After nearly a month of cancellations, Cabaret might be able to resume performances on Wednesday, Aug. 19. Show spokesperson Erin Dunn told Playbill On-Line (Aug. 13) city officials have granted the Roundabout Theatre Company "limited access" to the Kit Kat Klub. That's the home of Cabaret which has been off-limits since a July 21 construction accident paralyzed much of Times Square -- including the block of 43rd Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues where the Kit Kat sits.
Roundabout officials will be allowed into the Kit Kat Klub for a couple hours over the next few evenings, said Dunn. Among other duties, they will return props which were earlier removed from the theatre and show new cast members around the stage area. The Roundabout anticipates more information on the reopening to be announced Monday, Aug. 17.
The development is a badly-needed bit of good news for the hit musical, which, since its closure, has cost the Roundabout roughly a quarter million dollars a week in lost revenue. It is still uncertain when the production will be able to pick up where it left off, but matters look hopeful. "Wednesday night is the earliest we could resume performances," said Dunn. "We won't know for sure until Monday." For now, performances of Cabaret are canceled through Aug. 18.
Dunn did not know whether a construction tunnel would be built to safely ferry Roundabout staffers to the Kit Kit's entrance. No one at the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management was available for comment.
If the Roundabout is able to reclaim the Kit Kat by next week, that would seem to end, for now, the theatre's plans to move the show elsewhere. Since the accident, rampant speculation had the company restaging the musical at an existing Broadway house or at the former Studio 54. Artistic Director Todd Haimes confirmed he was considering Studio 54 but cautioned that such a move was so expensive as to make it nearly untenable. Spokesman Adrian Bryan-Brown also pointed out that Cabaret would only move to a venue that met the artistic demands of the production. Cabaret director Sam Mendes' environmental staging of the musical duplicates the atmosphere of a pre-World War II nightclub. The Roundabout and director Mendes searched for months for an appropriate home for the show before settling on the former Henry Miller Theatre, which was converted into the Kit Kat Klub.
The Roundabout is taking the long view on the current crisis. The theatre is now offering theatregoers who bought tickets for the temporarily shuttered show directly from the Roundabout or through a subscription a chance to reschedule for a show between April 27 and May 9, 1999. Ticketholders may also obtain a refund if they wish. The number to call is (212) 869-8400.
The problem with seeing Cabaret in April or May, however, is that Alan Cumming, who won a Tony for his portrayal as the M.C., is leaving in March. According to Dunn, those who wish to catch his performance before he goes can get a refund and then try to buy tickets for an earlier performance, though they can't be sure of securing seats as good as the ones they originally had.
Cabaret was performing at the Kit Kat Klub on 43rd Street, just feet away from the Conde Nast tower when a July 21 construction accident caused the block to be closed.
Ten members of the Cabaret staff were allowed July 30 to enter the Kit Kat Klub. They retrieved costumes and musical instruments so rehearsals of the ill-fated musical could resume at the Roundabout's rehearsal hall on 45th Street, according to production spokesman Adrian Bryan-Brown.
"I think it's just going to be a waiting game," Bryan-Brown said. Witnesses reported sets being removed too, but Bryan-Brown said they were in error.. Cabaret had played 141 Broadway performances before the disaster.
In other Roundabout news, Variety reported Aug. 14 that the Roundabout may be cutting back on the budget of the upcoming musical Little Me starring Martin Short and Faith Prince. Variety quoted a source who said the show lacked $150,000 in funding. The source pointed out, however, that the shortfall had nothing to do with the costs connected to the temporary closure of Cabaret. Haimes did not respond to the claims.