The latest revival of Cabaret, the classic 1966 musical set in pre-WWII Berlin, opened April 24 at Studio 54 for a run through Jan. 4, 2015. This is a remounting of the 1998 revival co-directed by Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall, which played the famed former disco until 2004. Alan Cumming returns to his Tony-winning role as the Emcee. Oscar nominee Michelle Williams is Sally Bowles, the party-loving chanteuse with Bill Heck (The Orphan’s Home Cycle) as her lover, struggling American writer Cliff Bradshaw. Also starring are Linda Emond (Death of a Salesman, Life x 3) as Fraulein Schneider and Danny Burstein (South Pacific, Follies) as Herr Schultz. Here are five reasons to come to the cabaret again.
Alan Cumming is better than ever
Many critics agree that the star is delivering a more stunning performance as the lascivious Emcee than in the 1998 production. Linda Winer of Newsday cheers, “Cumming is better than ever — wiser, more dissipated, even more deeply entertaining in the role he stunningly recreated from Joel Grey’s iconic original.”
Michelle Williams in the flesh
Williams proved she can handle musical material with her charming performance as Marilyn Monroe. She now gives the reckless Sally Bowles the same vulnerability and sparkle. Her “Don’t Tell Mama” is deliciously naughty, “Maybe This Time” soars, and when she sings the title song after Sally has been through the wringer, it’s devastating.
Emond and Burstein are a vibrant pair
Tony nominees Linda Emond and Danny Burstein add pathos and intensity to the supporting roles of landlady Fraulein Schneider and Jewish fruit-seller Herr Schultz, who embark on middle-aged romance doomed by politics. Their duet “It Couldn’t Please Me More” is sweetly comic and Emond’s piercing delivery of “What Would You Do?” is shattering.
Life is a cabaret for the audience
Studio 54 has been remodeled for this production with cabaret-table seating from which you can order cocktails, wine, soda and snacks. Unlike at other shows where munching and sipping during the performance are frowned upon, Cabaret encourages enjoying yourself with libation.
Kander and Ebb’s score still shimmers
The vibrant score by John Kander and Fred Ebb, which incorporates songs from both the 1966 original and the 1972 film version, still conveys the wild party atmosphere of pre-Nazi Berlin with unforgettable tunes such as “Wilkommen,” “Mein Herr,” and that title song. For an added bonus, the cast also plays all the instruments. As the Emcee says, “Even the orchestra is beautiful.”