As is my wont when we go to New York Paul and I took in a Broadway show while we were up there for Thanksgiving. For this trip I settled on seeing the newest revival of Cabaret. I saw Cabaret in its last run on Broadway during its 1998 revival. Though I actually saw it almost at the end of its over five year run in July of 2003. Alan Cumming had long since left his role as the Emcee, so when it was announced he was reprising his role I was excited for the chance to actually see him in it. However, I didn’t really care about seeing Michelle Williams play Sally Bowles. I don’t know why or what, but there’s something about her that’s always bothered me ever since her days back in Dawson’s Creek. Given that, having already seen the show on Broadway before, and the fact that there are always so many other shows I want to see in the few times I make it to New York per year, I didn’t actually have this show anywhere near the top of my list despite my desire to see Alan Cumming.
That is until they announced that Emma Stone was going to be taking over the role of Sally Bowles in mid-November at which point Cabaret jumped to the very top of my list. Unlike Michelle Williams, I have always really liked Emma Stone and I was curious to see how she would do in Broadway debut. She’s obviously a great actress in film, but that doesn’t always translate to the stage, especially when singing is involved. I was now very excited to see this show again, and I figured it would be much more memorable than the last time I saw it.
Other than Tom Bosley playing Herr Schultz I couldn’t even remember who starred in it when I saw it back in 2003. I looked it up out of curiosity. I can now understand why I probably didn’t find the performances very memorable, but I feel like the presence of this guy as the Emcee should have made an impression just for the ridiculousness of it.
Yep, apparently I saw Jon Secada play the Emcee and Melina Kanakaredes as Sally Bowles. I never watched her in anything else, but I spent many years as a child watching her on the soap opera Guiding Light, so I’m surprised I didn’t remember that either. I assume Playbill.com isn’t lying to me though and I just blocked all of this out as a horrible memory.
Happily, I shall have much better memories of this production. Alan Cumming as expected was phenomenal as the Emcee. I have no idea how long he intends to do this run, but if you get a chance he’s worth seeing no matter who else is in the cast. I’m really happy I didn’t miss out on seeing him.
Emma Stone acquitted herself well as Sally Bowles as well. Her acting as usual was great. I definitely got pulled into the character and didn’t spend the whole show thinking about it being Emma Stone. She doesn’t have the greatest vocal range, but for someone who isn’t a trained singer, I think Sally Bowles is almost a perfect leading role in a musical. She actually doesn’t have a ton of songs in the show, and many of them are sung by Sally in performances in the cabaret, so it makes sense for her to not be the strongest singer in the world. The only time her vocal weaknesses really stood out to me were when she sang “Maybe This Time” because that is a favorite among veteran Broadway actresses to sing in concerts and on albums. I’ve heard it sung a million times by Broadway actresses and Emma Stone definitely paled in comparison. Don’t get me wrong. Her singing isn’t awful. She definitely holds her own for the most part, but her strength in this part definitely comes from her acting and not her singing.
Cabaret is a great show and this is an excellent production of it. If you get the chance I would definitely recommend seeing it. I’m really glad I got the chance to go.