Posted April 13, 2015
By BRANDON MICHAELS
NEW YORK – I am not a fan of theater. I am not a fan of art. Ever since I was a baby I would speed through a museum as fast as I could, hoping that would mean that we could leave sooner – I toured the Vatican in 15 minutes.
I’ll never forget when my grandparents took me to the “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” museum in St. Augustine. I knew that we were eating lunch when it was done, so I convinced my grandfather to “step lively,” as my father used to say to me on the walk to nursery school when we lived on Central Park West.
My grandmother has always pushed the arts. “Cabaret” was the first play she ever took me to, so I found it only fitting that I go see it with her one final time before the show ends it’s run this week.
“Cabaret” holds a special place in my heart for more than being my first play and a memory I share with my grandmother. Alan Cumming, a “Cabaret” staple, stars on “The Good Wife,” my father’s favorite show. So the trip covered two bases, a nostalgic night with my grandmother and a birthday present for my father who turned 60 this past Friday.
Replacing Emma Stone was Sienna Miller, riding high off her role in “American Sniper.” She might has well have been a cardboard cutout; she struggled most of the night looking out of place and uncomfortable as Sally. The show became exactly what I had always thought about Broadway plays: long, boring and forgettable if not for the performance of Cumming.
Unfortunate, as my grandma put it, because she remembered a time when the star of the show was whoever was lucky enough to play the role of Sally. Just ask Miller’s predecessor Emma Stone, who garnered rave reviews for her time in the show.
Miller’s lackluster performance did allow for something, however, as Alan Cumming carried the show and showed just how spectacular he really was. The juxtaposition of Cumming’s flawless performance compared to Miller’s banal performance underscores just how great Cumming truly is – the show is ending its run when Cumming’s time ends, opting not to recast his roll of Emcee. Cumming is irreplaceable.
Outside of Miller’s disappointing portrayal of Sally the show still had its strengths. The show was once again run by the team behind the 1998 Broadway run of Sam Mendes, the man behind 007 films “Skyfall” and “Spectre,” and Rob Marshall, “Into the Woods.”
Cumming is not the only mainstay that carries the show as supporting cast members Linda Emond and Danny Burstein, who play Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz respectively, have remained for the duration of the show, successfully representing the emotional story.
The audience is set up much in the same way that the Kit Kat Klub is portrayed – minus the minimally dressed wait staff and the drugs. The seating reminds me of a Vegas show, intimately set at tables where you feel closer to the action than you would in traditional theater seating.
If you can grab a ticket by the end of the week and you enjoy theater, the show is worth seeing. Cumming is worth seeing. As is the music and orchestra, which is fantastic, as Cumming points out multiple times throughout the night. While Miller might be forgettable, Cumming surely is not, and is single-handedly worth the price of admission.
- Studio 54, 254 W. 54th St., New York
- Ticket Price: 172
- Directed by Sam Mendes. Co-directed & choreographed by Rob Marshall
- Running time: 150 minutes
- Intermission: 1
- Last performance: March 29
- 3.5 out of 5 stars