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Julian Wiles, Founder and Producing Artistic Director
Marybeth Clark, Associate Artistic Director

April 16, 2010

Kurt Weil, Lotte Lenya and Fraulein Schneider

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 10:14 am

by Jan Gilbert, Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret

In the original production of Cabaret the legendary Austrian actress and singer, Lotte Lenya played my part.  Lenya was the wife of Kurt Weil and had appeared in his classic Three Penny Opera, winning a Tony Award when it was later presented on Broadway.  Since many of Fraulein Schneider’s songs sound very much like the music of Kurt Weil, it was an appropriate choice.  Weil had made a name for himself with his dark and brooding musicals and indeed the songs I have in this show are not traditional fluffy showtunes—far from it, they are hard hitting, passionate and often dark and brooding.  In many ways Weil’s influence on American Musicals (he was a refugee himself from Nazi Germany) was enormous bringing realism and naturalism to this traditional American form.  There’s no doubt that Kander and Ebb were influenced by Weil and gave Fraulein Schneider some of the most haunting moments and music in the show.


Demetre Homer as Herr Schultz and Jan Gilbert as Fraulein Schneider.

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