New York City is known around the world for its vibrant arts scene. The city welcomes more than 65 million people every year to explore museums, attend Broadway shows, and experience the nightlife. Whether you are planning your next visit or living as a local, consider the NY cabaret scene for a unique outing.
A City Staple
While dazzling, high-production musicals and illustrious plays are often what comes to mind when picturing a theatrical outing in NYC, the cabaret scene offers a long-standing and intimate alternative. Poetry readings, musical retrospectives, dance, and (of course) vocal performances are hosted in environments often closer to a nightclub or bar. This structure brings the audience that much closer to the spectacle onstage.
These smaller clubs are woven into the fabric of the city and can be found beyond the centralized expectation of Midtown (where theaters home to strictly Broadway productions are located). Guests don’t even have to travel beyond their neighborhood to experience world-class entertainment.
History, and History in the Making
Cabaret made its way to NYC by way of Europe. The dramatic roots can be traced back to Paris — in the late 19th century, bars began to pop up in the arts district where poets and writers would gather to share ideas and new work. The collaborative environment quickly became home to performance opportunities.
When the concept arrived across the ocean in the early 20th century, many saw it as an alternative to vaudeville, and in this way, cabaret briefly became something closer to a higher-class or intellectual activity. As the century progressed, so did cabaret, and the evolution led to the sort of spaces recognized today. Artists that would become world-renowned had roots in the cabaret scene. In this same way, today’s audiences may never know what writer or poet may be in the nightclub one evening and the New York Times the next. Consider a cabaret outing, where guests never know what stars may be born right in front of them.