Chronicle

Our History at a Glance – The Wintergarden Varieté from 1880 to the Present:

  • 1880

    Opening of Central Hotel at Friedrichstrasse with a “Jardin de Plaisanterie” or Wintergarten for the hotel guests. The splendid, glass palace-like garden room has an area of approximately 2,000 m². Decorated with palms, evergreen shrubs and creepers, fountains and grottos, it invites the guests of the fine hotel to stroll and provides an excellent setting for sumptuous dinners and festive events. First concerts take place already during the first year.
  • 1884

    The Wintergarten becomes a program and wine & dine theater.

  • 1888

    First small variety performances with acrobats and magicians are staged.

  • 1889

    The renown of the theater is established with guest performances by famous stars such as Saharet, Mistinguett and Yvette Guilbert.

  • 1895

    The Skladanowsky brothers present an extravagant program on stage: the world premiere of the cinematograph.

  • 1900

    Among the approximately 80 Berlin varieties, the Wintergarten has a top ranking. No novelty, no sensational performance and none of the leading entertainment artistes can ignore the Wintergarten. It soon becomes a sort of “Gotha” of variety with guest performances of stars from both the opera and the circus ring: the most famous girl groups, virtuoso artistes, the clowns Grock and Charlie Rivel, the magical juggler Rastelli as well as the escape artiste Houdini.

  • 1920

    During the 1920s the Wintergarten is marked not only by the typical eccentric fashions and authentic talents, but above all by Claire Waldoff and Otto Reutter.

  • 1944

    After 56 years of stage performances and the last performance on June 21, the Wintergarten is destroyed by a bomb attack. The most spectacular stage of variety artistry ever known in Germany is reduced to rubble. Only the legend of a great name remains: Wintergarten Varieté.

  • 1992

    On September 25 the Wintergarten Varieté at Potsdamer Straße is reopened with a glamorous premiere to pay homage to the old Wintergarten and meets with the enthusiasm of the Berliners and their guests from the outset, under the artistic direction of Roncalli founder Bernhard Paul and André Heller. The press cheers: Berlin has its Wintergarten back! At present the Wintergarten is not only popular with Berliners. During the first years more than two million visitors came to the lavishly produced shows. Word of mouth and the media introduced the Wintergarten also to a broad international audience. Time Magazine rightly recommended it as a culture tip for Europe: The Wintergarten which largely does without words in its program and hence does not have to surmount any language barriers, developed rapidly into a widely praised crowd-puller.

  • 2007

    The Wintergarten is taken over by a private group of investors.

  • 2009

    In late January 2009 the theatre temporarily stopped its performances in the wake of orderly insolvency proceedings.

    In mid-2009 a new operating company is found for the Wintergarten with its little less than 500 seats. Its shareholders had already been the lessor of the premises since the new foundation of the Wintergarten and decided in Spring 2009 to acquire in a first step the inventories and rights to the name in order to keep the theater as such ready to perform and uphold the Wintergarten brand on the market. The theater is initially let out to Deutsche Entertainment AG for a three-month guest performance of the new burlesque show “Black Flamingo”. In parallel the preparations for an own full-year program begin.

  • 2010

    The Fabulous Variety Show” with variety singer and conférencière Meret Becker is on February 5, 2010 with a brilliant premiere the festive prelude to the reopening of the Berlin Wintergarten Varieté at Potsdamer Straße – a wonderfully dainty, subtle, quirky, poetic homage to the variety art form and its roots. Almost exactly a year after its closing, the theater is reactivated with a full-year program including three variety shows from its own production.

    The second show of the year “Made in Berlin” under the direction of Markus Pabst / Base Berlin continues the success of the first one – a fresh, cheeky show which celebrates the sound of the capital and the attitude towards life of the Berliners: “More Berlin is not possible!” (Berliner Morgenpost).

    The guest performance of “The Tiger Lillies FREAKSHOW” provides the theater with a cheerful-morbid charm during fall.

    Mark Scheibe’s Wild Stage” offers an insight into the production of a song and the love life of French women. An orchestra, Mark Scheibe at the piano and artistes on and above the stage secure wild animation in the theater.

  • 2011

    The 1950s show “Peppermint Club” secures a spring mood for the city over several months – with hula hoop, petticoats, a passionate rockabilly band and awesome acrobatics.

    Forever Young” is a tremendous rock variety show which conquers the Wintergarten after the summer recess and takes more than 50,000 visitors to a spectacular acrobatic musical live trip through the history of rock.

  • 2012

    After its major success in fall 2010, “The Tiger Lillies FREAKSHOW” returns to the Wintergarten for a month.

    Katharine Mehrling enchants her audience with charm, sex appeal and soul. Disarmingly honest and absolutely funny in the show “On the Edge of the Night” – accompanied live by her “Frivole Nachtklub-Kapelle” and charismatic variety eccentrics.

    Three true entertainers met and teased themselves. Paris Moulin Rouge, Berlin Quatsch Comedy Club or New York Broadway – they were already performing on many different stages. With their first Wintergarten guest performance in “FUNKY TOWN” they now exploited these resources and cast an artistic look at the groove of the metropolises of this world.

    Berlin is off-beat, fascinating, multi-faceted. An exciting mixture, which cannot only be experienced in the streets of the city, but also on the stage of Berlin’s Wintergarten Variety in MADE IN BERLIN. A colorful program – as vibrant, extraordinary and diverse as the city itself.

    Who would not love it – the illusion? If unimaginable things are happening and the impossible appears to be possible, the world of magic has taken over. At last another magician’s show in Berlin – THE MAGICAL MYSTERY SHOW.

  • 2013

    FOREVER YOUNG – The Rock Variety Show was back! Berlin’s successful rock variety show picked up more than 50,000 enthralled visitors as hitchhikers to a journey through the history of rock. Rock classics from the Beatles, Stones, Police, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd to David Bowie, Nirvana and Metallica – performed live by the excellent rock musicians of the Weitersagen band and staged in fascinating pictures by international variety artistes.

    THE CultiMulti SHOWAn acrobatic excursion into the dazzling world of the Varieté in the multi-faceted cultural mix of a big city, presented by comedian and entertainer Murat Topal. Director: Markus Pabst

    MADE IN BERLIN…ordinary Madness
    Berlin is off-beat, fascinating and diverse. A mixture that can be experienced not only on the streets of the city but also on stage at the Berlin Wintergarten Varieté.

    ALL NIGHT LONG – Die Soul Varieté Show
    The show electrifies from the first second onwards, when the live band ignites this dance through the history of soul with “Papa was a Rolling Stone”. In “Georgia” sunshades, tennis rackets and rings are flying, and “Mr. Sexmachine” is cheerful, charming and funny. With his ladder acrobatics he erects a monument to honor James Brown, the “Godfather of Soul”.

  • 2014

    BREAKIN’ MOZART – Classic, Breakdance, Artistic
    He has already achieved two great successes at the Wintergarten (“Mozart am Trapez” in 2005 and “Furioso” in 2007). Now Echo award winner Christoph Hagel, who is celebrated all over the world for crossover productions such as “The Magic Flute in the Underground” or “Flying Bach”, combines variety and classical music once more and presents a new performance in the Wintergarten with the DDC Company combines first-class acrobatics and artistry with music by Mozart – and with breakdance!

    SHEER MADNESS is a berlinesque artistical as it can probably only be created in Berlin. It is a blend of acrobatics, dance and live music never seen before and narrates the story of bright imagination and joy of living in dark times.

    THE MAGICAL MYSTERY SHOW: Who doesn’t love it – the illusion? If unimaginable things are happening and the impossible appears to be possible, the world of magic has taken over.

  • 2015

    Back in Wintergarten: BREAKIN’ MOZART – Classic, Breakdance, Artistic
    New Mix – New Artists

    The SOAP OPERA plays in an apartment building in Berlin. Mainly artists live here. A Danish brokerage firm buys the house. Their trainee is to find out how the house can best be “cleared”. 10 artistes and a 5-piece band will revive this soap opera.

    When did Sex, Drugs & Rock n Roll actually become lactose intolerance, veganism & Helene Fischer? This is exactly the question that the new Wintergarten show ATEMLOS – BREATHLESS will examine.

  • 2016

    Back in Wintergarten: SHEER MADNESS is a berlinesque artistical as it can probably only be created in Berlin. It is a blend of acrobatics, dance and live music never seen before and narrates the story of bright imagination and joy of living in dark times.

    Back in Wintergarten: ALL NIGHT LONG – Die Soul Varieté Show
    The show electrifies from the first second onwards, when the live band ignites this dance through the history of soul with “Papa was a Rolling Stone”.

    The 80s were glitzy times. Onwards breathtaking acrobatics meet the sound of the 80s, accompanied by an outstanding live band and splendid singers in the new Wintergarten show RELAX! Alive and kicking! Musically inspired top artistes make constantly new pictures come alive – with memories of Germany’s favorite decade.