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‘Cabaret’ goes back to Berlin

Paterson prod'n more intimate than Mendes' recent staging

NEW YORK — Vincent Paterson’s production of “Cabaret” takes the Kander & Ebb tuner back home to a Berlin cabaret, the famed Bar jeder Vernunft.

“It is hard to explain why neither the composer, the lyricist or I, the book writer of this very specific musical, ever thought about visiting Berlin while we were writing it,” says Joe Masteroff. One reason: They had Lotte Lenya in the original 1966 cast, and whenever anyone asked about Hitler’s Berlin, she told them they’d gotten it right. “And that was good enough for us,” says the scribe.

Paterson’s “Cabaret” is even more intimate than Sam Mendes’ recent staging at Gotham’s Studio 54. “Sam went back to something authentic, but it was still big.”

Paterson had the idea to stage “Cabaret” with a band of five at the Bar jeder Vernunft, which is actually a tent. “This is how it would have been performed in a cabaret in the 1920s,” says the helmer.

Despite a Tony nom for “Kiss of the Spiderwoman,” which he shared with Rob Marshall, Paterson is best known Stateside for his choreography work with Madonna and Michael Jackson on their tours and musicvideos. That work segued to his helming a video of arias sung by Anna Netrebko, which led to his directing her in “Lucia di Lammermoor” at the L.A. Opera. In coming seasons there, he also directs the Russian soprano in “Eugene Onegin” and “Manon.”

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