Cabaret Revival Confirms Opening at Lyric, 10 OctDate: 13 June 2006
Bill Kenwright’s long-anticipated revival of Cabaret is now confirmed to open, as previously reported (See News, 26 May 2006), on 10 October 2006 (previews from 22 September) at the West End’s Lyric Theatre, where it’s initially booking until 7 April 2007.
Cabaret turns Weimar Berlin of 1931 into a dark and sexually charged haven of decadence, its extraordinary and morally ambiguous inhabitants determined to keep up appearances as the real world - outside the comfortable sanctuary of the cabaret - prepares for the nightmarish chaos of war. At its heart is the legendary Sally Bowles, who nightly performs at the infamous Kit Kat Klub. Based on the stories of Christopher Isherwood and the play by John Van Druten, it has a book by Joe Masteroff, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb.
Cabaret premiered on Broadway on 1966 and in 1972 was made into an Oscar-winning film starring Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles, Michael York and Joel Grey as the Emcee. The stage musical was famously revived by Sam Mendes at London’s Donmar Warehouse in 1993. That production later transferred to Broadway, where it ran from 1998 to 2004 and won a host of awards, including Tonys for Best Musical Revival, Best Actor in a Musical for Scotsman Alan Cumming, playing the Emcee, and Best Actress in a Musical for Natasha Richardson as Sally.
The new West End production is directed by Rufus Norris, who won both the Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Director for Festen. Norris’ other credits include Tintin, Blood Wedding, Sleeping Beauty, Peribanez, Afore Night Comes and, just opened this month at the National, the world premiere of Market Boy, which reunites him with Festen playwright David Eldridge.
Cabaret is designed by Katrina Lindsay, who has also designed Market Boy, part of the National Theatre’s Travelex £10 Season in the NT Olivier, as well as Norris’ productions of Sleeping Beauty (Young Vic/Barbican) and Blood Wedding (Almeida). The musical is choreographed by the internationally acclaimed dance world choreographer Javier De Frutos, who has created pieces for the Rambert Dance Company, Royal New Zealand Ballet and his own Javier De Frutos Dance Company. His musical theatre credits include this summer’s Chichester Festival Theatre production of Carousel.
No casting has yet been confirmed for Cabaret, although names previously rumoured in connection with the role of Sally Bowles have included Denise Van Outen and, more recently, Martine McCutcheon (See The Goss, 19 May 2006). Currently at the Lyric, for 37 performances only from 14 June to 15 July 2006, is the stage version of BBC Two’s hit TV show Grumpy Old Women, starring Jenny Eclair, Dillie Keane and Linda Robson (See News, 24 May 2006).
Cabaret goes head-to-head with this autumn’s two big Broadway musical imports, opening smack dab between Wicked’s West End premiere at the Apollo Victoria on 27 September (previews from 7 September) and Spamalot’s at the Palace Theatre on 16 October (2 October). Further ahead, the West End will see yet more big musical openings, including the Australian import of screen-to-stager Dirty Dancing and the revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music, joining summer arrivals of Evita, Avenue Q and others.
- by Terri Paddock