Put rather simply, cabaret is a dinner and a show. This is a gross understatement of the experience you’ll have when you actually go to one though. You’ll find yourself enthralled with in-your-face comedy, music, dance, and theater; all while you enjoy a fancy meal.
New York City cabaret finds its roots in jazz. This was one of the first places where political satire sprung up. This form of entertainment was immensely popular in the 1920s, but began decline in the 1960s, when rock and roll declared it was here to stay, and television variety shows came for half the price.
But the art form has endured. It’s evolved over time and begun to include stand-up comedians, as well as drag shows. If it’s entertaining and people are drinking, you can bet it’s a cabaret experience.
Today’s cabaret is in full Renaissance mode, with many artists reimagining the format and developing new, exciting ways to entertain.
It may come as a surprise to know that up until October 2017, it was illegal to dance at a cabaret. This Prohibition-Era law created no dancing zones, and people would actually go to jail because of it.
In recent years, owners of night clubs would flicker the lights or play “Eleanor Rigby” in order to get people to stop dancing. Nothing kills the mood of a night more than a police raid. It’s strange to think that the City that Never Sleeps would have had such a law for such a long time. It sounds like the plot of some 80s movie with Kevin Bacon.
Now though, cabaret enthusiasts are free to boogie. You can bet that native New Yorkers and tourists alike are taking advantage of this. There has never been a better time to travel to the Big Apple and see the cabaret.