Cabaret Resumes B'way Performances Aug. 20

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
and Robert Viagas and David Lefkowitz
20 Aug 1998

New cast members: Jennifer Jason Leigh as Sally Bowles (right); Blair Brown as Frau Schneider (right)
New cast members: Jennifer Jason Leigh as Sally Bowles (right); Blair Brown as Frau Schneider (right)

After nearly a month of cancellations owing to a collapse at an adjacent construction site, the Broadway revival of Cabaret will resume performances Thursday, Aug. 20, according to production spokesperson Erin Dunn.

After nearly a month of cancellations owing to a collapse at an adjacent construction site, the Broadway revival of Cabaret will resume performances Thursday, Aug. 20, according to production spokesperson Erin Dunn.

The show will have 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, Dunn said.

The show will reopen 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.

The hit musical has 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.



Douglas Durst of the Durst Organization, the owner of the Nast tower, told Playbill On-Line (Aug. 17) that walkways are in place on the south side of the street and the north side near the Woodstock hotel. The hotel was damaged by a piece of scaffolding which pierced its roof and killed an elderly resident.

If the Roundabout is able to reclaim the Kit Kat on Thursday as scheduled, that would seem to end, for now, the theatre's plans to move the show elsewhere. 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 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 only move 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.

The Roundabout is taking the long view on the current crisis. The theatre is now offering theatregoers who bought tickets for the temporarily shuttered show directly from the Roundabout or through a subscription a chance to reschedule for a show between April 27 and May 9, 1999. Ticketholders may also obtain a refund if they wish. The number to call is (212) 869-8400.

The problem with seeing Cabaret in April or May, however, is that Alan Cumming, who won a Tony for his portrayal as the M.C., is leaving in March. According to Dunn, those who wish to catch his performance before he goes can get a refund and then try to buy tickets for an earlier performance, though they can't be sure of securing seats as good as the ones they originally had.

Ten members of the Cabaret staff were allowed July 30 to enter the Kit Kat Klub. They retrieved costumes and musical instruments so rehearsals of the ill-fated musical could resume at the Roundabout's rehearsal hall on 45th Street, according to Bryan-Brown.

"I think it's just going to be a waiting game," Bryan-Brown said. Witnesses reported sets being removed too, but Bryan-Brown said they were in error.. Cabaret had played 141 Broadway performances before the disaster.

In other Roundabout news, Variety reported Aug. 14 that the Roundabout may be cutting back on the budget of the upcoming musical Little Me starring Martin Short and Faith Prince. Variety quoted a source who said the show lacked $150,000 in funding. The source pointed out, however, that the shortfall had nothing to do with the costs connected to the temporary closure of Cabaret.