After a delay of two days, Cabaret began performances at the newly renovated Studio 54 on Nov. 14, with both a matinee and an evening performance.
The highly anticipated move, originally to occur on Nov. 12, was delayed due to renovation setbacks.
Several changes to the building itself (totalling $1.2 million) have been made to accommodate the Berlin club setting of the show. The John Kander and Fred Ebb musical played its last performance at The Kit Kat Klub on Nov. 8, using the extra time to rehearse on the new stage.
As for the switch to Studio 54, Roundabout Artistic Director Todd Haimes was quoted as saying, "During our time at the 43rd Street club, it became apparent that it was not possible to co-exist successfully and that Cabaret needed its own home."
Many of the aesthetic features seen first at the Henry Miller have been replicated at 54, including the clotted mix of a red and black palette, leopard skin coverings and the orchestra table seating. Specific changes not dealt with at the Kit Kat were needed for 54. The highly visible air-conditioning ducts have been ripped out, to be replaced by a more internal system, thus allowing the audience comfort while not sabotaging the site-specific design.
The building of 54 itself was opened in 1927 as the Gallo Opera House, and three years later became a legitimate theatre, changing its name to The New Yorker Theatre. The theatre was then redesigned by Billy Rose to become one of the finer post-show restaurants in the city, the Casino de Paree. After a brief ownership by the mobster Tommy Lucchese, the theatre was renamed the Palladium in 1936, shortly afterward being claimed for the Federal Theatre Project, until in 1939 it was re-dubbed The New Yorker. The space probably reached the greatest fame in the late 70's in its incarnation as the creme de la creme of New York night spots - Studio 54. A film based on the star studded events of those times, aptly titled "54" and starring Mike Myers, Neve Campbell and Salma Hayek, was released earlier this year.
Evening curtain times for the show will change to the Broadway standard 8 PM. The earlier time for the Kit Kat run was due to the space's conversion each night into a nightclub.
In other Cabaret news, the national tour of the Kander and Ebb musical will begin in Los Angeles at The Wilshire Theatre, Feb. 1999. In addition to the L.A. dates, Cabaret is scheduled to play Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C., Toronto, Minneapolis, and San Francisco in the tour's first twelve months. Specific dates are TBA.
The current Broadway cast includes: Robert Sella (Side Man), Jennifer Jason Leigh (as Sally), Blair Brown, Ron Rifkin and John Benjamin Hickey (as Isherwood stand in, Cliff). Tickets are on sale through June 1999 at (212) 239-6200.