Every Berlin visitor and Berliner will probably already have noticed the green poster advertising the Friedrichstadt-Palast in Berlin with “THE ONE Grand Show”. Some may even have already seen the new revue show. But only a few get the opportunity to look backstage behind the scenes of the theater show. Exactly for this reason I would like to take you backstage and give you my personal impressions of the team, the tailoring, the make-up, the musicians and the partly really amazing premises.
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I can already say it in advance, it was absolutely impressive to get an insight into the theater world in this way.
Tours through the backstage area are not normally offered and that’s exactly why I appreciate the insights extremely. I have filmed and photographed quite a bit to be able to share everything with you now.
Backstage at the Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin
I went to the stage entrance, where I met with a dear employee of the Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin. Of course, I already had some curious questions on the tip of my tongue and that’s exactly when it’s great to have someone who knows the answers. First, we went to the third floor to the tailor shop, where some of them were even still working.
Tailor’s shop at the Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin
While artists and make-up artists only start work in the afternoon, the tailoring or office departments have normal working hours. A kind of “emergency tailoring” is not necessary during the show, as the dressing room assistants can of course help. Major repairs to costumes are taken to the tailor shop after the evening show so they can be repaired the next day.
There are extremely many different sets and scenes, or fashion styles, that should be represented by the show. The collaboration with Jean Paul Gaultier was really fun for the dressmakers. There are all the elements in the show that Jean Paul Gaultier is known for. I will go into more detail in my impressions of the show.
The challenge for the dressmakers is to get a perfect mix of look and function for each new revue. Not only do the outfits have to look great, but they have to give the dancers enough freedom of movement. Durability also plays a big role in the design process, in addition to looks. Just the first look at the costumes on display told me it was going to be a colorful show with lots of fashion that you could almost see at Fashion Week.
While I always have to pull myself together since there are so many great photo opportunities in creative spaces, I really had to check out the costumes that were particularly impressive for tailoring.
The costumes for a scene with human muscles printed on them were an exciting challenge. Here, you had to think carefully about how to cut and sew the fabric panels afterwards. Something you don’t tailor every day after all.
Next door, a seamstress was still working on the tattoo net sleeves, which of course had to be replaced more quickly due to the finer material. You can’t generalize how long you work on an article. Depending on the costume, some rhinestones and beads are still attached to the nets, which of course affects the production time – but it already looked great!
The artists’ elaborate headdresses are also created on this floor. Most of the 500 costumes and thus also the required headdresses were of course already in the artists’ dressing rooms so shortly before the performance. Passing by the many headdress heads, we continued to the second floor, where Antje Potthast, the head of the make-up department, welcomed me in the make-up room.
Mask and make-up in the Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin
There are over 100 artists on stage for every show. Countless faces that want to be made up. Today there were one more face, because Antje took the time to conjure up a great evening make-up for me. I was super excited to see if it would be different to be made up by a real theater makeup artist.
For some events and events I like to let myself make up by “experts”, because then you just look again completely different than when you make up yourself and in addition you can always learn something yourself.
While Antje gave my face more contour and brightened up some spots, I learned that she has 15 minutes per artist every evening. 15 minutes is not really much for a professional make-up, where of course artificial eyelashes may not be missing. Fortunately, the hairstyles do not have to be styled, but only prepared for the wigs and headdresses with hairnets.
I was allowed to lean my head back in a really relaxed way, and that’s exactly what many artists do – relax again briefly before it gets serious. By the way, most of them come to the make-up already with basic make-up – so actually like me now. Only the artificial eyelashes are then even more extreme than it was with me today, so that I still go through as “normally styled”. For lipstick, we opted for the red gloss lipstick that the artists also wear.
The result looked mega. Really beautiful and intense makeup – just the way I like it. I wouldn’t have wanted to change anything and can tell you that I was in really good hands with Antje. But after more than 20 years in the make-up of the Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin really sit all handles. You can feel that she really likes her job. By the way, the make-up at “THE ONE Grand Show” is quite “normally styled” – there have been shows before where even more rhinestones were glued to the make-up. Here, of course, the effort becomes even more extreme.
When the show begins, however, is not automatically the end for the mask. The mask is active all the time and makes up the last artists. Of course, it is also active again during the makeover to the next costume. Would you have thought that many of the male artists mostly do their own makeup?
A great experience to get an insight here once. The biggest difference in styling compared to a normal make-up appointment? More comfortable chairs or armchairs, absolutely nice and relaxed atmosphere and the perfect routine during make-up. The backstage hustle and bustle of Fashion Week you look here in vain… once again a big thank you to the dear team! I’ll be back with pleasure :-)….
Dress code at the Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin?
Now my outfit fit just a bit better in combination with the perfect make-up. In my video you can see that I also thought back and forth with my outfit.
It should be chic, but not too plain – it should fit to the backstage area, but also to the revue – if possible it should be slightly oriented to the fashion of Jean Paul Gaultier in my mind. In the end it became a leather dress with lace, black tights and my classic Christian Louboutin pumps.
By the way, there is no dress code at Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin, but I think it’s almost normal that you just like to dress chic when you go to the theater. You’re not expected to wear a ball gown and tuxedo, though. Although there are great seats in the Sky Lounge for those who want a private drink service in between and want to enjoy a little more space in comfortable armchairs.
Ballet Hall at the Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin
I was quickly able to take a look at the ballet hall and warm-up room for the artists. Big mirrors, mats and of course many ropes for the artistry. Right now an artist was rehearsing with a ring almost two meters tall, which looked fascinating.
Here, 60 of the company’s own artists train dancers and 40 other artists, including performers who are always cast for each show. A show usually runs for two years at the Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin. About 30 different nations are present in the ensemble and so it almost goes without saying that they support the project “Colours of Respect”.
The working day for many artists and dancers already begins at 10 o’clock in the morning, with the first ballet training, until it goes in the evening for one or two shows on the show stage.
Young ensemble at the Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin
Finished styled we went to the stage or rather to the first row of the audience. On stage the Young Ensemble was still rehearsing their show. You can see even the smallest ones at the rehearsal, which charisma and star potential is in them. There are regular children’s castings, where you have a chance to be accepted into the ensemble and thus trained to become a little theater star. At the castings, by the way, they pay attention to how flexible the body is, for example.
Fascinating how they offer a separate show ‘Crazy Sun’ for the young audience from November to January. Of course, the show has nothing to do with the regular show, but has its own theme.
Here, unlike in revue theater, there is also a “common thread” for the young audience. The sets for the 250 children of the young ensemble between the ages of seven and 16 also looked impressive. After rehearsals, the theater stage was freshly wiped and all the ropes and suspension systems were checked and prepared by the technicians.
Orchestra, sound and lighting at the Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin
The sound check was done, the lighting was checked and the first musicians arrived. Many people always think that the music at Friedrichstadt-Palast comes from a tape, but this is not the case, even though there is no orchestra pit. The strings and winds of the 17-piece show band are located in a box to the left and right of the stage and next to the audience, respectively. The conductor, keyboard, drums and percussion can be found backstage behind a curtain. You don’t see the musicians until the final applause.
The musicians are connected to each other via monitors. It may seem unusual, but for the musicians and the acoustics the spatial separation is not so wrong. Nevertheless, I was curious about the band backstage and that’s exactly where we headed. Past the second mask, the artist dressing rooms we went to the end of the stage. Again and again you meet styled artists preparing for the show.
When I arrived at the Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin Band, I have to say that it’s almost a bit of a shame that you can’t see them at all. But at least you can see them now – through me :). In elementary school I once played the xylophone myself and was thrilled. Due to lack of future prospects I didn’t pursue it further, but now at least I know where I might have played once. However, it also has its advantages if you are not watched by spectators all the time. You are also allowed to snack a little in between – very nice.
We went on to the room right next door. Only quickly find the light switch and we were already in the Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin locksmith! I would have expected ANYTHING, but somehow no locksmith’s shop. Of course, someone has to create the whole stage and design, but so far I had not expected it so directly behind the main stage. Very impressive and contrasting.
The stage at Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin
Since the technicians of the Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin had meanwhile left the 2200sqm stage (additional 700sqm playable area), I was now allowed to enter the big stage once. It looks really impressive when you stand at the very back of the Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin stage. The stage didn’t look that big from the front, but now the audience seats don’t look like 1899 seats in the Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin. Fascinating – but I was inwardly glad that all the seats were still “empty”.
I have absolute respect for the artists who stand on this stage every evening and deliver their show again and again with full concentration. Working every day anew with the same attention and motivation deserves absolute respect. Through a small side door, I suddenly stood in the middle of the foyer and was from now on a normal theater visitor. However, the backstage hours gave me a completely different insight and I hope that through my experiences I could take you a little bit into the world of revue theater in the Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin.
Backstage at the Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin – THE ONE Grand Show
The show could begin and I was mighty curious what I would recognize and how I would like the show. Once again a very big thank you to the team of the Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin for the very special impressions from the heart of the theater.