Nazi Germany and Cabaret

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The musical Cabaret depicts an era through song and dance. Music sets the stage and tells the story from the beginning of the film until the very last scene. The film takes place in pre World War II Germany, revolving around the life of a Cabaret performer and the effects of the rising Nazi power during that time. In the very first scene, the decadence of the Cabaret is reflected in the first score of the musical. Throughout the film, its loud music and provocative dance represents the frivolous lifestyle during 1930’s Germany. The purpose of a musical is often times to illustrate a certain period of time through the lives of the characters. In this particular musical, the reckless lifestyle of the Germans during the time was shown through the scenes at the Cabaret. However, as the Nazi party began to gain power, its effects were portrayed through the musical routines performed at the Cabaret. The costumes, as well as the subject of the songs, helped to tell the story by symbolizing this era. The director, Bob Fosse commonly used flash blacks and foreshadowing to make the connection clear to the audience. Fosse’s vision as a musical director was far ahead of his time. The use of an emcee in the musical numbers gave the musical its direction. As the story unfolds, the main character Sally Bowles takes the stage at the Cabaret, and her own personal life mirrors the musical numbers performed. Sally starts off as a free spirit Bohemian, living the life of a Cabaret performer. As her life becomes more complicated, the musical numbers reflect this change. The song “Maybe this Time” reflects her newfound love with Brian Roberts, an English writer living in Germany. Another powerful scene is during the song “Money Money”, when she is choosing between true love and her desire for money. As the movie progresses, the control of the Nazi party strengthens. The director does a fantastic job of implementing a musical score during a scene in which Brian and his friend Max...
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