Originally entitled 'Welcome to Berlin,' 'Cabaret' is based on John Van Druten's play 'I Am a Camera,' which in turn was adapted from the novel 'Mr. Norris Changes Trains' and a collection of short stories, 'Goodbye to Berlin,' by Christopher Isherwood.
Set in 1929-1930 Berlin on the eve of the Nazis' rise to power, the play focuses on nightlife at the seedy Kit Kat Klub and mostly revolves around the English 19-year-old cabaret performer Sally Bowles and her relationship with young American writer, Cliff Bradshaw. A sub-plot involves the doomed romance between German boarding house owner Fräulein Schneider and her elderly suitor Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit vendor. Overseeing the action is the Emcee, who presides as master of ceremonies at the Kit Kat Klub and serves as a constant metaphor for the current state of society in Weimar Germany throughout the show.