Meet the Prologue Company of Broadway's Cabaret | Playbill

Broadway News Meet the Prologue Company of Broadway's Cabaret

This group of dancers and musicians will welcome audiences to Berlin's Kit Kat Club (by way of Broadway's August Wilson Theatre).

Ida Saki, Francesca Dawis, Deja McNair, Bryan Longchamp, Brian Russell Carey, Alaïa, Maeve Stier, Keiji Ishiguri, Will Ervin Jr., Sun Kim, Spencer James Weidie, and Michael Winograd in the Prologue Company of Cabaret on Broadway

Broadway's upcoming revival of John Kander, Fred Ebb, and Joe Masteroff's Cabaret has revealed its Prologue Company, a group of 12 dancers and musicians who will welcome theatregoers to Berlin's seedy Kit Kat Club by way of Broadway's August Wilson Theatre. The group will perform for approximately 75 minutes prior to curtain time, with guests invited to arrive early and catch the show before the show.

Performances will begin April 1. Opening night has two parts, with a gala celebration set for April 20, and an official opening (including those all-important reviews) April 21.

The Broadway prologue company will include dancers Alaïa, Will Ervin Jr., Sun Kim, Bryan Longchamp, and Deja McNair. The musicians include Brian Russell Carey on piano and bass, Francesca Dawis on violin, Maeve Stier on accordion, and Michael Winograd on clarinet. Rounding out the company are dancer swings Ida Saki and Spencer James Weidie, and dedicated substitute musician Keiji Ishiguri.

“We wanted to subvert an audience's idea of what it is to go to a Broadway musical and create a club space that's surprising, arresting, and alive from the moment you enter," says Rebecca Frecknall, director of the revival, in a statement. "Our Prologue Company will bring the Kit Kat Club to life long before the opening drumroll of ‘Wilkommen,’ drawing the audience into the world of Cabaret. They build a bridge between now and then and invite the audience to relax, loosen up, and be themselves.”

“Our Prologue Company thrillingly introduces you to the world of Cabaret, ushering in the production itself with extraordinary artistic flair as they weave amongst you across the Kit Kat Club," adds production designer Tom Scutt. "They are the spirits of the building come alive through movement and music. There is no better way to begin a party than with the Prologue.”

Jordan Fein, associate director for the revival, is serving as prologue director. Angus MacRae is the group's music director, and has also composed original music for the performances.

“In creating the Prologue, we wanted to build a bridge between now and Weimar Berlin; a time when dance and music were being redefined and a time when artists were attempting to make sense of a world spinning out of control," shares Fein in press notes. "Upon entering the Kit Kat Club, audiences will be immersed in Angus MacRae’s original score that combines Klezmer influences with contemporary electronic sounds and Julia Cheng’s choreography that explores the last century of movement and dance. I’m thrilled to be making this new version of the Prologue with this brilliant creative team and inspiring troupe of dancers and musicians at the August Wilson Theatre.”

“The Prologue has always been about what theatre can represent," adds Cheng. "Allowing artists and their spirit to play, have fun, and have direct alchemy with the space. The Prologue comes from a place of empowerment and celebrating differences: artistic expression, gender, body shape, race, and ethnicity. It is ‘anti-status quo.’ I look forward to working with these dancers as they bring their diverse experience from the worlds of street dance, popping, hip hop, krumping, physical theatre, contemporary dance, and more.”

As in the production's West End run, the theatre will be transformed into an in-the-round Kit Kat Club. Ticket holders will receive a "club entry time" before their show date so that everyone's able to take in the pre-show, which can even include a full dinner at some ticket levels.

As for the primary performance, the company will be led by Oscar, Tony, and Olivier winner Eddie Redmayne, reprising his London performance as The Emcee; Gayle Rankin (Glow) as Sally Bowles; Ato Blankson-Wood (Slave Play) as Cliff; Bebe Neuwirth as Fraulein Schneider; Steven Skybell as Herr Schultz; Natascia Diaz as Fraulein Kost and Fritzie; and Henry Gottfried (Waitress) as Ernst Ludwig. 

The cast also includes Marty Lauter (AKA Marcia Marcia Marcia of RuPaul's Drag Race season 15) as Victor, Gabi Campo as Frenchie, Ayla Ciccone-Burton as Helga, Colin Cunliffe as Hans, Loren Lester as Herman/Max, David Merino as Lulu, Julian Ramos as Bobby, MiMi Scardulla as Texas, and Paige Smallwood as Rosie. Swings include Hannah Florence, Pedro Garza, Christian Kidd, Corinne Munsch, Chloé Nadon-Enriquez, and Karl Skyler Urban.

READ: Eddie Redmayne On How His Emcee in Cabaret Is a Shape Shifter

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."

READ: 50 Years of Cabaret: The Surprisingly Transformative Journey of a Classic

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.

The Broadway transfer is being produced by Ambassador Theatre Group Productions, Underbelly, Gavin Kalin Productions, Hunter Arnold, Smith & Brant Theatricals, and Wessex Grove.


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