From November 2021, Hollywood stars Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley will welcome audiences to the cabaret, as West End venue the Playhouse Theatre is transformed into the Kit Kat Club. Rebecca Frecknall directs Kander and Ebb’s iconic musical, and competition for tickets will be fierce, so keep checking back: Cabaret tickets will be available on London Theatre soon.
Redmayne leads the company as the provocative Emcee, a role originated by Joel Grey. As well as his big-screen outings in the Fantastic Beasts movies, an Oscar-winning turn in The Danish Girl, and, proving his musical chops, Les Misérables, Redmayne has proven an adept theatre performer in productions like Richard II and Red, the latter netting him Olivier and Tony Awards. However, this is his first — and much-anticipated — professional performance in a stage musical.
He’ll be joined by rising star Jessie Buckley as Sally Bowles. Buckley was most recently seen in the National Theatre’s filmed production of Romeo and Juliet, as well as in films Wild Rose, Judy, and I’m Thinking of Ending Things, and TV series Fargo and Chernobyl. Rebecca Frecknall, whose luminous production of Tennessee Willliams’s Summer and Smoke at the Almeida won an Olivier Award, will direct this Cabaret London run, with Tom Scutt providing set and costume design, and Julia Cheng choreography.
This new Cabaret West End production promises to be a very special audience experience. The Playhouse will be reconfigured to seat viewers in the round, creating more intimacy and immersing us in the action — and limiting capacity to just 550.
It’s an exciting chance to discover, or revisit, Kander and Ebb’s still hugely resonant musical. Based on Christopher Isherwood’s short stories and John Van Druten’s play, John Kander, Fred Ebb and Joe Masteroff’s show is set in early 1930s Berlin, where American writer Cliff Bradshaw meets English cabaret singer Sally Bowles, a performer at the Kit Kat Club. But the rise of Nazism threatens this hedonistic Weimar Republic haven.
The celebrated Cabaret musical opened on Broadway in November 1966, directed by Harold Prince, and has been a hit on both stage and screen, with Bob Fosse’s film version, starring Liza Minnelli, winning eight Oscars. Dame Judi Dench led the original West End version, and, in 1993, Sam Mendes’ Donmar Warehouse production, starring Jane Horrocks and Alan Cumming, was greatly acclaimed. Cumming returned for the 2014 Broadway revival, which starred first Michelle Williams, then Emma Stone, and finally Sienna Miller.
Cabaret’s enduring success is partly down to its indelible score, with songs like “Wilkommen,” “Don’t Tell Mama,” “Meir Herr,” “Money,” and, or course, the great torch song “Maybe This Time.” Tickets for the West End revival of Cabaret will be available on London Theatre soon.