves

East Germany

Fat and Overfed

The Revolt of the '68ers


Televised Cabaret




Cabaret is a volume in the Forms of Drama Series - the Series Editor is Simon Shepherd

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