The New Revival of Kander and Ebb’s ‘Cabaret’ Begins Previews

Willkommen. Bienvenue. Welcome.
These three words – or rather, this one word in these three languages – is deliciously familiar to Broadway fans far and wide.

cabaret Roundabout Theatre on Broadway It is therefore with great anticipation that audiences welcome the new revival of Cabaret to Broadway, which begins performances tonight: March, 21, 2014.  These are the lyrics that begin the opening number of John Kander and Fred Ebb’s musical masterpiece, sung by the ultimate provocateur, the Master of Ceremonies.  This role, in a turn of events generally unusual for Broadway but not for this show, is revived along with the musical itself.  Alan Cumming, the beloved Scottish actor most recently seen on Broadway in his one-man adaption of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, will reprise the Emcee role, which he also played in 1998 when the musical last appeared on Broadway.

The 2014 revival is produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company at one of their two Broadway houses: Studio 54 on West 54th Street.  This marks the show’s third Broadway revival.  It originally premiered in 1966, when it ran for 1,186 performances (including previews) and was nominated for 11 Tony Awards, winning 8 (including Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Performance by a Featured Actor – Joel Grey as the Master of Ceremonies, and Best Director – Harold Prince).  Cabaret’s first Broadway revival took place in 1987, with Harold Prince once again directing and with Joel Grey reprising his role as the Emcee.  The second revival played 2,377 performances, becoming the third-longest running Broadway revival in history, and featured Alan Cumming as the Emcee, a role he had debuted in the 1993 London revival.

When Alan Cumming first played the Emcee, he significantly altered the interpretation from that portrayed by Joel Grey.  Grey had embodied the consummate asexual entertainer, but Cumming took on the role in a highly sexualized fashion.  Still, both interpretations were so inimitable that each actor was asked to reprise his role for the following revival.  Furthermore, following in Harold Prince’s tradition of the director reprising his position for this show, Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall, who co-directed the last revival, will also direct the 2014 production.

Starring alongside Cumming in this revival is Michelle Williams in her Broadway debut, playing the role of Sally Bowles: the 19 year-old English cabaret performer who falls in love with a young American writer.  Williams rose to fame in the late 90s on the WB’s teen television drama Dawson’s Creek.  She was then nominated for an Academy Award for her role in Brokeback Mountain, and also garnered acclaim for her performances in I’m Not There, Synecdoche New York, Shutter Island, and Blue Valentine.  The musical also features Tony Award nominees Linda Emond (Death of a Salesman, Life x 3) as Fraulein Schneider, and Danny Burstein (Follies, Golden Boy, South Pacific, The Drowsy Chaperone) as Herr Schultz.

The musical officially opens on April 24, 2014.  Though the last revival ran for 6 years, this is slated to be a 24-week limited engagement, with the closing date scheduled for August 31, 2014.

Celebrated Cabaret Revival Returning to Broadway

Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams

It’s not often that a revival is revived on Broadway, but the Roundabout Theatre Company’s 1998 Tony Award-winning revival of the musical Cabaret is returning to Broadway in 2014. What’s more, the production’s original star, Alan Cumming, will also be reprising his performance as the Emcee.

Starring alongside Alan Cumming will be Michelle Williams, the Oscar-nominated actress known for her work in films such as Brokeback Mountain and Blue Valentine. This will mark her Broadway debut.

“I’m delighted to be stepping back into the Kit Kat Klub one more time,” stated director Sam Mendes, “and to be having the opportunity to re-explore and re-discover this extraordinary musical alongside two equally extraordinary performers.”

Cabaret will start preview performances at Studio 54 (the same theater where the earlier production played) on March 21, 2014, with an opening night scheduled for April 24.

Alan Cumming and Audra McDonald Are Made in NY

Audra McDonald

Audra McDonald

Two of Broadway’s best will be honored with 2013 Made in NY Awards in a presentation at Gracie Mansion on June 10.  Audra McDonald (Porgy and Bess, Ragtime) and Alan Cumming (Macbeth, Cabaret), both Tony Award winners, are receiving these special awards, which recognize both people and organizations who have made notable contributions to NYC’s entertainment and media industries.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Media & Entertainment Commissioner Katherine L. Oliver will host the Made in NY Awards ceremony, which will include a performance from Broadway’s Kinky Boots (to be introduced by the show’s bookwriter, Harvey Fierstein).

“The honorees of the 2013 ‘Made in NY Awards’ have made New York City proud by establishing their remarkable careers here,” stated NYC Mayor Bloomberg. “They are a part of a community of thousands of New Yorkers who together have brought the City to the forefront of the entertainment and digital media industries, helping to make New York City an exciting and thriving place to be.”

Broadway Star Alan Cumming Releases Shakespeare Recording

Alan CummingJust as he prepares to take on William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy Macbeth (all by himself!) on Broadway at the Barrymore Theatre, Alan Cumming releases a new recording on which he tackles several of the Bard’s works. The Head That Wears a Crown, available from GPR Records, features Cumming reciting numerous speeches from Shakespeare plays.

On the 22-track album are many of Shakespeare’s most revered speeches, including “Now is the winter of our discontent” from Richard III, “Once more unto the breach” from Henry V, and “If music be the food of love, play on” from Twelfth Night, along with lesser-known passages.

The Head That Wears a Crown is already available for digital download, and it will be released in stores on April 23. Alan Cumming’s one-man Macbeth begins previews on April 7, with its official Broadway opening set for April 21.

Liza Minnelli and Alan Cumming To Perform at Town Hall

Liza Minnelli and Alan CummingTwo Broadway favorites, Liza Minnelli and Alan Cumming, will perform together in concert at The Town Hall next month. The concerts, to be held on March 13 and 14, will be in celebration of Liza Minnelli’s 67th birthday.

The pair are both well-known by Broadway fans for their turns in the musical Cabaret, though decades apart. Liza Minnelli starred in the 1972 film version of the Kander & Ebb classic, while Alan Cumming gave a memorable take on the Emcee in Sam Mendes’ acclaimed 1998 Broadway revival.

For their Town Hall concerts, which are based on an engagement they had on Fire Island this past summer, Minnelli and Cumming will sing both solo and together, sharing stories and jokes about show business and their personal lives.

For tickets and further information, click here.