This chapter begins with a survey of the history and development of European cabaret (specifically in France and Germany) in order to show that serious artists learned from cabaret even as they developed it. The chapter then focuses on the creation of the show's ambience, noting that this ambience frequently ran counter to the tone and impulse of the real cabaret world in Europe of the thirties. Although John Kander and Fred Ebb did not explicitly exploit the political and social wit of German cabaret or the wide scope of the form, they did reproduce the role of the Emcee. The show's look was completed by Patricia Zipprodt's costumes, which were divided into the presentational and metaphorical, on the one hand, and the realistic and the mundane, on the other hand. The chapter examines the limits placed on Harold Prince's concept by the sociology and politics (including the scope of eminent performing satirists) of America in the sixties.
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