Matt Zimmerman stars in Cabaret — and learns more about his Jewish roots

Matt Zimmerman


Canadian-born Matt Zimmerman is starring in the Broadway production of Cabaret, currently on tour in the UK.

Mr Zimmerman plays Jewish fruit vendor Herr Schultz, who falls in love with German boarding house owner Fraulein Schneider.

He is an integral part of the sub-plot of the play, set in 1931 in Berlin on the eve of the Nazis' rise to power.

Mr Zimmerman, whose mother married a German Jew who later converted to Catholicism but was brought up with Jewish traditions, says the award-winning musical has enabled him to learn something about his family.

He tells People: "In the late 1920s when Hitler came to power, his efforts to improve working and economic conditions following World War One appealed to my father as a German. What he couldn't understand was why Hitler suddenly began persecuting the Jews. Schultz is a bit like that, in that he cannot understand why he is being persecuted." Mr Zimmerman is reluctant to give his age but says he was urged by his mother to continue honouring Jewish traditions, such as lighting the Shabbat candles, despite his father becoming a Catholic. "I have definitely got a Jewish side to me, which is something I really like. I always tell people I am Jewish, but not of the Jewish faith."

He has also played the role of Jewish father Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, and been the voice of Thunderbirds' character Alan Tracy in television puppet series.

He is currently living in Gants Hill, Essex.

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