Kabarett Fête

Winner of the 2008 BackStage Bistro Award for
"Outstanding Special Event

In October 2006, I came up with an idea for a festival devoted entirely to the European cabaret songbook — the original cabaret songbook. Three months later and with donations from private donors and businesses, a motley crew of singers, instrumentalists and actors mounted New York’s first festival for the European cabaret arts. Kabarett Fête played to sold-out houses at Helen’s in the heart of Chelsea. 25 performers in all gave stirring programs in the music of France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Poland and Sweden.

We presented the music of Kurt Weill, Marlene Dietrich, Jacques Brel, Edith Piaf, Yves Montand and Charles Aznavour. We had songs of sex and scandal, war and exile. Two acts were written for Kabarett Fête: Olivia Stevens paid tribute to the controversial siren of the Third Reich, Zarah Leander, and Rebecca Fletcher evoked the Yiddish cabaret of Warsaw from stage to ghetto. I secured the rights to screen Totentanz (Dance of Death) by Berlin filmmaker Volker Kuehn in New York for the first time, a film combining rare footage of cabaret in the concentration camps with interviews of surviving artists.

Kabarett Fête was an artistic and financial success in its inaugural year — we’ll be in touch about the next one!


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