The production was the New York import of one created by Mendes at London's famed Donmar Warehouse. For the Roundabout mounting, Marshall was brought in to assist Mendes with the staging. The show has become the biggest hit in Roundabout history.
The musical won the 1998 Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Musical, Best Actress in a Musical (Richardson), Best Actor in a Musical (Alan Cumming) and Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Ron Rifkin). It was nominated for six other awards. Cabaret effectively launched Cumming's career as a Broadway star and quirky film presence. Also in the original cast were John Benjamin Hickey as Cliff, Denis O'Hare as Ernst, Michele Pawk as Fraulein Kost and Mary Louise Wilson as Fraulein Schneider.
Since Richardson's and Cumming's departures, the Sally Bowles and Emcees have been numerous. The show currently features Melina Kanakaredes as Sally and Jon Secada as the Emcee. Kanakaredes follows a long line of varied actresses into the role of Sally Bowles, including Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary McCormack, Susan Egan, Joely Fisher, Lea Thompson, Katie Finneran, Gina Gershon, Kate Shindle, Brooke Shields, Jane Leeves, Molly Ringwald and Deborah Gibson.
Secada's predecessors include Michael Hall, Matt McGrath, Raul Esparza, John Stamos and Neil Patrick Harris. Other Fraulein Schneiders have included Blair Brown, Polly Bergen, Mariette Hartley and Carole Shelley. Among the Schultzes have been Tom Bosley, Hal Linden, Dick Latessa, Larry Keith and Laurence Luckinbill. Cliffs have included Michael Hayden, Rick Holmes, Matthew Greer and Boyd Gaines. Michael Moran, Michael Stuhlbarg and Peter Benson have played Ernst.
For tickets to Cabaret at Studio 54, 254 West 54 Street, call (212) 239-6200 or click here.
The Roundabout Theatre Company recently closed a deal on the purchase of current Cabaret home Studio 54. The acquisition gives the company a second permanent Broadway space, in addition to the American Airlines Theatre.
The nearly $25 million deal was completed on July 22 with the sale of over $17 million in bonds added to a $6.75 million grant from New York City.
Cabaret moved from the Henry Miller Theatre to Studio 54 in 1998, after a construction accident closed down the former location for several weeks. Ironically, at the time it briefly appeared that the hit musical would never recover from the incident and close for good. But a citywide search for a new home led to the then disused disco. A renovation took place and Cabaret reopened for what became a long Broadway life.
The Henry Miller Theatre was itself rescued and renovated to service the show—Mendes had demanded a space that could dually function as a replica of an actual German cabaret house, as well as seat enough people comfortably to allow for a commercial profit. Therefore, the revival of Cabaret effectively led to the resurrection of two spaces which now permanently serve as Broadway theatres.
Mendes vision was notably darker and saucier than previous Cabarets. Cumming's Emcee, in particular, was a sexier, more flagrantly decadent creation than Joel Grey's cool, sinister original. Richardson's Sally, meanwhile, appeared more desperate than usual, and, to a certain extent, was intentionally presented as an untalented singer. (Her "Cabaret" number was not fashioned as a showstopper, but as a dramatic cry for help.) The show's grim finale, which boldy hinted at the horrors of World War II which would follow the demise of the rowdy Weimar Republic, left audiences silent and shocked.
Mendes' conception dispensed with some songs found in the original production of Cabaret (e.g. "Meeskite") and interpolated other Kander and Ebb songs written for the movie version of the musical ("Money, Money," "Mein Herr"). In another musical change, Mendes cast Kit Kat Klub girls who could not only sing and dance, but also play instuments—making for some creative casting calls.
The closing is not completely unexpected. Roundabout head Todd Haimes said in August 2002 that Cabaret would play one more year at Studio 54 and then close to make way for a new revival of Sondheim's Assassins, with Joe Mantello directing.
As for Cabaret's final days, a return of stars Richardson and Cumming is not out of the question. Richardson said at the 2001 Tony Awards that she was in talks to recreate the role of Sally Bowles when it came time for the production to end.