Cabaret Is Ten!

Update: July 1st 2014.

Cabaret Berlin is pleased to be able to offer 20% discount on tickets for this production of Cabaret. Use the link at the bottom of this article, or call/email the box office using the keyword “Brendan Nash” to obtain your discount. 

First staged at Berlin’s Bar Jeder Vernunft back in 2004, Vincent Patterson’s superb German-language production of Cabaret celebrates its tenth anniversary and is back at the Tipi Am Kanzleramt for an eight-week run this Summer.

 (Photo: Jan Wirdeier)

Seven Sally Bowles, five Fraulein Schneiders and nineteen Kit-Kat girls have featured in the production over the years, but returning for this season are regulars Michael Kargus as the Conferencier (MC) and Mogens Eggemann as Kit-Kat girl extraordinaire, Frenchie.

(Photo: Jan Wirdeier)

(Photo: Jan Wirdeier)

(Photo: Jan Wirdeier)

Based on the novel ‘Goodbye To Berlin’ by Christopher Isherwood and John van Druten’s ‘I am a Camera’, with music and lyrics by  John Kander & Fred Ebb, Cabaret’s depiction of life in early 1930’s Berlin is a modern classic and as relevant today as ever.

A must-see for Berlin visitors and residents alike.

July 4th to August 30th 2014

Tickets €20 to €59.50

Tickets can also be reserved by phone or email

030-390 665 50


Use the keyword “Brendan Nash” for 20% discount on tickets

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Happy Birthday Mr. Bachardy

The portrait artist Don Bachardy is 80 today.

Donald Jess Bachardy was born on May 18th 1934 in Los Angeles.  In February of 1953, he met the British writer Christopher Isherwood, 30 years his senior, and they began a relationship that would last 33 years right up to the writer’s death in 1986.

He studied at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles and the Slade School of Art in London, where he had his first solo exhibition, at the Redfern Gallery, in October 1961.

He has since exhibited in solo shows across North America and his work is in the permanent collections of Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the MH de Young Museum of Art in California and the National Portrait Gallery in London.


He still lives in Santa Monica, California in the house that he and Christopher Isherwood moved into over 50 years ago and has a studio there where he continues to draw and paint most days.

In September 2013, he travelled to Berlin for the first time and visited the apartment at Nollendorfstrasse 17, where Christopher Isherwood lived and wrote about during his time in Berlin, in the closing years of the Weimar Republic.

Don at Christopher’s window, Nollendorfstraße 17, September 2013 (pic: Brendan Nash)

Exterior of Nollendorfstraße 17, September 2013 (Pic: Brendan Nash)

Don Bachardy and Brendan Nash, Soho Theatre London, September 2013 (Pic: Katrina Buchanan)

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April 24th 1970

“Then I had lunch with Jean Ross and her daughter Sarah, and three of their friends at a little restaurant in Chancery Lane. Jean looks old but still rather beautiful and she is very lively and active and mentally on the spot – and as political as ever. Sarah is a barrister and, according to Jean, hasn’t cared to marry because ‘ since she took to the law, she has seen so much of what marriage lets you in for’.  Sarah is rather plump but quite nice looking.

Seeing Jean made me happy; I think if I lived here I’d see a lot of her”

Christopher Isherwood, April 24th 1970


Sadly, this would be the last time they met. Isherwood returned to the United States and three years later, on April 27th 1973,  Jean died of cervical cancer at her home in Barnes, south west London. She was cremated at Mortlake Crematorium on May 4th 1973.

(Pic: Jean Ross by Humphrey Spender, 1931)

It is entirely appropriate that today, April 24th 2014, a new production of Cabaret has its opening night at Studio 54 in  New York.

Alongside Alan Cumming reviving his role as the MC is Michelle Willams in the iconic role of Sally Bowles.

( Michelle Williams at Sally Bowles cafe-bar in Berlin, January 2014. Pic: Brendan Nash)





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Review: Gayle Tufts ‘Love’

Gayle Tufts ‘Love!’

at The Tipi am Kanzleramt.


(pic: Jan Wirdeier)

Gayle Tufts’ new show is all about love in its many, many forms. The titular opening song makes this unequivocal case from the very start:

“Love – the reason that I wake up every day

 Love – the reason that a young man knows he’s gay

 Love – it’s here inside my heart

 It’s a place to start”


The show is also about this American-born entertainer’s love for her adopted country of Germany – its traditions, foibles, hang-ups, men and, of course, its leader.

In true Weimar tradition, the powerful are never too big to be made fun of from a cabaret stage, and Frau Merkel is no exception. A hilarious re-working of the Carly Rae Jepson hit ‘Call Me, Maybe’ sees the Bundeskanzlerin pleading with the world to love her and also nicely references the alleged phone-tapping activities of the US secret services.


Accompanied on the piano by the magnificent Marian Lux and the surprisingly game-for-it string trio ‘Strings de Lux’  the combination of re-imagined covers and original songs come thick and fast. A stand-out moment of the first half being the very beautiful “The One That Got Away”, especially written for the show by Tufts and Lux.

(pic: Jan Wirdeier)

In preparing for the show, Gayle Tufts asked her followers on social media to suggest their favourite love songs and was, unsurprisingly, deluged with offerings of heartbreak and woe! The 11-song ‘Break-up Medley’ that closes the first half is a hilarious journey through the work of  Adele, Elton John, Prince and Dolly Parton. Finally, someone gets it – ‘I Will Always Love You’ is not a cutesy love song by any stretch of the imagination but a tale of utter despair.

The second half opens with Ms.Tufts dressed as a bee. Why? “because I fucking want to”  and there you have it! A unique performer in her own right, it doesn’t take a leap of the imagination to see the influences of the likes of Bette Midler at work here – and there’s nothing wrong with that!

The ‘love’ theme continues with the German adoration of both football and Schlager music on Saturday night TV shows, and then brings us back into more traditional territory of the songs of Irving Berlin.

(pic: Jan Wirdeier)

This show is a masterclass in ‘Denglish’ – stories starting in German end in English and vice versa. The two languages flip-flop throughout and even with the shakiest grasp on either, the audience is never left wondering what is going on.


A first-night standing ovation at the Tipi and worthy of continued packed houses.



Tipi am Kanzleramt

8 April to 4th March 2014

Tuesday to Saturday 20:00 (entry from 18:30)

Sunday 19:00 ( entry from 17:30)

Tickets: €20.80 to €34.50

030 39 06 65 50

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Marlene Dietrich’s Berlin


One of Berlin’s most notable addresses is a modest apartment block halfway down an unassuming side street, just to the west of Julius-Leber-Brücke S-Bahn station in Schöneberg.

The 20th century was just two years old when Maria Magdalene Dietrich was born at Leberstraße 65, then known as Sedanstraße, on December 27th 1901, but it was only the first of many apartments around Schöneberg the family would live in over the next three decades.

(plaque at Leberststraße 65. Pic – Brendan Nash)

(plaque at Leberststraße 65. Pic – Brendan Nash)

Maria’s parents, police officer Louis Dietrich and Josephine Felsing, a watchmaker’s daughter, had married in 1898 and immediately taken up residence in the newly-built first floor apartment, which was directly above the police station where Louis was based. Their first child Elisabeth was born two years later in February 1900.

By 1904, the now family of four had outgrown their modest dwelling in Sedanstraße and moved into the ground floor of Kolonnenstraße 48, just around the corner. This was a very quiet neighbourhood and a safe environment for the two young girls.  Their father, keen on his children having a good education, engaged  private tutors and the girls taught English, French and music from a very early age.

Two years later, the family were on the move again, this time to the stylish and more upmarket Potsdamer Straße 48 (now number 116).  But their time here was to be shorter than intended: Louis Dietrich’s  became ill and he was admitted to a sanatorium. They moved home again to be near him in the hospital and rented a house at Akazienallee 48 in the Westend.

On August 5th 1908, Louis Dietrich died from a long-standing syphilis infection in the ‘Haus für Gemütskranke’ on Nußbaumallee. His widow and her two daughters immediately had to undergo blood tests to ensure they had not also been infected, and thankfully the results were negative. In later life, Marlene would maintain that her father had died in a horse riding accident.


Less than a year after moving west, the family were back in the city centre in a second floor apartment at Tauentzienstraße 13. Money was tight for Josephine and her daughters, living on only a widow’s pension. However, Josephine was determined to continue her daughters’ private music and language lessons and Marlene struck up an intense friendship with her new French teacher, Mademoiselle Breguand.

(young Marlene Dietrich. Pic- unknown)

This apartment opposite the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche was to be their home for the next six years, with the girls attending the Auguste-Viktoria-Mädchenschule in nearby Nürnberger Straße.

In 1914, Josephine married the best-friend of her deceased husband, Eduard von Losch. It was a very modest ceremony with not even the Dietrich daughters in attendance and with Josephine still dressed in her widow’s attire.

The family moved to an elegant garden apartment at Kaiserallee 219 (now known as Bundesallee).

The two teenage sisters filled their lives with music, playing Bach and Chopin at home and singing along to all the current popular hits at the local ice rinks and dances.

When war broke out in July 1914, their step-father was immediately drafted and, by September, was recovering from injuries in a hospital in Braunschweig. The family spent three weeks there looking after him before he was sent back to the front.

As the war intensified, Josephine moved herself and her daughters out of Berlin to relatives of her husband’s in Dessau, where they spent most of 1915 and 1916. It was the first time Maria and Elisabeth had been away from Berlin. Eduard von Losch was killed in battle in 1916 and Josephine was once again a widow.

By spring of 1917 the family had returned to Berlin and to Kaiserallee, but this time to a fourth floor apartment at No. 135. Maria loved their new abode and thrived at school and in her private tuition. She was becoming very accomplished on the violin and had developed an interest in the performing arts. A huge crush on the silent film actress Henny Porten only increased this interest. On Friday afternoons, Maria would queue outside the Mozartsaal Kino on Nollendorfplatz (now Goya), hoping to catch a glimpse of her heroine as the film stars arrived for that evening’s premiere.

(Mozartsaal Kino on Nollendorfplatz, now Goya)

Josephine was becoming increasing concerned by her daughter’s behaviour, her wild crushes and rebelliousness and, early in 1919, Maria was sent to a musical boarding school in Weimar. This did nothing to dampen her enthusiasm for falling in love and after an affair with a married man was discovered, she was sent back home to Berlin. Now going under the name of Marlene, she returned to her mother’s apartment in Bundesallee 135. However, a diagnosis of severe tendonitis brought an end to her thoughts of a career as a concert violinist.

She had by now auditioned for the Deutsches Theater and was appearing in small walk-on roles and occasional cabarets, much to the displeasure of her mother, who felt the entertainment business was unsuitable. In 1922, and after several failed auditions, she was finally been accepted into Max Reinhardt’s theatre school, making her debut with the company in December of that year.

(Nassauische Straße 30, today. Pic- Brendan Nash)

Marlene’s work rate was impressive: she accepted almost anything that came her way, and by early 1923 had appeared in 17 silent films and 26 stage productions, all in minor supporting roles. She had also met Rudolf Sieber, whom she married on May 14th 1923 at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche. They moved into the first of their three homes in the area, at Nassauische Straße 30, but Marlene soon fell pregnant and by the following year they had moved again, this time back to Bundesallee at No.17.

(Bundesallee 17, today. Pic – Brendan Nash)

Their daughter, Maria Elizabeth Sieber, was born on the December 13th 1924, but by this time, their marriage was all but over. Rudolf had dissolved their wedding vows  and given Marlene complete financial independence. However, they continued to live together and in 1925 moved again, into the family home they would share for the next six years at Bundesallee 54.

(Bundesallee 54, today. Pic – Brendan Nash)

Over the next few years, Marlene’s star would continue to rise and she embarked on numerous affairs – mostly with women. Rudi’s lover, the Russian dancer Tamara Matul, also moved into the family home. She was officially a nanny for young Maria and her relationship with Rudi was kept secret, both from the child and from the public.


On the night of April 1st 1930,  Marlene attended the premiere of The Blue Angel – her first leading role in a movie – at the Gloria Palast on Kurfürstendamm. She took to the stage after the screening, accepting the audience applause and bouquets, then took a taxi to the Anhalter Bahnhof for a train out of Berlin. She was heading for Hollywood.


Marlene was to have one last home in Berlin, though. After her death in Paris on May 6th 1992, her body was flown home and buried ten days later at the Städtischer Friedhof in Stubenrauchstraße, near her mother and a stone’s throw from her home on the Bundesallee.


(Städtischer Friedhof. Pic- Brendan Nash)

“Hier steh’ ich an den Marken meiner Tage” 



The Dietrich/ von Losch/ Sieber family homes:

1898 – 1904 Leberstraße 65

1904 – 1906 Kolonnenstraße 48/49

1906 -1907 Potsdamer Straße 116

1907 -1908 Akazienallee 48

1908 -1914 Tauentzienstraße 13

1914 – 1915 Bundesallee 219/220

1915 – 1917 Dessau

1917 – 1923 Bundesallee 135

1923 – 1924 Nassauische Straße 30

1924 – 1925 Bundesallee 17

1925 – 1930 Bundesallee 54

 1992 – Today Städtischer Friedhof, Stubenrauchstraße.

This article was originally written for, and published by, Slow Travel Berlin.

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