Lemper recounts the life of the iconic German-born film star (1901–1992) along with singing songs from all chapters of Dietrich’s life—from the Berlin cabaret years of the 1920s through her movie career to her live shows in the 1950s–1970s and her Burt Bacharach collaborations. Dietrich also made two concert appearances on Broadway, in 1967 and 1968.
A major interpreter of the works of theatre composer Kurt Weill, Lemper has followed Dietrich in a busy cabaret career. She appeared on Broadway as Velma Kelly in in the long-running revival of Chicago, a role she also played in London, winning the 1998 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical. She won the 1987 Molière Award for Best Newcomer for her performance as Sally Bowles in the original Paris production of Cabaret.
Lemper’s most recent New York appearance was at Joe’s Pub in September 2017.
Lemper says she has based Rendezvous With Marlene on a three-hour phone conversation she had with Dietrich in 1988. After receiving the French Molière Award for her performance in Cabaret in Paris, Lemper sent a postcard to Dietrich essentially apologizing for all the media attention comparing her with the film star. In the conversation that followed, Dietrich reportedly “looked back on a long, fulfilled life of movies, music, incredible collaborations, love stories and stardom. Ute considers it a secret gift to have heard Marlene talk about her life, her work and style, her love for the poet Rilke, her complicated relationship with Germany, her sorrow and her fascinations.”