Cabaret Undressed! The True Stories Behind the Broadway Hit

Cabaret Undressed! The True Stories Behind the Broadway Hit

first_imgBroadway Tug-of-WarAfter his musical The Boy Friend became a big hit in the West End and on Broadway in the mid-’50s, composer/lyricist Sandy Wilson adapted I Am A Camera into a musical, only to find that the rights had been scooped up by producer Harold Prince. Prince commissioned Joe Masteroff to write the musical’s book, but the pair agreed that Wilson’s take on the material didn’t feel authentic to 1920s Berlin. Instead, they enlisted John Kander and Fred Ebb to write the score, and Wilson got the boot. If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It21 years after he first put on his Emcee’s dingy suspenders and nipple glitter, Cumming is returning to Broadway in the role that made him a star. “It starts rehearsals the day after my 49th birthday,” Cumming teased in The Aesthete. “So I’ll be entering my 50th year dancing my tits off and being a sexpot.” Thank God, he says, for muscle memory! Sam Mendes Made it Seedier…In 1993, Donmar Warehouse artistic director Sam Mendes revived the stage musical at the non-for-profit theater in London’s Covent Garden, starring then-unknown Scottish actor Alan Cumming as the Emcee and Jane Horrocks as Sally. The director made it just as game-changing as the original—he stripped down the material, sat the audience at tables and let them order drinks, and was one of the first directors to cast actor-musicians to be both the ensemble and the band. Best of all, the production got the stamp of approval from John Kander. “[Alan Cumming] is disgusting,” the composer told Mendes with delight. “He’s right in your face.” Related Shows Cabaret Redefining BroadwayWhen Cabaret opened in 1966, it turned the idea of a Broadway musical on its head. There was no overture—instead, audiences were caught off-guard by a drumroll and loud cymbal crash. A giant mirror reflected the audience back on itself. The story dealt with everything from anti-Semitism to abortion, which was unusual for the day. “This marionette’s-eye view of a time and place in our lives that was brassy, wanton, carefree and doomed to crumble is brilliantly conceived,” wrote New York Times critic Walter Kerr. The Evolution of the EmceeWhen it came to creating the world of Cabaret, director Hal Prince recalled his own time in Germany as a young man in the army—specifically a Stuttgart nightclub called Maxim’s. “There was a dwarf MC, hair parted in the middle and lacquered down with brilliantine, his mouth made into a bright red cupid’s bow, who wore heavy false eyelashes,” Prince explained in The Making of Cabaret. Joel Grey, who created the role of the Emcee on Broadway, came up with the white-faced, pink-cheeked look that defined the role for decades. “I found this greasepaint called ‘Juvenile Pink,’ and I thought to myself, ‘This creep, he would want to look young, and this is what he would use,'” Grey recalled. Welcome to BerlinThe Weimar Republic, which flourished between Germany’s defeat at the end of World War I and Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, was a vibrant cultural period famous for its music, film, art and philosophy, as well as its tolerance of decadent behavior (including prostitution and homosexuality). 1920s Berlin was the center of Weimar culture, but when the Nazi Party began rising to power, this liberal mecca started crumbling as artists and intellectuals fled to safer shores. …And Wilder…When Roundabout Theatre Company wanted to bring the production to Broadway, Mendes insisted they find an honest-to-God nightclub. After two years, they found Henry Miller’s Theatre (now the Stephen Sondheim), which had previously been a nightclub called Xenon, and before that, an X-rated movie house. Renamed the Kit Kat Klub, the rundown theater’s gritty atmosphere was just the place for the in-your-face revival. View Comments Star Files The Toast of MayfairWhen Cabaret announced its return to Broadway, the question on everyone’s mind was, who will play Sally? Anne Hathaway and Emma Stone were rumored to be interested in the part, but in the end it went to stage newbie Michelle Williams. Williams admitted that being the new girl makes her “feel like a baby” in rehearsal, but she has a champion in Liza Minnelli. “I’m excited to see what they will do with the show and am sure it will be great,” said Minnelli, calling the new star a “wonderful actress.” Come to the Cabaret, Michelle! In here, life is beautiful…See Alan Cumming and Michelle Williams in Cabaret at Studio 54. Show Closed This production ended its run on March 29, 2015 At First, Liza Didn’t Get the PartThe 1972 film version of Cabaret was just as successful as its stage debut, due in part to its magnetic leading lady, Liza Minnelli. But the young actress had initially tried out for the Broadway musical, and didn’t get the part of Sally. “I knew I’d get the movie for some reason,” Minnelli told The Huffington Post. “I remember saying to myself, ‘That’s all right, I’ll do the film.” Minnelli not only got her wish, but she won an Oscar for her performance, alongside original Broadway star Joel Grey as the Emcee and director Bob Fosse. And as an added bonus, the film basically revived the whole concept of the movie musical, which had been languishing for years. Thanks, guys! Capturing a CultureWriter Christopher Isherwood compiled his experiences living in Weimar Berlin into a semi-autobiographical collection of stories, Goodbye to Berlin, in 1939. The character of Sally Bowles was based on German nightclub singer Jean Ross—her name was borrowed from composer Paul Bowles. British playwright John Van Druten adapted Isherwood’s work into the 1951 Broadway play I Am a Camera, which was panned by the critics (Walter Kerr of The New York Times famously said, “Me no Leica”), but won actress Julie Harris the first of five Tony Awards for playing Sally. Alan Cumming Willkommen back to Broadway, Cabaret! The classic Kander and Ebb musical has arrived for a return engagement on the Great White Way, with Alan Cumming reprising his Tony-winning performance as the Emcee alongside Oscar nominee Michelle Williams, who is making her Broadway debut as British cabaret singer Sally Bowles. In the iconic tale set in 1930s Berlin, the Emcee holds court over the seedy Kit Kat Klub, where Sally strikes up a relationship with an American writer, Cliff. Cabaret opens at Studio 54 on April 24, but a classic isn’t born overnight! Read on for a look at what has long made Cabaret such a crowd-pleasing, game-changing favorite. …And It Paid OffCabaret opened on Broadway in 1998 (with some major changes from new co-director and choreographer Rob Marshall) and scooped up Tony Awards for Best Revival, for Cumming, for Natasha Richardson as Sally, and for Ron Rifkin as Herr Schultz. But when a construction crane fell on the Kit Kat Klub, the show had to temporarly close—that is, until Mendes kicked in the doors on the then-derelict Studio 54. “In addition to its rich and varied history, [Studio 54] happens to be the most atmospheric, theatrically viable space that I’ve seen in New York,” he told the Associated Press. Michelle Williamslast_img read more

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Tickets Now On Sale to See Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick & the Starry Cast of It’s Only a Play

first_img Show Closed This production ended its run on June 7, 2015 It’s Only a Play Stockard Channing View Comments Tickets are now available for the new production of Terrence McNally’s It’s Only a Play. The Jack O’Brien-helmed comedy will star Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Megan Mullally, Rupert Grint, F. Murray Abraham and Stockard Channing. Performances begin at Broadway’s Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on August 28. Opening night is scheduled for October 9. Star Files It’s Only a Play is set on the opening night of Broderick’s character Peter Austin’s new play, as he anxiously awaits to see if his show is a hit. With his career on the line, he shares his big First Night with his best friend, a television star (Lane), his fledgling producer (Mullally), his erratic leading lady (Channing), his wunderkind director (Grint), an infamous drama critic, and a wide-eyed coat check attendant on his first night in Manhattan. There’s no business like show business. Matthew Broderick The star-studded comedy will run for a 17-week engagement through January 4, 2015. Micah Stock will also join the cast in his Broadway debut. Nathan Lane Related Showslast_img read more

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Will Melanie Griffith Swing into Pippin on Broadway?

first_img Griffith earned an Academy Award nomination for Working Girl. Her other notable film credits include Nobody’s Fool, Another Day in Paradise, Celebrity and RKO 281. Griffith, who made her Broadway debut in 2003 as Roxie Hart in Chicago (which has the same lead producer as Pippin ) told Indiewire she’s eyeing a Broadway return. “I’m going to do a lot of things,” the actress said of her future plans. “I’m going to do Pippin on Broadway in January. It’s not about my career now. It’s just about finding great work and having a good time. My kids are almost grown. I’m getting divorced [from Antonio Banderas]. I’m just happy. I’m really joyful. Life is good.” Will screen star Melanie Griffith fly into the Tony-winning revival of Pippin? The answer is yes, if you ask the blonde bombshell herself. Related Shows Griffith would undoubtedly play Berthe in Pippin. The role earned Andrea Martin a 2013 Tony Award and is currently being played by Priscilla Lopez.center_img View Comments Pippin Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 4, 2015last_img read more

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This Week’s Picks! Elf, Von Trapps, Annie & More

first_imgHey, you, standing in line to buy some high-priced item that will be forgotten by your friend—and thrown in the trash—in two months. Get out of the queue and hit the streets, where entertaining options abound! There’s Jake Gyllenhaal’s Broadway debut, the Von Trapp kids’ evening show, new arrivals to Wicked and more. Check out this week’s picks! Behold Wicked’s New Witches Beginning December 16 at the Gershwin Theatre It’s a new, exciting day in Oz! Caroline Bowman, fresh from the national tour of Evita, succeeds Christine Dwyer as Elphaba, and fellow Broadway veteran Kara Lindsay (Newsies) is now Glinda. Another layer of cool to this news: Bowman, a former Wicked ensemble member, understudied Elphaba. Wow, that sounds like the happy sequel to A Chorus Line! Someone grab some magic markers and construction paper—we’ve got dialogue to write. Click for tickets! Stay up Late with the Von Trapps December 17 at 54 Below The highlight of The Sound of Music Live! (aside from Laura Benanti tweeting “Elsa OUT!”) had to be those super-talented Von Trapp kids. Well, lucky for us, five of them (and three of their standbys) are ignoring their bedtimes and performing for one night only at 54 Below. Just be sure to holster your Twitter fingers and stay silent. You’ll need both for ABC’s The Sound of Music: Sing-a-long on Dec. 21. Click for tickets! See Jake Gyllenhaal Survey the Stars Beginning December 16 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre In recent months, Broadway has become Hollywood East, not that we’re complaining. Especially when we can see Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson in Constellations, Nick Payne’s play about a physicist and a bee keeper who meet at a barbecue…and then again and again and again. Yes, the play involves quantum physics, but you won’t be tested on it. We think. Wait, should we form a study group? Click for tickets! View Comments Spread Christmas Cheer with Jim Parsons December 16, check local listings As much as we love Elf, the 2003 holiday movie classic, we’ve seen it more times than our parents. And despite letters to our elected representatives, the musical is not returning to Broadway anytime soon. Thankfully, NBC has a perfect solution. The animated Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas, which includes elements of the movie and the musical, features Jim Parsons as the voice of our overgrown, overzealous Christmas hero. Hooray! Get (Hard) Knocked Out at Annie December 19 in movie theaters The sun comes out today as Annie, the latest big-screen adaptation of the cherished musical, opens nationwide. This one puts a modern-day spin on the Depression-era story of an adorable orphan (Quvenzhané Wallis) and the grumpy gazillionaire (Jamie Foxx) who loves her. Your inner eight-year-old, however, can rest easy. Director Will Gluck (Easy A) is known for having a deft comic touch and the terrific cast also includes Cameron Diaz, Rose Byrne, and Bobby Cannavale.last_img read more

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Between Riverside and Crazy Begins Performances Off-Broadway

first_img Between Riverside and Crazy premiered at off-Broadway’s Atlantic Theater Company this past summer. The cast will also include Ron Cephas Jones, Michael Rispoli, Victor Almanzar, Elizabeth Canavan and Rosal Colón. The play tells the story of Walter “Pops” Washington, an ex-cop and recent widower, who, with his recently paroled son Junior, struggle to hold on to one of the last rent-stabilized apartments on Riverside Drive. The Old Days seem to be dead and gone for the two as old wounds are opened, sketchy new houseguests turn up and a final ultimatum is delivered. Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Between Riverside and Crazy begins previews off-Broadway on January 16. Directed by Austin Pendleton and starring Stephen McKinley Henderson, Liza Colón-Zayas and more, the Second Stage production is playing at the Tony Kiser Theatre. Opening night is scheduled for February 11. View Comments Between Riverside and Crazy Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on March 22, 2015last_img read more

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Star Trek’s George Takei to Make Broadway Debut in Allegiance

first_img Related Shows View Comments “I consider this my legacy project,” Takei told The New York Times. “This is the first time that this dark chapter of American history will be done on the Broadway stage.” The Old Globe production featured Takei, along with Tony winner Lea Salonga and Telly Leung. Take a look at Broadway.com’s chat with the cast below! George Takei will make his Broadway debut in the musical Allegiance, reprising his performance from the 2012 world premiere production in San Diego. Performances will begin at a Shubert theater to be announced on October 6. Opening night is set for November 8. Show Closed This production ended its run on Feb. 14, 2016center_img Allegiance Takei is best known for playing Sulu on the original Star Trek TV series and the six movies that followed. He made his professional acting debut on a 1959 episode of the pioneering live television drama series, Playhouse 90. His many additional screen credits include Larry Crowne, The Great Buck Howard, The Red Canvas, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, DC 9/11: Time of Crisis, The Green Berets, Majority of One, Kissinger and Nixon, Prisoners of the Sun aka Blood Oath, Return From the River Kwai, An American Dream, Hawaii Five-0, True Justice, The Big Bang Theory, Community, Heroes, Will & Grace, Malcolm in the Middle, Freddie, Scrubs, Grosse Pointe and The Six Million Dollar Man. Allegiance is the story of family, love and patriotism set during the Japanese-American internment of World War II. On the 60th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, a meeting with a young journalist forces WWII veteran Sam Otsuka to remember his family’s relocation from their California farm to the Heart Mountain internment camp. As they struggle to adjust to their new home, young Sam and his sister Kei find themselves torn between loyalty to their family and allegiance to their country. The Star Trek favorite will play Sam Otsuka, a WWII veteran; the show is inspired by his personal experience in Japanese internment camps in the 1940s. Stafford Arima will direct the tuner, which features music and lyrics by Jay Kuo and a book by Marc Acito. last_img read more

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The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek Will Extend Off-Broadway

first_img Related Shows The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek Show Closed This production ended its run on May 31, 2015 The world premiere of Athol Fugard’s The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek will extend off-Broadway through June 7; the production had previously been set to shutter on May 31. Performances will begin in the Romulas Linney Courtyard Theatre at the Pershing Square Signature Center on April 21 and officially open on May 11.The new play is inspired by the life of South African outsider artist Nukain Mabusa. Aging farm laborer Nukain has spent his life transforming the rocks at Revolver Creek into a vibrant garden of painted flowers. Now, the final unpainted rock, as well as his young companion Bokkie, has forced Nukain to confront his legacy as a painter, a person and a black man in 1980s South Africa. When the landowner’s wife arrives with demands about the painting, the profound rifts of a country hurtling toward the end of apartheid are laid bare.The cast includes Leon Addison Brown, Bianca Amato, Caleb McLaughlin and Sahr Ngaujah. View Commentslast_img read more

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This Week’s Picks! Pitch Perfect 2, Elaine Paige & More

first_imgSay Bonjour to the New JavertBegins May 12 at the Imperial TheatreIs there nothing better than an old favorite returning to their signature show? Well, maybe fresh-baked bread or a wicker basket full of puppies. Since neither is available, let’s go with the first option. We got a good one. The Broadway revival of Les Miz welcomes back Earl Carpenter—who replaces a Williamstown-bound Will Swenson—as Javert. Carpenter has played that role on and off since 1996. You’re in good, menacing hands. Click for tickets! Say Goodbye (Kinda) to Elaine PaigeIn movie theaters May 12The summer movie season is here, so the theaters will be inundated with superheroes, explosions, and some combination of the two for the next three months. Thankfully, there are options for the Broadway-inclined. For example: I’m Still Here, a big-screen version of Elaine Paige’s farewell concert playing today only. Don’t worry, gang: The First Lady of British Musical Theater is retiring from touring, not the stage. You don’t have to wear black. Click for tickets! Come to the Cabaret for a CauseMay 17 at BirdlandThis is your semiannual reminder that no one raises money for a good cause like Broadway stars. Hunky dudes taking it off! Stars dispensing sugary treats! Really, no one else come close. This time around, Lena Hall, Judy Kaye, Cady Huffman and other Broadway stars join cabaret performer Jamie deRoy for an evening of entertainment to support The Actors Fund’s new program, The Jamie deRoy & Friends Cabaret Initiative, which assists people working in the cabaret industry. Click for tickets! View Comments Hey you, recovering from the three-mimosa, fixed menu bacchanalia that is Mother’s Day. Who knew Mom could party like an energy drink-scarfing club kid? Well, you can’t rest quite yet. Why? There’s too much stuff to do! We’ve got Earl Carpenter’s return to Les Miz, Elaine Paige on the big screen, and the premiere of Pitch Perfect 2. Get ready for this week’s picks! Wake Up with Anna & the KingMay 12, check local listingsUsually, we’d be psyched to see Kelli O’Hara on Live with Kelly and Michael, because the lady knows how to deliver a juicy backstage anecdote. (The dressing room couch ain’t just for sleeping, guys!) But today, the star of The King and I brings along the cast, which means a musical performance from the Tony-nominated revival! Yay! Or maybe everyone will make a gigantic Denver omelet. Morning TV is weird that way. Make Your Friday Pitch-yIn movie theatres May 15Three years after charming us—and branding “The Sign” on our brains—the Bellas return for Pitch Perfect 2. Good news abounds. The awesome scene-stealers from the hip musical comedy—headlined by Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson—return. Ditto writer Kay Cannon. And Elizabeth Banks, who is incapable of being unfunny, acts and directs. The bad news: we have to wait until Friday. Stupid rotation of the earth.last_img read more

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Dear Evan Hansen Will Play Off-Broadway After D.C. Premiere

first_img Dear Evan Hansen Dear Evan Hansen, the new musical from Benj Pasek, Justin Paul and Steven Levenson, will head to off-Broadway’s Second Stage Theatre in the spring of 2016. The show, directed by Michael Grief, is currently playing at Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage, where it will run through August 23. Exact dates for the New York production, will be announced later.With a book by Levenson, lyrics by Pasek and music by Paul, the show follows Evan Hansen, who’s about to find out what it really means to belong. Dear Evan Hansen is the contemporary story of his search for the things in life we all need: Friends, family and a place to call home.No casting has been announced yet for the show’s off-Broadway bow. The Arena Stage production stars Broadway alum and Pitch Perfect star Ben Platt, as well as Laura Dreyfuss, Mike Faist, Rachel Bay Jones, Jennifer Laura Thompson, Will Roland and Michael Park. from $89.00 Related Shows View Commentslast_img read more

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Bright Star to Release Broadway Cast Recording

first_imgCarmen Cusack in ‘Bright Star'(Photo: Joan Marcus) Bright Star, the new Broadway musical by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, will release a cast recording. The Ghostlight Records album is scheduled to be available digitally on April 29 and in stores on May 27.The musical is currently in previews at the Cort Theatre, where it opens officially on March 24. Carmen Cusack, A.J. Shively and Paul Alxander Nolan star.The show, which also features a book by Martin, is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and travels between 1945 and 1923. Billy Cane (Shively), a young soldier just home from World War II, meets Alice Murphy (Cusack), the brilliant editor of a southern literary journal. Together they discover a powerful secret that alters their lives.In addition to Shively and Cusack, the cast includes Michael Mulheren, Stephen Bogardus, Dee Hoty, Jeff Blumenkrantz, Hannah Elless, Stephen Lee Anderson and Emily Padgett. View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on June 26, 2016center_img Bright Star Related Showslast_img read more

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