West Side Story or Dirty Dancing – Musicals take us on a wonderful journey through music and dance. Berlin has quite a number of stages and show venues, so choosing the one to visit is not an easy thing to do. We put together the biggest venues for you and give you an overview on what you mustn’t miss in the next few months.
Stages in Palaces
The musical has its roots not only in opera, but also in cabaret. And in the roaring twenties, Berlin was the world capital of vaudeville. Some of the old venues are still in operation, others were only added recently.
Theater des Westens in Charlottenburg is the longest running operetta stage in Berlin. More than a century ago some of the most successful performances happened here already. Another stage steeped in tradition is Admiralspalast on Friedrichstraße, it was opened in 1911. Next door stands the reconstruction of historic Friedrichstadt-Palast; the original building two blocks away was torn down in the 1980s, but the show has been going on with spectacular productions. The area around Potsdamer Platz has turned into a post-millenium entertainment district, naturally it’s packed with stages. The biggest is Stage Theater at Potsdamer Platz, another one is Bluemax Theater, home of the Berlin Blue Man Group. A classic vaudeville theater with the flair of the golden twenties is Wintergarten on Potsdamer Straße, they’ll even roll out the red carpet for you. And if you’re up for a cosy backyard cabaret full of circus acrobatics you should check out Chamäleon at Hackesche Höfe.
Long Running Highlights
Since 2008 the Blue Man Group has attracted more than 4 million visitors with its unique show combining percussion, comedy, acrobatics, and blue baldness. There is at least one performance every night and tickets are surprisingly affordable. The biggest variety entertainment can be found at Friedrichstadtpalast, which you might well compare to Las Vegas: Their current 10-million dollar project is called The Wyld and is quite literally out of this world – New York Times even rated it one in “Ten Must-See Places” in Berlin. Many big musical productions and international acts guest at Stage Theater des Westens. At the moment they show the national success Ich war noch niemals in New York, based on the songs of German crooner veteran Udo Jürgens. In the past, famous shows like Mamma Mia and Dirty Dancing played at Theater am Potsdamer Platz and Admiralspalast, too.
A real Berlin Musical
German rock singer Udo Lindenberg is hardly known abroad; here in Germany though, he is considered a national idol. In a way, his bolshy hits were the soundtrack of the German turnaround in the late 1980s, so it is no surprise they made a musical out of it. Based on the singer’s life and songs, author Thomas Brussig wrote the script to what is now one of the most successful German musicals ever. Hinterm Horizont (“Beyond the Horizon”) tells the touching love story of young Udo, a West German singer, and a girl from East Berlin, parted by the Berlin Wall. Thus, Hinterm Horizont is basically the Berlin-Musical and it should be at the top of your list when in town. There are a couple of performances every week at Stage Theater at Potsdamer Platz.
Summer is coming to an end and the next highlights are just around the corner. Theater des Westens for instance brings world-famous show Chicago to Berlin, starting on October 14. Finally, in spring 2016 they will bring back Dance of the Vampire. At Admiralspalast in mid November singer Michael Jackson will return from the dead in Thriller, and right after Christmas, drumming show Stomp! will guest here.
Really one is spoilt for choice, especially since practically all shows are suitable for international visitors as they are either in English or have subtitles. When ordering your ticket online you should also just make a reservation here at Industriepalast Hostel – it’s the perfect base for your musical journey to Berlin.
Enjoy the show,
is Berliner by choice and a passionate backpacker himself. As a receptionist he knows the real hostel life; as a blogger he's been writing for Industriepalast Hostel's Berlin blog since 2014.