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Cabaret was the first movie musical to solve Awkward Silence Syndrome. What is ASS? In a live performance, the cast members look out at the audience, they sing, they dance. A number will build until the singing and dancing reach a crescendo and… then… the performers hit their marks, look straight out… and stop. The whole show stops. If the show is good, the audience fills what would otherwise be dead air with cheers and applause. Essentially the audience restarts the musical, upping the energy level while letting the cast know that, yes, we love what they’re doing up there. As a show progresses, the ongoing back-and-forth between the cast and the audience results in the musical gathering an exhilarating, dizzying momentum. But in movie theaters, the audience simply doesn’t respond when a number ends. The audience sits there, chewing Junior Mints and sipping Cokes—and, really, why should it respond? The director Bob Fosse essentially solved this problem, ASS, in his groundbreaking film version of Cabaret—which won eight Oscars in 1973 (The Godfather won best picture, but Fosse beat out Francis Ford Coppola for best director)—by setting all of the numbers in… a cabaret. On-screen, an audience watched the numbers, laughed, clapped, and interacted with the performers. Energy builds throughout Fosse’s Cabaret, much as it would watching a musical live onstage.