Bebe Neuwirth and Steven Skybell have joined the cast of the upcoming Broadway revival of John Kander, Fred Ebb, and Joe Masteroff's Cabaret. Tony and Emmy winner Neuwirth and Obie winner Skybell will play Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz, respectively.
The revival, which was first presented on the West End, will play the August Wilson Theatre. Performances will begin April 1, 2024. Opening night has two parts, with a gala celebration set for April 20, and the embargo on reviews lifting April 21.
As previously reported, Oscar, Tony, and Olivier winner Eddie Redmayne will reprise his London performance as The Emcee on Broadway. Gayle Rankin (Glow) will star as Sally Bowles, and Tony nominee Ato Blankson-Wood (Slave Play) will play Cliff. Additional casting is to be announced.
Neuwirth has worked with Kander and Ebb for decades. Her performance as the first Velma Kelly in the still-running Broadway revival of Chicago earned Neuwirth a second Tony (the first she received for Sweet Charity). Neuwirth went on to star as Roxie Hart and Matron "Mama" Morton in subsequent runs in the show, making her the only actor (so far) to play all three roles. Neuwirth's multitude of stage credits also includes a West End run as Aurora in Kander and Ebb's Kiss of the Spider Woman.
"I'm completely thrilled to be a part of this beautiful production, and to help tell this fascinating tale through the sublime score of John Kander and Fred Ebb," Neuwirth said in a statement.
Skybell starred as Tevye in the Joel Grey-helmed Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish Off-Broadway, for which he received a 2019 Lucille Lortel Award. Skybell's additional Broadway credits include Pal Joey, Wicked, and The Full Monty.
“In these times of increased antisemitism, I am proud and privileged to play the Jewish role of Herr Schultz in Cabaret," says Skybell. "It’s important to tell stories like Cabaret, which is, of course, massively entertaining, but also sheds a light on this moment in history, when fascism and intolerance nearly overcame the Jewish people and the world at large.”
As in the production's West End run, the theatre will be transformed into an in-the-round Kit Kat Club, with ticket holders invited to arrive at a designated time before curtain to take in pre-show entertainment, drinks, and dining.
Directed by Rebecca Frecknall and choreographed by Julia Cheng, the production opened at London's Playhouse Theatre, newly re-christened The Kit Kat Club for the revival, in 2021 with Redmayne and Jessie Buckley starring. The revival went on to win seven 2022 Olivier Awards, the most of any production that season, including Best Musical Revival, and Best Actor and Actress in a Musical for Redmayne and Buckley.
Based on Christopher Isherwood's Goodbye to Berlin and John Van Druten's dramatization of it, I Am a Camera, Cabaret is set in Weimar-era Berlin as American writer Clifford Bradshaw arrives to work on his novel and soak up the debaucherous nightlife. He meets English cabaret performer Sally Bowles and a complex relationship develops, all as the Nazis ascend to power and the spectre of World War II and all its horrors loom on the horizon.
The upcoming revival will be the musical's first new staging on the Main Stem since the 1998 revival, which was also a London transfer. That 1998 production was revived in 2014. Revivals of previous stagings are not uncommon for Cabaret.
The oft-produced work premiered in 1966 with Harold Prince at the helm and Joel Grey starring (and winning a Tony Award) as The Emcee. The original staging (with some revisions) was brought back to Broadway, with Grey reprising his performance, in a 1987 revival. The 1998 version of Cabaret, a more dramatic revision of the work, starred Alan Cumming as the Emcee—Cumming won the Tony for his performance and came back with the production when it was revived in 2014.
The musical was famously adapted for the big screen by director-choreographer Bob Fosse, with Liza Minnelli starring as Sally Bowles. The film version, considerably darker and seedier than Prince's staging, won eight Academy Awards and is considered by many one of the best films ever made. Revisions to the stage work since the 1972 film have largely transplanted the film's energy into the script—along with some of its new songs, including "Mein Herr" and "Maybe This Time."
Much of the production's creative team will reprise their work for the Broadway bow, including club, set, and costume designer Tom Scutt, lighting designer Isabella Byrd, sound designer Nick Lidster (for Autograph), and music supervisor and director Jennifer Whyte. Hair and wig design will be by Sam Cox, and Guy Common will handle makeup design. Prologue composition and music direction will be by Angus MacRae. Casting is by The Telsey Office, with Thomas Recktenwald serving as production stage manager.