Thursday, June 26, 2014

Cabaret ***

Roundabout’s revival of the revival of this classic musical is mostly successful. The Sam Mendes/Rob Marshall production has lost little of its bite. Alan Cumming’s Emcee is as compelling a presence as ever. Bill Heck makes a fine Clifford Bradshaw. The ever-reliable Danny Burstein is a natural for Herr Schultz. Linda Emond is a revelation as Fraulein Schneider — who knew she had the vocal chops to go with her fine acting? Gayle Rankin and Aaron Krohn do right by the roles of Fraulein Kost and Ernst Ludwig. The talented (and beautiful!) Kit Kat Band once again plays Kander & Ebb's terrific score sensationally and the Kit Kat Girls and Boys are easy on the eyes and light on their feet. And then, alas, there’s Michelle Williams as Sally Bowles. I can’t explain precisely why she fails — her voice is not bad — but the role somehow seems beyond her expressive range. It doesn’t sink the show, but it definitely weakens its impact. Robert Brill’s set successfully turns Studio 54 into the Kit Kat Klub. The audience was wildly enthusiastic. Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes including intermission.

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