What Is a Cabaret Show?

It goes without saying that New York City offers countless opportunities for theatrical entertainment, but if you’re only thinking about going to see big-name Broadway shows, you may be depriving yourself of high-quality entertainment that takes place in smaller venues off the beaten path.

NY cabaret shows sometimes take a little extra effort to find, but many theater-goers find that they are well worth the effort. But what exactly is a cabaret show, and how does it differ from the musicals and straight plays that populate Broadway? Read on to find out.

  1. Setting

The main aspect that differentiates a cabaret show from a stage play or musical is the venue in which it takes place, which is often a bar or a restaurant where food and drink may be available for purchase, rather than an auditorium.

  1. Entertainment

Cabaret can incorporate many different forms of entertainment into the same show, including theatre, dance, motion pictures, comedy, and music. There are few, if any, rules as to what can or cannot be included in a cabaret show. Cabaret does have the reputation of being more daring, provocative, and adult-oriented in its content, but this is not always the case. Family-friendly cabaret shows do exist, although it may take more effort to find them.

  1. Interaction

Unlike a stage play, in which the actors often perform as though the audience did not exist, there is no fourth wall in cabaret. Performers will look out into the audience and interact with viewers directly.

  1. Master of Ceremonies

At cabaret shows comprised of several different acts, there is often a master of ceremonies whose job it is to introduce each act, keep the audience entertained between setups, and maintain the pace and flow of the show. However, a master of ceremonies is not obligatory at a cabaret show, and some may dispense with the MC altogether.

There are almost as many types of cabaret shows as there are audiences, meaning you’re sure to find something that suits your tastes. If you get the chance to see a cabaret in New York and don’t take it, you may be missing out.