Cabaret in Captivity is an annual cabaret produced by Untitled Theater Company No. 61 in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day. The program includes songs and sketches written in Terezin/Theresienstad. Terezin was located an hour away from Prague, and during World War II it served as both an internment camp and a way station for the concentration camps during the Holocaust. Full of satire, bitter humor, and hope, these pieces demonstrate how art became a vital survival technique for the inmates. Most of these pieces were recently recovered through the efforts of scholar Lisa Peschel, who also translated the majority of the work.
Conceived and co-directed by Edward Einhorn (NY Times Critic’s Pick for The Marriage of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein) and starring co-director Jenny Lee Mitchell, aka Mad Jenny (“Smart and theatrically savvy,” NY Times review for Love Und Greed), Craig Anderson, Seth Gilman, Alyson Leigh Rosenfeld, and Katarina Vizina. Maria Dessano is on piano, and Johnna Wu is on violin. This is the ninth year this production has been presented, having been previously seen at the Center for Jewish History, the Bohemian National Hall, Pangea, York Theatre, the Czech Embassy in Washington, DC, and The William Goodenough House in London, England.
Some of the authors of the original work, like Karel Švenk and Ilse Weber, were existing stars of the cabaret scene in Prague. Others were compelled by their circumstances to create. Some of the work is now anonymous, as the names of the authors have been lost. All were speaking to a small audience of fellow inmates, in the hope that one day their story would be heard by the world. On this anniversary of Yom HaShoah, we are proud to be able to present that work.
Amy Oestreicher, in her Broadway World review, said “Cabaret in Captivity is a call to action to use hope not as a means of passive daydreaming, but a powerful act of resistance. It has been said that humor equals truth plus distance. Perhaps humor was the most palatable, effective way of sharing the unbelievable creativity, will, and resistance that came from the 'Chosen' who 'had no choice.'
Untitled Theater Company No. 61 (UTC61) is a Theater of Ideas: scientific, political, philosophical, and above all theatrical. UTC61 has been performing independent theater in New York for over 25 years, collaborating with venues such as HERE, The New Ohio, 3LD, La MaMa, Judson Church, The Brick, and other downtown spaces. They have also maintained a durable partnership with the Czech Republic, originally established though their work with former President Vaclav Havel during their 2006 Havel Festival. Recent UTC61 work has been Critic's Picks in The New York Times, The Village Voice, and Time Out New York.
Approx Running Time: 70 Minutes
Genre: Cabaret, Vocals, Music, Storytelling
All patrons must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination upon arrival to gain admittance to the theater. Lack of proof will result in denial of entry with no refund.