The other day, I wrote about the production of Cabaret in London with Jessie Buckley and Eddie Redmayne. In checking out various videos about it, I came across something remarkable – a 25-minute video of a 2021 production Cabaret in Hamburg. It’s very well-done and absolutely fascinating to see it in its “home base” context, some of it deeply moving, despite being in (of course) German, but also because it’s in German. Actually, only most is in German – the songs that Sally Bowles sings (and some of the introductions to her numbers at the Kit Kat Club) are in English. That said, reading the credits at the end, the actress playing her appears to be German.
A lot of the material here focuses on the relationship between the old couple who are not in the movie, so it might be unfamiliar to people who haven’t seen the stage version. Fräulein Schneider is the landlady of the building where Sally Bowles lives, and Herr Schultz is her elderly Jewish friend who owns a fruit stand and lives in the building. The only things to know here is that at one point he brings her a rare pineapple, which overwhelms her and leads to a lovely duet, “Pineapple.” Later, one of the arrogant tenants – often sneaking men into her room – catches Herr Schultz visiting the landlady, but he protects Fräulein Schneider’s reputation by saying the two plan to get married. Afterwards, he explains that this is something he’s been meaning to ask her anyway. Later, we see a short version of the reprise of their lovely song, “Married.” But as you might imagine, things don’t get well for a German-Jewish relationship.
Incidentally, the two actors who created the roles on Broadway were both legendary and are great on the original cast album. They’re the always-wonderful Jack Gilford and Lotte Lenya, who was married to the great composer Kurt Weill. (Kander and Ebb even wrote two songs for her in the style of Weill.)
To be clear, there’s a lot more in this video and several songs for Sally, including the full version of the title song. And some of it is very emotional and even chilling.
By the way, I put closed captioning on, so this might help you in the dialogue scenes. (It doesn’t work in the songs, as much as it tries.) If for some reason the closed captioning that I set up doesn’t work, you can do it yourself. First, click the “CC” icon. Then, click the gear icon you'll see next to it, select Subtitles, then German/auto-generated (if it’s not already checked), and then click Auto-translate and scroll down to select English.
Start Spreading the News
So, we have now learned that if Trump shot someone on Fifth Avenue and none of his most loyal supporters cared, it turns out that the Manhattan D.A. does.
Perhaps Trump should have picked a different city.
New York, New York. If you can get indicted there, you can get indicted anywhere.
It’s important to note that we don’t have any idea yet on what felony charges Trump has been indicted on, and that the D.A. still has to convince a jury to convict Trump.
And that’s a point that makes the Trump World “outrage” so deeply off-base. Because it’s just an indictment. That’s no small thing, especially for being the first time ever with a former president, but Trump is still presumed innocent in court. So, if the prosecutor’s office is unable to convince a jury of Trump’s guilt, he will be found not guilty. And make no mistake, it is likely to be a challenge to get an impartial jury to convict a former president. On the other hand, if the evidence is convincing enough for an objective jury to agree with the charges, then Trump will be convicted. Because that’s how the legal system works.
One would think that people who believe in the rule of law grasp this concept and support it. If the case can’t be proven against Trump -- and there are a great many cases of politicians being indicted and then found "not guilty" (like when former Democratic VP nominee John Edwards was indicted for election finance violations, and Republicans celebrated that. As did most Democrats, not weeping in his defense, but disappointed at learning of Edwards cheating) -- he’ll get off. And if the evidence of his guilt is incontrovertible, he’ll be found guilty. It's that basic. Why anyone -- Trump’s base, GOP elected officials, anybody -- would want the legal process to be otherwise is hard to imagine.
(Okay, in fairness, no, it’s not hard to imagine. Given that the Republican Party today has become fascist, I do understand why they don’t believe in democracy and the rule of law.)
By the way, one would also think that people who believe in the rule of law -- indeed the improperly-named, so-called "Party of Law and Order" (sic) -- would grasp the fact amid their faux-outrage crying out with exploding heads that this is nothing more than just a campaign finance matter (never mind that, to repeat, they they have absolutely zero idea what the specific charges are) that someone has already been convicted and spent time in prison for that supposedly "nothing" matter.
And further, that "someone" was Trump's own lawyer. Who was charged, tried and convicted by the U.S. Justice Department when Trump was in office and under Trump's official authority!!
If you haven’t read Trump’s response yet, as I haven’t either, let me save you time and let you know what it is –
“This is a WITCH HUNT by a black political THUG paid for by the Jewish George Soros to hurt your favorite white president. ME! If they can indict ME!, then that means they’re coming after you next, even though you will never ever be in a position to do the things I’m charged with. WITCH HUNT, WITCH HUNT, WITCH HUNT. GET YOUR GUNS AND BASEBALL BATS AND TORCHES AND DEFEND YOURSELF WITH DEATH AND DESTRUCTION!!! AMERICA IS DOOMED. YOU AND YOU ALONE MUST SAVE ME. Send your donations to 'Trump for President c/o Mar-a-Lago.' Cofefe.”
Okay, so now you’re up to speed. Sort of. It actually will be much, much longer (I'm sure) and use many more CAPS, but I feel confident that that's the basic core.
In fact, I did see Lindsey Graham (R-SC) -- who himself is at risk of being indicted for election fraud violations in Georgia -- on Fox "News" (which itself is at risk of losing a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit for knowingly lying about the election results) weeping his head off and making heart-rending, begging pleas to donate money to Trump! Complaining about all the money Trump has had to spend defending himself in all the many investigations -- step back a moment and consider that point as a defense of innocence... -- ignoring the fact that Trump probably hasn't spent a nickel, because he's fundraised it all from GOP suckers.
And in fact, there too was Ron DeSantis (R-FL) putting out a statement filled with multiple dog-whistle references to the Jewish George Soros.
What DeSantis chimed in with his George Soros-laced tweet was to say he would not extradite Trump. But looking under the hood, you realize that that is just empty, self-serving political theatrics. For one thing, it sounds good to the Republican base who DeSantis can't afford to offend. For another, Trump has already said he'd turn himself in. But far more to the point, if Trump takes up the DeSantis offer and, as a result, can't leave Florida, then that means he really can't seriously run for president. Which leaves the door wide open for Ron DeSantis.
But of course Trump won't ever accept it the offer. Not because it would mean being beholden to Ron DeSantis (which would all him to no end, and be good enough reason for him to turn it down) -- but because I'm sure the very last thing Trump wants is to have to live the rest of his life in Florida...
Of all the GOP cries of support, what I perhaps most-loved was the statement that “House Speaker” Kevin McCarthy put out after the news was released that there was an indictment. Just to clarify, in case you can’t place the name, this is the same Kevin McCarthy who both publicly and privately blamed Trump for the January 6 Insurrection to overthrow the government. He wrote --
“Alvin Bragg has irreparably damaged our country in an attempt to interfere in our Presidential election. As he routinely frees violent criminals to terrorize the public, he weaponized our sacred system of justice against President Donald Trump. The American people will not tolerate this injustice, and the House of Representatives will hold Alvin Bragg and his unprecedented abuse of power to account.”
And just wow, this sure sounds damning.
One slight thing missing in McCarthy’s attempt at a diatribe to placate the extreme right Congressional support that allowed him to become “Speaker,” is what are the actual charges against Trump are that he finds damaging and abusive? I myself am unable to find them, so perhaps McCarthy can help. After all, he must know what the exact charges are, right??, since he calls them an abuse of power and damaging to the country.
What also isn’t clear is why McCarthy is only faux-outraged at D.A. Alvin Bragg, when he doesn’t express a word of “outrage” at the Grand Jury which is who actually indicted Trump – without which there would be nothing damaging and abusive done. To repeat: it's the Grand Jury who voted to indict Trump. (Because they new the charges -- and the evidence.) And not a single word of "outrage" by McCarthy -- or Graham or DeSantis or any elected Republican official anywhere I've seen complaining about them. The ones who actually voted to indict Trump. Just the
Oh, and by the way, it would also be cool if McCarthy could please define "American people" when he says “The American people” will not tolerate what he calls an "injustice" (despite McCarthy not having the slightest idea what the unjust charges are). I only ask because my own observation is that most of “The American people" will not only, in fact, easily tolerate it, but will celebrate joyously that the U.S. justice system was working.
Unclear, too, is why Kevin McCarthy doesn’t support the U.S. justice system. Which is based on getting an indictment based on evidence, having an adversarial trial in which the accused is represented in court, and a jury of the defendant’s peers deciding on “guilty” or “not guilty” based on if the evidence being presented can prove the case.
But then, that’s today’s Republican Party.
And now, it's up to you, New York, New York...
The Ninth Inning
It's hard not to close out Opening Day with what I think is the best (and perhaps most famous) song from the baseball musical Damn Yankees. What you gotta have? You gotta have "Heart."
(Contrary to what they wrote below, the title of the song is "Heart.")
The Right, Right Field
Continuing to honor Opening Day, here are Peter, Paul and Mary singing Noel Paul Stookey's great tribute to those who couldn't really play the game all that well, "Right Field."
I love the song, but I particularly like this version which comes from their 25th Anniversary Reunion Concert on PBS. (Which is just now being released on DVD for the first time.) The reason is not only that the three of them really throw themselves into the song, but two specific moments. One comes when they make the first joke about how such incompetence manifested itself on the schoolyard -- and the camera cuts to two women who have such a lovely reaction that you know they're taking tht moment very personally. And the other comes near the end of the "story" when it hits its resolution and they whole audience reacts -- and you know that they all are taking it personally, since it's such a silly, little fun song.
But quite wonderful.
Continuing our celebration of Opening Day, this is a fun song from the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, which was adapted into an animated TV special.
The First Pitch
And as a baseball bonus, we return you to Riccardo Muti, from 2012 when he threw out the first pitch at a Cubs game.
I find it adorable that Muti seems to love the Cubs, particularly since he's from Italy and didn't grow up on baseball or perhaps ever played it at all. But we know now that he's a lefty. Not the same form on the mound (or front thereof) as on the podium, but he did get it to the plate.
By the way, listen closely in the background as he walks to the mount. The P.A. is playing Beethoven's 5th Symphony.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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