Roundabout May Revive Its Cabaret Revival

By Andrew Gans
and Ernio Hernandez
02 May 2007

Alan Cumming in Cabaret.
Alan Cumming in Cabaret.

The Roundabout Theatre Company may revive its 1998 Tony-winning revival of John Kander and Fred Ebb's Cabaret at Studio 54.

The New York Post reports that the nonprofit theatre company will likely present the Sam Mendes-Rob Marshall production following its upcoming staging of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Sunday in the Park with George at Studio 54. Sunday, which recently won five Olivier Awards, will begin its New York run Jan. 18, 2008, with an official opening Feb. 14. Sam Buntrock will direct.

The New York daily also says that Alan Cumming, who won a Tony Award for his portrayal of the Emcee, would again star in the Kander and Ebb classic.

A Roundabout spokesperson told the Post, "Cabaret was a huge artistic success. Reviving the show would allow new audiences to see it. And unlike the commercial theatre, if the engagement made a profit, the money would go into other productions (seven-plus new stagings a year) and educational programs."

The original production of Cabaret was a huge money-maker for the Roundabout. Its Studio 54 inhabitants since that time — including Assassins, Pacific Overtures, A Streetcar Named Desire and The Threepenny Opera, among others — have failed to ignite the box office the way Cabaret did. The revival of 110 in the Shade — starring four-time Tony winner Audra McDonald — currently plays the 54th Street venue.



The environmental staging of Cabaret by Sam Mendes (Gypsy, "American Beauty") and Rob Marshall (Little Me, "Chicago") played 37 previews and 2,378 performances by its run's end.

Cabaret opened on Broadway March 19, 1998, at the Kit Kat Club (Henry Miller's Theatre) after previews from Feb. 13. The production then moved Nov. 12 — due to a construction accident on the theatre's block that shut down the Miller — to the former discotheque Studio 54, where it played the remainder of its run.

Adam Pascal (Aida, Rent) and Susan Egan (Beauty and the Beast) ended the show's run in the roles of the Emcee and Sally Bowles — originated to Tony Award-winning success by Cumming and Natasha Richardson. The final cast also included Tony Roberts (as Herr Schultz), Blair Brown (as Fraulein Schneider) with Rick Holmes, Liz McConahay and Martin Moran.

The musical — featuring a book by Joe Masteroff based on the play I Am a Camera by John Van Druten (which was based on "The Berlin Stories" by Christopher Isherwood) — won the 1998 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical as well as Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Ron Rifkin). Kander penned the music and Ebb handled lyrics.

The revival staging — which set audiences in a 1929 Berlin cabaret where the actors at times played among them — was designed by Robert Brill (set and club), William Ivey Long (costume), Peggy Eisenhauer and Mike Baldassari (lighting) and Brian Ronan (sound). Scott Pask served as associate scenic designer, Randy Mercer handled hair and Paul Huntley designed wigs.