See How Cabaret Renovated the August Wilson Theatre | Playbill

Broadway News See How Cabaret Renovated the August Wilson Theatre

The new Broadway show promises an immersive Kit Kat Club, which meant turning the proscenium into an in-the-round space.

Eddie Redmayne and company of Cabaret Marc Brenner

The Broadway revival of Cabaret stars Eddie Redmayne and Gayle Rankin but, arguably, the biggest headliner in the show is its venue, the August Wilson Theatre. To accommodate the new immersive production of the John Kander-Fred Ebb-Joe Masteroff musical, the entire theatre was renovated. This included turning the proscenium house into an in-the-round performance space. 

Club, set, and costume designer Tom Scutt oversaw the redesign, which extended from the house to the lobby. The audience enters Cabaret not through the lobby, but down an alleyway down the side of the theatre, at the end of which there is a neon green sign that points them to the Kit Kat Club, one of the main settings in Cabaret

Eddie Redmayne Mason Poole

Audiences then enter the theatre through a side door, where they're given a shot of cherry schnapps. When they enter the former lobby of the Wilson, it contains a stage where the Prologue company (a group of 12 performers) performs before the show, playing instruments and dancing throughout the space. There's also a special "Pineapple Room," where guests can have a full dinner before the show. The "Prologue" begins approximately 75 minutes prior to curtain time.

Playbill couldn't secure a photo of the lobby area or the "Pineapple Room" (you'll get the name if you know the musical). But we were able to procure a photo of the theatre, where you can see seats all around the stage. This is the view from the mezzanine of the Wilson, looking out onto a newly built in-the-round stage. There are seats located in what was traditionally the on-stage space, as well as a new mezzanine section. The stage is actually a turntable with a lift in the center. The orchestra is seated on stage right in the newly built mezzanine section.

Cabaret is capitalized at $26 million, most of which was used to renovate the Wilson. Get a full look at the theatre below.

Interior of The Kit Kat Club at The August Wilson Theatre Emily Andrews

Directed by Rebecca Frecknall, this immersive staging comes to New York from London's West End, where it won seven 2022 Olivier Awards, including Best Musical Revival.

The Broadway cast is led by Oscar, Tony, and Olivier winner Eddie Redmayne, reprising his London performance as The Emcee; Gayle Rankin as Sally Bowles; Ato Blankson-Wood as Cliff; Bebe Neuwirth as Fraulein Schneider; Steven Skybell as Herr Schultz; Natascia Diaz as Fraulein Kost and Fritzie; and Henry Gottfried as Ernst Ludwig.

Video: Bebe Neuwirth Walks Down Memory Lane

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, Chloé Nadon-Enriquez, Corinne Munsch, and Karl Skyler Urban.

The Broadway prologue company comprises dancers Alaïa, Iron Bryan, Will Ervin Jr., Sun Kim, 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.

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.

Much of the production's creative team is reprising their work for the Broadway bow, including choreographer Julia Cheng; 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 are by Sam Cox, and Guy Common is handling makeup design. Prologue composition and music direction are by Angus MacRae, with Jordan Fein serving as prologue director. Casting is by Bernard Telsey and Kristian Charbonier, and Thomas Recktenwald serves as production stage manager.

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


Photos: Eddie Redmayne, Gayle Rankin, More in Cabaret on Broadway

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