"Life is a Cabaret, New Chum!" Alan Cumming and Michelle Williams Become Fast Friends in Broadway's Cabaret

By Michael Gioia
24 Apr 2014

Michelle Williams
Photo by Joan Marcus

"I had just moved here," Cumming recalled, "and I had never worked here before, and this thing happened."

Williams interjected a bit surprised: "This was your first time working here?"

Following his Tony win in 1998, Cumming split time between screen and stage, most recently seen on television in "The Good Wife" (playing Eli Gold and receiving two Emmy nominations), and on Broadway in Macbeth (starring as the title role in his nearly one-man, high-octane, insane-asylum inspired adaptation). Now, he's back to the Berlin nightclub, introducing Williams — whom he met a few years back — as this year's "Toast of Mayfair."



"We met at a party," explained Williams.

"Yes, a party for your film — the one about the girl going across the country…"

"Oh, yeah! It was 'Meek's Cutoff,'" Williams remembered as she took a bite of celery.

"You looked scruffy, I remember," Cumming joked. "I probably was, too... Yeah, we just had a lovely chat."

Williams is far from scruffy in Cabaret, having just touched up her hair. ("It looks great, and did you get it cut a wee bit, too?" Cumming asked. "I like it.") The actress was ready — and anxious — to get her Sally Bowles in front of an audience.

"When it was brought up, I immediately responded in a way that is rare," Williams said about the role. "It excited me to the point where I was actually working on something else, but really, in my head, I couldn't put Sally down. 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. It wasn't a conscientious move about doing Broadway. I just followed the joy, and it landed me here... I never waivered from it. I wanted to do it immediately."

 Continued...