(New York Jewish Week) — For the last 15 months, the undeniably Jewish musical “Funny Girl” has held court at the August Wilson Theater on Broadway. When the show closes in September, it won’t be long until the theater once again hosts a show with Jewish themes and characters.
A revival of “Cabaret,” the 1966 musical about the fate of a Berlin nightclub and its patrons during the rise of the Nazi party, is slated to arrive on Broadway at the August Wilson in the spring of 2024 with a restored Jewish subplot.
Revived on Broadway several times since it was staged in 1966, the latest version of the musical by the Jewish duo John Kander and Fred Ebb will be an adaptation of the West End revival that has been playing since 2021.
The West End production emphasizes a subplot surrounding an ill-fated romance between German boarding house owner Fräulein Schneider and her Jewish suitor Herr Schultz — a relationship that was featured minimally in other productions and removed from the 1972 film altogether.
A 2022 review of the West End production in the Jewish Chronicle called the Jewish subplot “the emotional heart of the story, and its moral core” that “undoes an act of Jewish erasure.”
The musical arrives after a season in which shows with Jewish themes featured prominently on Broadway, including Tom Stoppard’s “Leopoldstadt,” the musical “Parade,” the Lorraine Hansberry drama “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window” and Alex Edelman’s one-man show, “Just for Us.” Headed to the stage next season are Barry Manilow’s “Harmony,” “A Prayer for the French Republic” and “Transparent,” each with a strong Jewish theme.
The West End production of “Cabaret” starred Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything,” “The Danish Girl”) in the central role as the Master of Ceremonies. It won seven Olivier Awards, including best revival of a musical and best actor in a musical. Redmayne is expected to join the New York production, though the cast has not been announced yet.
“Cabaret” is also the show where Jewish actor Joel Grey first received widespread acclaim, in the role of the Master of Ceremonies. He won the Tony Award for best featured actor in a musical in 1967; that same year “Cabaret” won the Tony for best musical. Grey also won the Oscar for best supporting actor for the 1972 movie version, where he reprised his role opposite Liza Minelli as Sally Bowles. (Minelli won the Oscar for best actress as well.)
Composer John Kander, 96, already has two shows running on Broadway: the new musical “New York, New York” and the long-running revival of “Chicago.”
“Cabaret” will be directed by Rebecca Frecknall and produced by Ambassador Theater Group and Underbelly, both British production companies.