Ihre Liebesbeziehung zu Marlene wird weitergehen, sagt Ute Lemper (Quelle: Getty Images)

Publication: Die Welt
By: Manuel Brug
Date: December 30,2020

Ute Lemper hat aus Klassikern von Marlene Dietrich einen genialen Musikfilm gemacht. Hier können Sie ihn am Silvesterabend exklusiv anschauen. Dazu ein Gespräch über ihre drei Stunden mit Marlene, die Folgen der Pandemie und wann sie zurückkehrt nach Deutschland.

Ute Lempers „Rendezvous with Marlene“ ist auf WELT kostenfrei im Stream zu erleben; am Silvesterabend ab 18 Uhr finden Sie hier den Film.

„Wenn ich mir was wünschen dürfte, wünschte ich mir Sichtbarkeit.“ So könnte man die Absicht von Ute Lemper mit einem Klassiker von Marlene Dietrichparaphrasieren. Das würde zugleich ihr jüngstes Projekt gut charakterisieren.

Es führt die beiden deutschen Stars zusammen. Denn Lemper hat aus dem Repertoire der Dietrich ein Bühnenprogramm und nun einen dichten Konzertfilm gemacht.

Auch Ute Lemper wurde natürlich durch Coronaausgebremst. Sonst jettet sie, die seit mehr als zwei Jahrzehnten in New York lebt, zwei- bis dreimal im Monat nach Europa, wie sie im Gespräch gleich bekennt. „Das will ich künftig aber nicht mehr in dieser Häufigkeit machen.“

Gegenwärtig wird auch sie in den Staaten festgehalten, nachdem sie im März in Brüssel aufgetreten war, dann aber alles absagte, um hastig nach Hause zurückzukehren.

„Nach Hause, das hört sich immer noch komisch an“, sagt sie. „Ich bin eher ähnlich unbehaust wie Marlene Dietrich.“ Von Münster nach Berlin, Wien, Paris, London und eben New York führte sie bisher der Weg.

Sie möchte durchaus mal wieder nach Deutschland zurückkehren, „dann, wenn die zwei jüngsten meiner vier Kinder aus der Schule sind, aber bis dahin muss ich als Ernährerin noch einiges nach Hause bringen“.

Bisher kein Problem, die 57-jährige Sängerin, Schauspielerin, Entertainerin ist viel gebucht. 2021 steht der 100. Geburtstag von Tango-Legende Astor Piazzolla an, da ist sie als versierte Sängerin seiner Werke gefragt. „Aber auch meine Love-Affair mit Marlene soll weitergehen.“

1921 trat die Dietrich erstmals, als Dritte von links, auf den Berliner Varietébühnen auf und tingelte anschließend durch Deutschland. Lemper will ihr Dietrich-Programm unbedingt fortsetzen, bei den großen Sommerfestivals, vom Rheingau bis Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, die ihre Konzerte verschieben mussten.

Doch schon vorher gibt es diese eigenwillige Mischung aus Chansons und Spielszenen, aus Ute und Marlene, Berlin, Hollywood, Paris als Konzertfilm zu sehen. Denn Ute Lemper hat auch im Covid-Sommer nicht gerastet.

Ihr „Rendezvous with Marlene“ hat sie in New York, wo alle Theater und Clubs seit März zu sind, mit vier Musikern im East Village im „Club Cumming“ aufgezeichnet. Das ist die kaschemmenartige, durchaus weimarverruchte Schwulenbar von Schauspieler und Sänger Alan Cumming, der selbst im ehemaligen Studio 54 als dämonischer Conférencier im Musical „Cabaret“ brillierte. Der komplette Film ist heute exklusiv per Stream auf welt.de zu erleben.
„Wir mussten gar nichts verändern, das sieht so aus und passt total“, erzählt Ute Lemper von den Dreharbeiten. „Nur eng und stickig war es, aber auch das passt wunderbar zu dieser Geschichte.“

Auch Lemper wurde in „Cabaret“ zum Star, 1987 in Paris. Sie schrieb damals eine Karte an die dort in ihrer Matratzengruft in der Rue Montaigne Nummer 12 lebende, aber mit dem Telefon weltweit kommunizierende Marlene Dietrich, mit der Lemper damals dauernd von der französischen Presse verglichen wurde. Dietrich rief interessiert zurück. Drei Stunden dauerte das Gespräch der beiden, das Ute Lemper tief prägte.

Aus der Musical-Actrice Ute Lemper wurde eine weltweit gefragte Entertainerin, die ihr Repertoire auf ebenjener Musik der Weimarer Republik aufbaute und Lieder der Emigranten, der als „entartet“ Verfemten und teilweise im Holocaust Ermordeten sang – mit ihrer mal schmeichelnden, bisweilen schneidenden Stimme.

Mit Marlene Dietrich, die 1992 in Paris starb, hat sie nie wieder gesprochen. Aber ihre Lieder begleiteten sie weiter. Dieses „Rendezvous“ ist langsam gewachsen.

Jetzt hat sie diese musikalische Fernbeziehung in einen ganzen Abend verwandelt, der die Dietrich als launisches Wundertier zeigt. An der Strippe hängend, mit Berliner Kodderschnauze, giftig, zärtlich, bitter, großzügig sich an ihr Leben und ihre Lieben erinnernd, an Männer wie Frauen.

„Eine unangepasste Diva der Zukunft, so sehe ich sie“, sagt Ute Lemper. „Und mit einem sentimentalen Heimwehgefühl nach Berlin, das sie dann erst mit Koffer beziehungsweise Coffin – also Sarg wieder betrat, nachdem man sie in den Sechzigern auf ihrer Konzerttournee als Vaterlandsverräterin geschmäht hatte.“

Eine ambivalente Frau. Wie Ute Lemper. „Ein Name, der wie ein Streicheln beginnt und wie ein Peitschenhieb endet“, meinte Jean Cocteau einmal über seine Freundin Marlene.

So wird sie auch von der Lemper interpretiert, aber zugleich als einsame Frau, verloren wie die Protagonistin in Cocteaus „Die geliebte Stimme“, die sich an die Telefonhörermuschel klammert und dann umso befreiter singt. Das muss man gehört und gesehen haben.

Click here to read article on welt.de

Publication: Broadway World
By: Stephen Mosher
Date: December 4, 2020

My heart was racing while I watched the Ute Lemper film RENDEZVOUS WITH MARLENE. I was only five minutes into the two-hour program and already I knew that I was in for one of the great rides of entertainment. It was clear that Ms. Lemper had a vision when she devised this show, and that her vision was going to be carried out and carried through: this was going to be a story personal, engaging, and thrilling. Only five minutes in, I knew this.

I was not mistaken.

An iconic performer of great stature, Ute Lemper has proven time and again that she can do anything; there is a role that she has played for a long time, though – that of an actress constantly compared to a legend. From early on in her trajectory, Ms. Lemper has been compared to Marlene Dietrich – obviously, the fact that they are both strong German women with blonde hair, high cheekbones, and definitive performing styles plays into that, but it cannot be denied that there is a spiritual kinship between the two women. As it happens, those comparisons from early on in Lemper’s career led her to pen an embarrassed note to Dietrich, apologizing for the media attention on their similarities; that postcard led the legend to phone the up-and-comer and three hours later Ute Lemper had an amazing story to tell… thirty-five years later.

The number of biographies of Marlene Dietrich is overwhelming. With books, plays, nightclub acts, documentaries, and recordings, there is certainly plenty that has been said about the legend in the name of telling her story. What sets the magnificent Rendezvous With Marlene apart is that this is actually Ute Lemper‘s story. Certainly, Marlene’s history plays into the show significantly, with Lemper acting as Marlene in the storytelling, but what Lemper shows the audience is that which made Marlene Dietrich important to her. These aren’t just Marlene’s words and they aren’t just Ute’s words – these are the words of both women, the story of both artists, the life of both ground-breakers. Much of Lemper’s life as a woman and as an entertainer has been informed by the path lit by Dietrich before her, and seeing how those lives come together in one two-hour play caught on film is as glorious a part of the history of show business as either Dietrich or Lemper could have hoped for.

Singing the songs made famous by Dietrich (as Marlene and as Ute), telling classic tales as well as stories Marlene shared directly with her on that memorable day in 1988, Ms. Lemper brings the theatrical journey to the intersection where the lives of two extraordinary women met and became parallel lines. Providing a wealth of opportunities both musical and thespianic, this opera is one befitting both of the women to whom it pays homage. This is not just theater supreme by an artist well-versed in the act of performing – this is theatrical writing with incomparable structure and protracted vocabulary. Rendezvous With Marlene is a new piece of theater ready-made for any actor of substance and talent to take and make their own, though they would have to be prepared to take on the roles of not one but two great ladies of show business. Ute Lemper has given a gift to the actors of the world, a world where a one-person show can become an immediate source of income, any time that the actor would wish it. One can’t help but think that the fiercely independent Marlene Dietrich would have approved.

Rendezvous With Marlene is intensely epic theater that is contained in one woman and the nightclub she is playing, and audiences given a chance to see the show live should do just that. This, though, is a film of a theater piece, created to conform to the time in which we find ourselves, a time when live performance is not possible. If there is a happy byproduct to the show business shutdown, the film Rendezvous With Marlene is it – or at least it is one of them. No mere video capture of a club act is this, this is a breathtaking example of fine filmmaking for which Evan Quinn is given credit as director and editor (in collaboration with Ute Lemper). Had the show played Club Cumming, where the film was shot, one wonders where the audience would have sat. The club is intimate, at best, cozy, at least, and crowded, at worst; Lemper and her extraordinary band of musicians (hot bartenders, too!) make use of the entire space for the film, with the diva moving about the playing area freely, as any prudent actress would. Lemper leaves no amount of square footage unoccupied in her quest to bring to life her show, and director of photography Scott Mason is with her every step of the way, making sure that the documentation of this show so personal is precise and perfect. Lemper and co-producers Alan Cumming and Daniel Nardicio would do well to slap this film onto DVD discs and sell them or get it sold to a streaming platform like Broadway HD so that audiences around the world can luxuriate in repeated viewings of their scrupulous cinematic storytelling. Just as Rendezvous With Marlene brings together Misses Dietrich and Lemper into one story, the film that has been created in the time of coronavirus has brought together the art forms of cinema, theater, and Kabaret in a divinely decadent (yeah, I did it) film representing such fascinating and important parts of history, both show business and world, that it becomes one of the most exciting and important pieces of performing arts to come out of the year 2020.

Ute Lemper Rendezvous With Marlene has one more live stream on Saturday, December 5, 2020, at 2:00 pm (EST) and December 15, 2020, at 8:00 pm (EST). Tickets may be purchased here.

Click here to read the review on Broadway World

Publication: Theater Life
By: Paulanne Simmons
Date: November 29, 2020

In 1988, when Ute Lemper received the Molière Award for her performance as Sally Bowles in Cabaret in Paris, she was certainly very happy. But what really amazed and delighted the German-born actress, was when she was compared to the legendary Marlene Dietrich. As Dietrich was also living Paris at the time, Lemper sent her a postcard addressed simply to Dietrich at Avenue Montaigne. Not long afterwards she got a phone call.

The phone conversation lasted three hours. During that time, Dietrich, who was 89, looked back on her life: her rise from a Weimar cabaret performer to a Hollywood star, her many love affairs, her work as an American soldier during World War II, her triumphs and her disappointments. Thirty years later, Lemper turned that conversation into her “personal homage to that great lady.”

Ute Lemper: Rendezvous with Marlene recreates that phone conversation in cabaret form, allowing the audience to see Dietrich much as she must have appeared in those early Weimar days. Lemper plays herself only briefly, to set the scene. The rest is pure Dietrich, with Lemper singing many of the star’s most beloved songs.

Lemper is a gifted actress with a powerful and emotive voice. She mimics all of Dietrich’s marvelous ticks and she has the sexy legs that are de rigueur in a show about the diva. Like Dietrich, she speaks and sings in English, German and French. She also reproduces Dietrich’s husky, sexy voice, and then some. Lemper has a vocal range that far exceeds anything Dietrich could have ever dreamed of.

In a slinky dress, sporting one of Dietrich’s signature top hats or throwing a boa over her shoulders, Lemper belts, croons or purrs a repertoire that includes Leonello Casucci’s “Just A Gigolo,” Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer’s “One For My Baby,” Jacques Brel’s “Ne me quitte pas” and Friedrich Hollaender’s “They Call Me Naughty Lola.” But perhaps the most touching moments are when Lemper sings Pete Seeger’s mournful “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” or the song soldiers on both sides during World War II made their own, Norbert Schulze and Hans Leip’s “Lili Marleen.”

Ute Lemper: Rendezvous with Marlene began as a touring cabaret show. Now, after being filmed at Club Cumming in New York, Alan Cumming and Ute Lemper are streaming the show online. This allows them to take advantage of all the cinematic effects that cannot be realized in a live performance: fades, montage, smooth scene shifts.

As Lemper tells us many times during the show, Dietrich was a woman who lived every day to the fullest, while at the same placing one foot in the future. She was a sexually liberated woman, with an open marriage and affairs with men and women, who ranged from co-stars to technicians to whoever pleased her at the moment. She would not tolerate anyone telling her what to do, whether that was the Fuhrer or director Alfred Hitchcock. She was totally independent.

Nevertheless, an aging Dietrich is filled with regret. She has left the one man she really loved Jean Gaban. She is alienated from her daughter, Maria, who rightly claims she was not a very good mother. Germans consider her a traitor and do not welcome her back.

Ute Lemper: Rendezvous with Marlene is over two hours long. It is never boring. This is partly due to the nature of the legendary star who inspired the show. But it is also thanks to Lemper’s great artistry and sensitive treatment of her material.

Ute Lemper: Rendezvous With Marlene will be stream online on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 at 8:00pm (EST) and Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 2:00pm (EST). Tickets are $25 and may be purchased at https://www.stellartickets.com/events/club-cumming-productions/ute-lemper-in-rendezvous-with-marlene.

Click here to read the article on Theater Life site.


Photo by Russ Rowland.

Publication: London Living Large
By: J.C.
Date: November 29, 2020

We fell in love again! Not just with Marlene, but with Ute. This production is more than an homage to the great Dietrich. Ute Lemper tells us the story and sings the songs, but she doesn’t just imitate … she channels a cultural icon. Marlene Dietrich was someone who defined the “new woman.” Sexually liberated, shocking and iconoclastic, Dietrich challenged her society and its values while anticipating ours. Politically progressive and not afraid to stand up for what she believed in, Dietrich was a portrait in political courage that should resonate for our own time. The show also examines the compelling Marlene persona and yields dark insight into the confines that is the construct of ‘celebrity’ … a topic so very relevant to today. But ultimately, this is a show about the woman herself, and Lemper offers us insight into a complex and fascinating human being while contemplating her own personal relationship with the star. This is a one-woman show that has all the expected songs but it also uses an eclectic choice of other music to present the diva. The transitions are seamless, the production values are first-rate and the cabaret act has been cleverly adapted to a new online format. The show works beautifully as it is presented and it offers a wonderful break from Covid days. It also really whetted our appetite to experience the Ute Lemper/Marlene Dietrich experience live. We’ll be first in the queue when we all get out again!

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆☆☆
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WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until December 5, 2020
Club Cumming (online)
Various show times available at:


Photo: Russ Rowland

Publication: thespyinthestalls.com
By: Jonathan Evans
Date: November 25, 2020

“This is beautiful and captivating storytelling through music and memory”

“Welcome to my rendezvous with Marlene. It is a true story that indeed happened in the year 1987, in Paris… Marlene Dietrich was a ‘woman of the future’. And that woman of the future gave me a message, for us – in that future today. Let’s go back in time”.

So begins Ute Lemper’s cabaret style show about Dietrich’s extraordinary life; a dialogue in words and music recorded at Alan Cummings’ club in New York. The starting point is a letter Ute wrote to Dietrich apologising for being dubbed the ‘New Marlene’. Ute thought she was nothing of the sort – she was just at the beginning of her career in theatre and music, whereas Marlene was looking back on a long, fulfilled life of movies, music, love stories and stardom. But out of the blue, returning to her hotel while appearing as Sally Bowles in “Cabaret”, Ute received a telephone call from Marlene, and that conversation forms the basis of this show.

“They know my voice, my legs, my movies… but they don’ t know me”, intones Ute in the distinctive, off-key, husky voice of Marlene’s. The telephone had become, by now, her only connection to the outside world and for the next three hours, if we are to believe the narrative, Dietrich poured out her life story. And believe it we do, as Ute slips back and forth in time, playing both herself and Marlene with reverential attention to detail. Ute not only captures the mannerisms and cadences and key moments, but she digs deeper and inhabits her thoughts too. We get a deeply personalised account of this ‘woman of the future’, who renounced her native Germany in protest at the Nazi regime and who challenged the men around her including world leaders. We follow her from the beginning; from the Weimar cabaret, her thrust into stardom with ‘Blue Angel’, her contribution to the American war effort, her Hollywood career, her eventual return to Berlin despite the hostility she received there, her humanitarian efforts and her final solitude. And, of course, the love affairs.

At the core are the songs. Iconic, and forever associated with Dietrich. Backed by a five-piece band led by pianist Vana Gierig, the modern flavour complements the sensual richness of Ute’s vocals. ‘Falling in Love Again’, ‘Just a Gigolo’, ‘One for my Baby’, ‘Illusions’, ‘Lili Marleen’, ‘The Ruins of Berlin’, ‘The Laziest Gal in Town’, ‘Ne Me Quitte Pas’, ‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone?’… and more. It is safe to say that Ute improves immeasurably on the originals. She is in top form here, stretching way, way beyond Dietrich’s limited range technically and emotionally. Her rendition of the songs reveals as much about the private vulnerability of Dietrich as do the anecdotal facts.

This is beautiful and captivating storytelling through music and memory. A loving montage directed and edited by Evan Quinn as we follow Ute following in Marlene’s footsteps. In 1992 she was hired to play Lola in ‘The Blue Angel’ in Berlin; exactly sixty-four years after Marlene was the ‘Blue Angel’ in Weimar times. She had been twenty-eight years old at the time and Ute was, also, twenty-eight. Ten days before opening might, Marlene passed away. Ute was there at the funeral.

“So, what was it that Marlene wanted me to tell you?” Ute asks in the closing moments of the cabaret as we come full cycle. “She wanted to talk about people, nations, stupidity, the empowerment of women, the intelligence of women. She wanted to talk about history. Never to forget. And always to remember.” This parting plea, urging us not to repeat the mistakes of the past, runs deep as she closes with a few bars of ‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone’, followed by a stirring and emotive rendition of Bob Dylan’s ‘Blowing in the Wind’. One thing is for sure: Ute Lemper’s performance is unforgettable.

Ute Lemper: Rendezvous With Marlene

filmed at Club Cumming in New York with Alan Cumming and Ute Lemper as producers, will be streamed again globally on Saturday, 5 December 2020 at 19.00.

Click here to book