Nora Dominick ‘17/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
The famous Studio 54 has been transformed into the infamous Kit Kat Klub as Alan Cumming saunters and struts his way across the stage. The Roundabout Theatre Company’s latest revival of Cabaret brings this insightful, humorous, and dramatic tale to a new generation.
Cabaret tells the story of American writer Clifford Bradshaw (Bill Heck) who arrives in Berlin in 1929. He takes a room in a boarding house operated by Fräulein Schneider (Linda Emond), and the house consists of an eclectic group of tenants including Jewish fruit vendor Herr Schultz (Danny Burstein) and Fräulein Kost (Gayle Rankin), a prostitute who sees a different sailor each night. Bradshaw soon discovers the infamous night spot, The Kit Kat Klub. Presiding over the cabaret acts is the mischievous Emcee (Alan Cumming), and while lurking backstage, Bradshaw becomes friends with (and then to his surprise, roommates) with Sally Bowles (Michelle Williams), an English performer at the Klub. Together, they indulge in the nightlife of Berlin while they can. Within the next four years, the Great Depression and the extremist ideology of the Nazi Party begin to take hold and rock all the characters’ worlds, including The Kit Kat Klub.
This 2014 revival brings back the critically-acclaimed 1998 revival of Cabaret to Studio 54. For this latest revival, Sam Mendes and Robert Marshall reprised their respective roles as director and co-director/ choreographer to recreate their award-winning work from the 1998 production. The scenic design is also extraordinary. Mimicking the 1998 production, the orchestra has been placed up on stage for the entire audience to see. The orchestra seating has been replaced with cabaret style tables and chairs, making The Kit Kat Klub envelop the audience.
At the attended production, Michelle Williams did not perform. However, her understudy, Andrea Goss gave a stunning performance. Goss rocked the Studio 54 stage with the famous numbers “Maybe This Time” and “Cabaret.” Going on for a highly anticipated performer like Williams must not be easy however, Goss didn’t let that phase her. She dominated the stage and gave an incredible performance as the emotional and vulnerable Sally Bowles. Williams may have been missed by some audience members, but by the end of the night Goss created a stunning performance and moved the audience to a standing ovation for the penultimate number “Cabaret.”
Alan Cumming reignites his love for the Emcee in this revival. Cumming further proves why he won the 1998 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of the Emcee. He completely embodies the role of the Emcee as he saunters around the stage. You can’t help but take your eyes off of Cumming in every scene. Along with Cumming, Danny Burstein’s portrayal of Herr Schultz and Linda Emond’s portrayal of Fräulein Schneider are extraordinary. Emond plays a perfect foil to Burstein’s optimistic character, and both of them provide the only bright spot to the plot line when they sing a song about pineapples. Emond and Burstein are two of the main highlights of the revival.
Cabaret wouldn’t be known for being sexy and intriguing without the incredible ensemble. The Kit Kat Klub men and women carry the more subtle moments of the show. They interact with the audience during the opening and intermission, further allowing the audience to become part of the Klub. Most of the ensemble also doubles as the orchestra, which is incredible.
Cabaret is currently playing at Studio 54 in NYC until January 5, 2015. Hurry and get your tickets to the hottest, sexiest and most intriguing show in town.