Exactly 107 years ago, in October 1906, the two popular actors and theatre impresarios Sigmund and Leopold Natzler opened the theatre and cabaret known as the “Hölle” (“hell”) in the basement of the Theater an der Wien.
The “Hölle” enjoyed legendary status among entertainment establishments in German-speaking countries. It was committed to the spirit of French cabaret and served as a breeding ground for every kind of entertainer. Ralph
Benatzky, Fritz Grünbaum, Karl Farkas, Hans Moser, Hugo Wiener, Mela Mars and Stella Kadmon are just some of the stars whose careers began there.
The two rooms were places of laughter, song and dance. Franz Lehár, Edmund Eysler and the young Robert Stolz wrote one-act variety operettas for the “Hölle”, Béla Laszky and Ralph Benatzky flippant songs that were performed by the acclaimed diseuses Mela Mars and Josma Selim to wild ovations. Fritz Grünbaum read samples of his own poetry and Grete Wiesenthal presented her stirring dances. For more than twenty years the “Hölle” was one of the leading cabaret venues in the German-speaking world. Following the revues Tanz der Blinden, Rouge & Noir and Im Opiumrausch that were consistently sold out, the basement of the Theater an der Wien is now being transformed back into the theatre and cabaret “Die Hölle”. Georg Wacks is putting together an anniversary revue for the “Hölle” that – 107 years after the opening – will present little-known highlights with authentic costumes and magnificent sets. Fin-de-siècle flair will be provided by the diseuse Elena Schreiber with her racy chansons, Christoph Wagner-Trenkwitz with his grotesque dances, Martin Thoma with profound observations on local life and Stefan Fleischhacker as the last surviving virtuoso whistler. Fritz Grünbaum guaratees literary quality. In the ccompanying exhibition, Marie-Theres Arnbom presents a new set of long-lost artefacts. The in-house catering service will provide an endless stream of champagne.