"Welcome to Berlin!": Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall's Cabaret Opens April 24 on Broadway

By Michael Gioia
24 Apr 2014

Michelle Williams
Michelle Williams
Photo by Joan Marcus

Alan Cumming, who won a Tony Award for his portrayal of the sexy and seductive Emcee in Cabaret, returns to the Kit Kat Klub in Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall's Tony-winning production of that musical, which officially opens April 24 at Studio 54. 

On returning to Cabaret, Cumming told Playbill.com, "It was a variety of reasons, but mostly, I just felt, 'Why not?' I like it, it's fun and, really, it just felt right.' It felt like a long enough time had passed, and I think it's also good to do something that you know has something to say and is good… It really is another generation of people who are going to be seeing it this time… and I wanted to do something that would challenge me physically as well as mentally." 

Oscar nominee Michelle Williams ("My Week with Marilyn," "Blue Valentine," "Brokeback Mountain") makes her Broadway debut as nightclub singer Sally Bowles in the Roundabout Theatre Company production, which began March 21 for a 24-week limited engagement. 

"In my head, I couldn't put Sally down," Williams admitted in a recent Playbill magazine interview. "It was in the shower with me, it was in the car with me… Something about it really had its hooks in me from the get-go, and thinking about it, and working on it, and thinking about the songs and playing with them gave me joy. That's what I followed."



Read the Playbill magazine feature with Cumming and Williams, who talk about the show from backstage at Studio 54

Cumming and Williams are joined by two-time Tony nominee Linda Emond (Death of a Salesman, Life x 3) as Fraulein Schneider, four-time Tony nominee Danny Burstein (Golden Boy, Follies, South Pacific, The Drowsy Chaperone) as Herr Schultz, Drama Desk Award nominee Bill Heck (Orphan's Home Cycle, Angels in America, The Merchant of Venice) as Cliff, Aaron Krohn (Macbeth, The Farnsworth Invention, The Coast of Utopia, Julius Caesar, Henry IV, The Invention of Love) as Ernst and Gayle Rankin (The Illusion, Tribes) as Fraulein Kost.

Academy Award winner Mendes (director) and Academy Award nominee Marshall (co-director/choreographer), who were Tony-nominated for their work on the 1998 production, return to recreate their direction and choreography from the 1998 Tony Award-winning production. Once again, they convert Studio 54 into the gritty Kit Kat Klub, with cabaret-type seating as well as traditional theatre seating, to recreate the environment of the notorious pre-war Berlin nightclub.

Rounding out the cast as the Kit Kat Klub Boys and Girls are Will Carlyon, Kaleigh Cronin, Caleb Damschroder, Benjamin Eakeley, Andrea Goss, Leeds Hill, Kristin Olness, Kelly Paredes, Jessica Pariseau, Dylan Paul, Jane Pfitsch, Evan Siegel and Stacey Sipowicz.

"When we came to auditions [for the 2014 revival], it was fascinating," Mendes told Playbill.com of the Kit Kat Klub Boys and Girls, who are actor-musicians and also function as the show's orchestra. "You came to audition for this 'revival of a revival' — as it were — [and] the standard of playing is astonishing because of all the John Doyle [actor-musician] productions alone… It's been wonderful to see how things have moved on, and now what's expected of performers on Broadway is not only do they [have to] sing and dance brilliantly, but they also have to be multi-instrumentalists on top of all that, and they have to act! It's been a pleasure."

Click here to read the PLAYBILL.COM EXCLUSIVE with director Mendes, who talks about why Cabaret has returned to Broadway, the show's journey, exposing the musical to a new generation and more

Cabaret features a book by Joe Masteroff, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. It is based on the play by John Van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood.

The original design team also returns for the 2014 production, including set and club design by Robert Brill, costume design by William Ivey Long, lighting design by Peggy Eisenhauer and Mike Baldassari and sound design by Brian Ronan. Patrick Vaccariello is the musical director.

Roundabout's production of Cabaret opened on Broadway March 19, 1998, starring Cumming and Natasha Richardson and won four Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical and Best Actor and Best Actress in a Musical. The production played for six years through Jan. 4, 2004. Cabaret premiered on Broadway in 1966 and won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

Click here to read a history of Cabaret's journey to the stage

Studio 54 is located at 254 West 54th Street. Tickets can be purchased online at RoundaboutTheatre.org, by phone at (212) 719-1300 and at Roundabout's American Airlines Theatre box office (227 West 42nd Street) or Laura Pels Theatre Box office (111 West 46th Street).