Despite a recent boom in operetta research and productions in Germany, one stage work that was a sensation in 1932 has been overlooked: the improvisational Hier irrt Goethe (Here Goethe Errs) by the Munich-based student cabaret troupe Die vier Nachrichter. On the 200th anniversary of Goethe’s death, the group burlesqued the conventions of operetta and the authority of literary history. The show launched spectacular careers but also signaled the close of the Weimar Republic.

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