Good Time Sally: Emma Stone on Velvet Corsets, Alan Cumming and Finally Starring in Cabaret

News   Good Time Sally: Emma Stone on Velvet Corsets, Alan Cumming and Finally Starring in Cabaret Film star Emma Stone will fulfill a childhood dream when she makes makes her Broadway debut as chanteuse Sally Bowles in Cabaret.
Emma Stone
Emma Stone Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

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More than 16 years after her first visit to the Kit Kat Club, Emma Stone has come back to the Cabaret, old chums. A Golden Globe nominee known for her work in films such as "The Help" and "The Amazing Spider-Man," Stone, 26, joins Tony winner Alan Cumming in Roundabout's remount of Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall's celebrated revival of the classic Kander and Ebb musical. Replacing Michelle Williams, Stone stars as Sally Bowles, a nightclub singer in 1930s Berlin, Nov. 11 through Feb. 1, 2015, at Broadway's Studio 54. Don't tell mama, but she might even open a club in her dressing room.

What's your theatrical background?
Emma Stone: I did 16 shows and some improv sketch comedy at Valley Youth Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona. That's about the extent of it.

Was Broadway a goal?
ES: I just wanted to do theatre in New York one day. When you're 13, 14, and haven't experienced rejection, anything seems possible. That's why I moved to L.A. at 15.

What was your last stage appearance before Cabaret?
ES: VYT did Titanic in 2003 with the touring set in an 800-seat house at the Herberger Theater Center, which is about as close to professional as you can get at that age in Arizona. Oh, I performed in front of a live audience as host of "Saturday Night Live," but it's totally different. You also sang for live audiences on the 2004 VH1 competition series "In Search of the Partridge Family."
ES: And under the scariest reality show circumstances, because I could've been cut and sent home! It was good preparation.

You've had memorable musical moments in movies like "Easy A" and "The House Bunny." Do you ask directors to put your singing skills to use?
ES: No. Can you imagine? I'd be the worst! In fact, I never thought I'd be asked to sing in anything. I didn't see myself as a singer. Now, I guess, I see myself as an actor who sings, and that's Sally Bowles.

What's your relationship to Cabaret?
ES: I saw Alan Cumming and Natasha Richardson in the original production in 1998. We were in town seeing shows and my mom got rush tickets. I don't think she would've taken me if she'd known the premise. We got table seats and I just went nuts for it. I'd already seen Les Miz and Phantom, and everyone sounded like they do in Les Miz and Phantom. But when Natasha opened her mouth as Sally, I felt everything she was feeling. It was the first time I'd ever heard a voice like that coming out of a character. It wasn't perfect, but it was beautiful.

Emma Stone
Emma Stone Photo by Richard Phibbs

The fact that you were nine years old must make Alan feel pretty old.
ES: [Laughs] I doubt it. He seems like the youngest person I've ever met. I don't think he ages. He's like Benjamin Button.

Doing Cabaret with Alan must feel surreal.
ES: What really stoked my fire to do this was that it was with Alan. Joel Grey's amazing, but Alan has always been my Emcee. He's been so wonderful and welcoming.

Alan shares Instagram photos from his dressing room, which he's turned into a post-show lounge called Club Cumming. Will you step up your game on social media?
ES: Maybe. I am thinking of opening Stone's Soirée to compete with Club Cumming, but I don't think I have the stamina. I just want to go home every night, drink six gallons of Throat Coat and lie there like a rag doll.

Are you a fan of the 1972 film with Liza Minnelli?
ES: Of course! Hers feels like a different version of Sally, but one of the cool things about Sally is that she's infinitely interpretable. Everyone has a different approach, a different vulnerability or hope that they bring to her — it's just a matter of what you personally identify with as an actor. It all works, I think. I loved Michelle's interpretation too, and now I'm doing my own thing.

What's it like to step into an iconic role that's been played by so many great actresses?
ES: Sally's one of the best characters a female actor can play, so it's an incredible lineage that I feel lucky to be a part of. It feels like getting your shot at Hamlet, I'd imagine. You were initially approached to open this revival, but you passed due to filming commitments.
ES: Yeah, that was hard. There was a lot of travel and hubbub happening at the same time, so I knew it would be too much for me. Now that I have this second chance, I've had more time to prepare and build up certain areas that weren't up to snuff. Long story short, I'm just grateful I get to do it now. There was never a moment when I didn't want to play Sally with all my heart.

How did it feel the first time you slipped on Sally's lingerie?
ES: Pretty great. You gotta love a velvet corset.

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