The New York Post is reporting (Sept. 11) that the move of Broadway's smash revival of Cabaret to the old Studio 54 dance club space is essentially a fait accompli. Unnamed sources from Pace Theatrical Group, the Roundabout and Studio 54 apparently told the Post the move could happen as early as November.
Douglas Durst, president of the Durst Organization (which owns Cabaret's current venue, The Kit Kat Klub (aka the Henry Miller Theatre)) told the Post he'd be sorry to see the show move, "but Cabaret's lease is up later this year, so it's good economic sense for them to move to a larger venue at that time."
Durst told Playbill On-Line (Sept. 11) he'd heard no official word of Cabaret making the move, though he confirmed anew that the show was still seeking a larger venue. Assuming the show does move, Durst -- also a Roundabout board member -- hopes "to work with Roundabout on other shows" to bring into the West 43rd Street space. "For the moment, though," Durst said, "it's status quo."
Roundabout spokesperson Erin Dunn (of Boneau/Bryan-Brown) confirmed that discussions have been underway for several weeks. "But it all depends on whether the Roundabout can work out something economically viable," Dunn said. To her knowledge, no other theatre spaces are currently under consideration for a Cabaret move.
A Studio 54 spokesperson told Playbill On-Line (Sept. 11), "It looks fairly good, but you know how these things go. Nothing's been signed. Oddly enough, the idea of moving the show to Studio 54 hit the rumor mill a lot earlier than we'd even begun thinking about negotiations." A quick move for the John Kander & Fred Ebb musical would be especially ironic, considering how long the Roundabout had to wait to get back into the Kit Kat Klub a few weeks ago. The show suffered nearly a month of cancellations owing to a collapse at an adjacent construction site. Performances resumed Aug. 20. According to production spokesperson Dunn, the show missed 35 performances, including the final shows of original stars Natasha Richardson and Mary Louise Wilson, at a cost of $1.5 million in lost revenue.
The show reopened with new cast members Jennifer Jason Leigh and Blair Brown, appearing alongside Alan Cumming, Ron Rifkin and John Benjamin Hickey. Tickets are on sale through June 1999 at (212) 239-6200. A rumor that Paul "Pee Wee Herman" Reubens was being tapped to replace Cumming in April 1999, was denied by the Boneau/Bryan-Brown office. New stars Leigh and Brown are expected to be with the show through the end of the year. While Tony-winner Rifkin has no immediate plans to leave Cabaret, contractually he can do so with two weeks notice.
The hit musical had been out of commission since a July 21 construction accident at the half-erected Conde Nast building paralyzed much of Times Square -- including the block of 43rd Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues where the Kit Kat (Cabaret's home) sits. West 43rd Street was reopened to traffic Aug. 18 and the Cabaret actors returned to their theatre the morning of Aug. 19 for rehearsals.
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 (who recently became the artistic director of Livent as well) 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 move only 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.