Though still no official announcement has been made that the Roundabout Theatre's revival of Kander & Ebb's Cabaret, co-directed by UK director Sam Mendes and choreographer Rob Marshall, will come to NYC's Club Expo, the evidence keeps mounting.
Posted Oct. 21, the Roundabout's ensemble casting call for the show notes that rehearsals begin Dec. 8, with Jan. 20, 1998 given as the opening date for the show's open run. Back on Sept. 22, Variety reported that Natasha Richardson and Alan Cumming were definite for the cast, though some of the British designers would be replaced by Americans. On Oct. 13 Theatrical Index reported the show's a definite at the Expo, with Patrick Vaccariello serving as musical director.
Reached Oct. 29, spokesperson Erin Dunn (Boneau/Bryan-Brown) told Playbill On-Line that contracts still haven't been signed but, "Everything's being put into place for when the lease is signed. So when it is official, we'll be ready. It's in the attorney's hands and we're just waiting for official news. We don't want to announce anything prematurely because of what happened with the Supper Club last year."
Director Mendes told Variety he preferred Club Expo (on West 43rd St. -- formerly the Henry Miller Theatre) to the previous venue choice, the Supper Club. "[Club Expo is] the sort of thing we were trying to make the Donmar into, and in New York it already exists." Rehearsals are said to begin Dec. 16 for late January previews and an opening Feb. 1998.
According to Variety, Robert Brill will design the set (Sue Blane was the London designer), Rob Marshall will be the choreographer (instead of Matthew Bourne, who will be working on Swan Lake in April 1998). Director Mendes has insisted on doing the 1966 show - about events swirling around a decadent Berlin cabaret at the dawn of the Nazi era -- in an actual cabaret setting.
Having lost its unorthodox venue, The Supper Club, Roundabout's revival of the John Kander & Fred Ebb musical announced its intention to postpone to spring 1998 back on Oct. 24, 1996. "We're run out of time for this season," Mendes said time. "[Roundabout Artistic Director] Todd [Haimes] and I do not want to make any compromises in staging the show. I want to reiterate my commitment to all concerned and proceed when we have the space that works for Cabaret next season."
The 350-seat Supper Club had been announced for a February opening, but an Oct. 2, 1996 New York Post story said the deal has been quashed because the club couldn't give up previously-arranged bookings.
Andre Cortez, general manager of the Supper Club, confirmed the Post story, telling Playbill On-Line that the club and Roundabout "simply couldn't make an agreement," though he couldn't elaborate on upcoming acts at the space.
The irony is that before its extensive renovation, the Roundabout's second stage, now known as the Off-Broadway Laura Pels Theatre, had been designed specifically for cabaret productons. When it had trouble getting consistent bookings, the space was rebuilt as a more traditional theatre.
Trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama in England, Richardson has appeared in films including Nell, Patty Hearst, The Handmaid's Tale and others.
She will sing "Don't Tell Mama," "Perfectly Marvelous," and the title song -- all made famous on Broadway by Jill Haworth. The role was memorably recreated in Bob Fosse's film by Liza Minnelli.