Cabaret gains loftier heights in Madrid´s Gran Via

Bright lights are going to fire up your soul right in Gran Via as Broadway´s all time successful Cabaret hits the boards at the refurbished Teatro Rialto.

Accolades go out to director Jaime Azpilicueta for staging a new version of Cabaret in the Spanish capital. Theater buffs still recall his brilliant 2003 Cabaret starring talented Spanish theatrical icon Natalia Millián in the title role. The whole world has been a stage for Azpilicueta, who has has masterfully tackled the Greek classics as well as iconic literary works of Lope de Vega, Arthur Miller. Samuel Becket, Tennessee Williams, Shakespeare, Harold Pinter, John Osborne and George Bernard Shaw amongst others. The noted director, whose shining career started in his late teenage years, has successfully presented his plays in many countries in South America as well as in New York. Fifteen million spectators both in Spain and in Latin America over the years have thronged to see his remarkable production of Sé infiel y no mires con quién, which became a box office hit for over twenty years. Celía Cruz, The Musical, one of his recent productions, had a successful nine month run on Broadway. Evita, Barnum and Chorus Line also appear in his ever increasing track record. Once again Azpilicueta has injected a new vein into a much acclaimed musical raising it to loftier heights into the bargain.


It all started in a boarding house in England in the early thirties when British –American writer Christopher Isherwood penned The Berlin Stories. His inspiration was Jean Ross, a singer and writer. Her surname Bowles was derived from the American writer and playwright Paul Bowles (The Sheltering Sky) who lived in self-exile in Tangier. Playwright John Van Druten adapted the story adding the title I am a Camera harping around the seedy night life at the Kit Kat Club where Sally Bowles (an English character in the beginning who became American in later productions) steals the show. Clifford Shaw (Isherwood introduced him as an English man who eventually became an American in the productions later on), a would- be- writer and English teacher from Pennsylvania befriends Sally at her lodgings. Subsequently other weird characters spring up - Fraulein Schneider and her suitor Herr Schultz, an elderly Jewish fruit seller who woos and almost wins her heart. And to top it all, the audience eagerly await the presence of the master of ceremonies who raises many a laugh as a reminder that the show must go on with the help of a satirical note.

cabaret intro                               Photograph courtesy of SOM Produce

“I sincerely think that Cabaret has helped to keep the memory of Berlin alive, particularly of an epoch which should have never, ever existed,” Jaime Azpilicueta remarked recently. And he has achieved what he set out to do cleverly crafting an engaging play set around a German cabaret.  

Cabaret reached Broadway in 1966 directed by the late Nobel Prize winning playwright and author Harold Pinter. Sally Bowles has been played to perfection by Julie Harris, Judi Dench, the late Natasha Richardson (Liam Neeson´s late wife), Brooke Shields, Emma Stone and also by veteran Spanish actress Silvia Tortosa. The 1972 celluloid version starring Liza Minnelli, Michael York and Joel Gray bagged 8 Oscars and 21 Tony Awards under the direction of Harold Prince.


It is evident that Spain is bubbling with young talent. Lugo-born Cristina Castaños heads the cast in this lavish production. The public are sure to be bowled over with Cristina´s Sally Bowles.

cabaret girl                                Photograph courtesy of SOM Produce

Debonair Daniel Muriel plays Clifford Bradshaw, the American writer from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, wearing a megawatt smile. He proves to be a thorough gentleman and lends charm and vivacity to his role though he falls from grace later on.

Eduardo Soto as the Master of Ceremony plays justice to the role made popular by the late Joel Gray in the aforesaid film. From the inception when Eduardo creeps out like a squirrel from the hole and he mesmerizes the audience indirectly by poking fun at the present political situation and the corrupted politicians in the country. The public are quick to read between the lines. He is good at delivering the punch lines to raise a couple of laughs.

The rest of the cast are superb, electrifying and dazzling the audience with their stunning performance.

Cabaret escena grupoPhotograph courtesy of SOM Produce

Kudos also go out to the choreographer and the well assembled band lingering in the background.

The public will leave humming the haunting theme from Cabaret as well as the Money Song.

You can be rest assured that LIFE IS A CABARET at yuletide and way beyond.

Note: Cabaret is represented on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 20:30. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, there are 2 functions, at 18:00 and at 22:00.  For further information and tickets, check out Teatro Rialto's website.


© Christopher Miller, November 2015. Please note that this article may be quoted in editorial contexts only, with source and author.