Raul Esparza had planned to spend this fall as one of the stars of the Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim's Assassins. The Roundabout Theatre Company production was suddenly canceled, however, in the wake of the World Trade Center catastrophe, leaving Esparza — who had already planned his exit from Off-Broadway's tick, tick...Boom! — without an autumn job.
Well, the Rocky Horror Show alum didn't remain out of work for long, and it is the Roundabout who saved him from the unemployment line. Esparza has been tapped as the new Emcee in the long-running Broadway revival of Cabaret. He will begin his stay on Oct. 26, replacing Matt McGrath, who has been with the Kander and Ebb musical for a year. McGrath's last performance is Oct. 13. Filling in until Esparza arrives is Vance Avery.
Brooke Shields remains as Sally Bowles until Oct. 28, meaning that Shields and Esparza will play a few performances together. No replacement for Shields has been announced.
Shields begins her stay in the Broadway revival of Cabaret July 6, taking over the role of Sally Bowles from former Miss America Kate Shindle in the Roundabout Theatre Company musical at Studio 54. Brooke Shields' theatre roles, like her film assignments, have often been on the racy side, in direct contrast to her demure public persona. She played the tough-talking Rizzo in the Fran and Barry Weissler Broadway production of Grease! and, more recently, starred in the Off Broadway hit, The Vagina Monologues. Her film roles include "The Blue Lagoon," "Endless Love" and "Black and White." Her sitcom, "Suddenly Susan," was recently discontinued.
Now the fifth longest-running revival on Broadway, Roundabout's Cabaret had surpassed the number of performances logged by the original stage version. Now playing at Studio 54, the revival of Cabaret passed the 1,165 mark set by the original with its 1,166th show on Feb. 6.
Roundabout's revival opened March 19, 1998, and on to win four Tony Awards (including Best Musical Revival). Despite a construction accident that interrupted the run and forced a move from Henry Miller's Theatre to Studio 54, the show has prevailed. The role of Sally Bowles has been played by Natasha Richardson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary McCormack, Susan Egan, Lea Thompson, Joely Fisher and Katie Finneran. The emcee has been played by Alan Cumming, Robert Sella, Michael Hall and Matt McGrath.
Tickets range from $45 - $90. Tickets are on sale at the Studio 54 box office at 254 W. 54 St. and through TeleCharge at (212) 239-6200.