In 2003, I went to see the Broadway revival of Cabaret again, a long time into the run.
By this point, the tourists coming to see the show weren’t even the middle-drawer types that had first filed in. They were masses of the uninitiated, many of whom had no idea how to behave in a theater.
I was seated at a Cabaret table with a middle-age man, his wife, and their dazed-looking offspring.
From the first song–“Wilkommen”–the man started singing along, almost as loudly as the star himself.
I was horrified, but knew this had to be a fluke and it couldn’t possibly continue.
The man hummed along to “Two Ladies,” sang a lot of “Maybe This Time,” and did a rousing rendition of “Money” along with the professionals, who simply kept on going since at least they were getting paid to sing.
By now, I felt like my head would explode with one more note from this cretin, but since I hadn’t complained for so long, I couldn’t exactly start now. (That’s the problem with being passive-aggressive.)
But then came the reprise of “Tomorrow Belongs to Me,” the Nazi theme song, which always sends chills down the back of my neck.
And he sang along! Without any idea of what he was singing! (I hope.)
The other stuff had been annoying, but this was appalling and downright scary. I mean, I was seated next to the world’s only neo-Nazi show queen who’s married to a woman.
“Please hush,” I said, finally snapping.
He stared me down like Hitler himself.
“Don’t you see you’re disrupting the show?” was his brilliant reply.
And they said irony was dead.
I spent Act Two in the balcony.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 1, 2012