When people tell me “don’t miss this,” I’m usually skeptical, but in the case of Max Raabe and Palast Orchester, they were 100% right. This also helps explain why one of the hidden pleasures of my job is discovering something so new and imaginative that my first thought is alwlays, “I must bring this to the McCarter audience.” This was the case when I went to the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia in 2007 to see Max for the first time and why he will be returning to McCarter on March 5 for the third time. Raabe and his 12-piece “orchester” embody the halcyon days of 1920s and 30s Berlin in all its high style and musical glory (think Marlene Dietrich), with Raabe—in his perfect tux—capturing the rasp of the cabaret singer, the confident bel canto hero, the carefree timbre of early jazz and the falsetto of ragtime. It’s all there—songs, couplets, Cuban rhumbas, cheerful foxtrots, elegant tangos. Suffused with nostalgia, yet played straight, it’s a performance that pays joyous tribute to the last great moment of European popular music before the war, as Raabe and his musicians keep the music of this epoch alive. Cabaret was just a Broadway invention—this show is history, which is why I can go on record and say “don’t you miss it!”
Max Raabe & Palast Orchester return to McCarter on March 5. Call 609.258.2787 or click here to purchase tickets.