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Monday, January 17, 2022

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    With “Ku’damm 56” the Theater des Westens reopens

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    It’s nice that they are shining again, the chandeliers in the foyer of the Theater des Westens. The lights have been out since March of last year due to the pandemic – in Berlin as well as nationwide in all musical stages from Stage Entertainment, which most recently showed the Abba jukebox musical “Mamma Mia” in the Theater des Westens.

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    The house stood quiet and silent for the long months. The locked entrance portals were used by the homeless as night quarters.

    The Schöllacks are now singing too

    On Sunday the doors to the world premiere of “Ku’damm 56” will be wide open again. Broadcast in 2016 as a three-part TV series on ZDF, the story of screenwriter Annette Hesse was such a big hit that he asked not only for sequels, but also for a stage version.

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    So there is the skill of the strict dance school owner Caterina Schöllack and her daughters Monika, Eva and Helga now also with music. And it is – in contrast to the story – in “Ku’damm 56 – the musical” original.

    Texted and composed by the former Rosenstolz team Peter Plate and Ulf Leo Sommer, who also write songs for Helene Fischer and Sarah Connor and compose music for Detlev Buck’s “Bibi und Tina” films.

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    Annette Hess took care of herself to condense her story to the length of a two and a half hour musical. At the press conference before the show, Hess explains that the transformation of the “ugly duckling Monika into a chubby swan” is not a coincidence that her daughters, both in their early twenties, are still making today . “We are experiencing a blatant regression,” says Hess and warns that the majority of television films and series are still written by men.

    It feels twice as good to be swiftly smuggled into the theater with around 1,600 people using the 2G-Plus procedure (including a daily test) to see a musical by an author. Especially since this premiere also raises the anxious question of how long it will be possible to play in the face of increasing incidences. The show, produced by BMG, Ufa Fiction and others, plays “as long and as safely as possible,” says Peter Plate at the press conference. It is recommended to wear a mask in the hall despite 2G-Plus. Quite a few stick to it.
    How wild the people are to clap and cheer can be seen in the powerful opening song “Monika”, to which the stands of the ensemble’s retro microphones shine in many colors. Plate and summer do not miss “Ku’damm 56” a nostalgic melt, as does the petticoat and leather jacket classic “Grease”, for example.

    Knowing the TV movies helps

    Sure, styles typical of the time such as rock’n’roll and rumba sound, but many of the songs could just as easily have been written in the nineties. With its damaged facades, the reduced stage design cites ruinous post-war Berlin. The metal scaffolding built in front of it is more reminiscent of the New York fire escape look of “West Side Story”, but extends the stage by two playing levels in height. Costumes, props – everything is more reduced than in the television films.

    Having seen this is helpful in view of the severely concise storyline. Mother Caterina runs the “Galant” dance school on Kurfürstendamm with a strict hand and does her best to marry off her daughters Eva (Isabel Waltsgott), Helga (Tamara Pascual) and Monika (Sandra Leitner). The latter, the black sheep of the family, doesn’t want to know about it any more than they do about a home economics school. The musician and dancer Freddy shows her what she really wants: dance, be free and single.

    “Freddy” David Jakobs and Katja Uhlig as the head of the dance school are the draft horses of the ensemble. And of course, the popular Freddy will also sing the city anthem, which is obligatory for a Berlin musical, and which works for the pleasure-seeking audience even without a content connection: “Berlin, Berlin – you hot bride”.

    It’s much easier to clap along than with the ballad “I don’t want to be like my father”, with which the depressed armaments manufacturer’s son Joachim (David Nádvornik) praises the generation conflict with the restorative fathers and mothers of the fifties. Old Nazis, rape, domestic violence, repressed homosexuality, Aryanization – “Ku’damm 56” never misses an opportunity to turn hot irons into popular entertainment with an enlightening attitude and like to hit the twelfth as well as the garish sound of the band. In the second half the ballads and with them the emotional colors increase. The premiere audience thanks with cheers and standing ovations.

    Source From: Tagesspiegel

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