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Eddie Redmayne and Gayle Rankin to lead ‘Cabaret’ revival

The musical sets dates for its bow at the August Wilson Theatre and reveals plans for the building’s transformation.

(L-R) Gayle Rankin as Sally Bowles and Eddie Redmayne as the Emcee for “Cabaret” (Credit: Mason Poole)

The upcoming revival of “Cabaret” has announced its stars. Eddie Redmayne will reprise his Olivier Award-winning turn as the Emcee, and Gayle Rankin will take on the role of Sally Bowles. The previously announced production, directed by Rebecca Frecknall, will begin previews on April 1, 2024 ahead of an official opening night of April 21 at the August Wilson Theatre.

“It was whilst playing ‘The Emcee’ in a student production of ‘Cabaret’ over 25 years ago that my love for theater was properly ignited,” Redmayne said in a statement. “It now feels completely thrilling and a little surreal to be a part of Rebecca’s truly unique vision of Masteroff, Kander and Ebb’s brilliance as it arrives on Broadway, where the piece has such a history. I am beyond excited to be doing it arm-in-arm with the remarkable Gayle Rankin and a truly stunning cast and team. I am hoping we will create an experience for you quite unlike any other.”

“‘Cabaret’ has been a wildly profound marker in my life,” Rankin added. “How I understand myself as an artist and citizen in the very fragile world we live in has proved to revolve on its axis. I am completely honored to hold hands with Sally inside of this singular, powerful production and [am] forever grateful to Rebecca, Eddie and the whole family for inviting me into its creation on Broadway.”

Redmayne originated the role of the Emcee in the London mounting of “Cabaret” at London’s Playhouse Theatre, earning a 2022 Olivier Award for his performance. He made his professional debut as Viola in “Twelfth Night” at Shakespeare’s Globe in London and was named Outstanding Newcomer at the 2004 Evening Standard Awards for his turn in “The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?” In 2009, he played Ken in the Donmar Warehouse production of John Logan’s drama “Red,” which later transferred to the West End, earning Redmayne his first Olivier. When “Red” moved to Broadway, he won a Tony Award for his Broadway-debut turn. On screen, Redmayne played Marius in the 2012 movie musical adaptation of “Les Misérables” and won an Oscar for his lead performance in “The Theory of Everything.”

Rankin is no stranger to “Cabaret,” having made her Broadway debut in the 2014 revival of the musical as Fraulein Kost and Frtizie. Rankin is best known for her turn as Sheila the She-Wolf in the Netflix series “Glow.” She has also appeared in the FX series “Kindred” and will be seen in the second season of the “Game of Thrones” prequel “House of the Dragon.” Rankin starred opposite Oscar Isaac as Ophelia in “Hamlet” at Off-Broadway’s Public Theater and was part of the cast of director Phyllida Lloyd’s all-female “Taming of the Shrew,” at the Public’s Delactore Theatre.

Beginning June 17, Redmayne will not perform on Monday evenings, and Rankin will not perform at Wednesday matinées. Alternate casting, and additional production casting, by the Telsey Office, will be announced. Redmayne and Rankin will play a limited engagement through Aug. 31.

New details about the production have also been confirmed. The Broadway design team will remodel the August Wilson Theatre into the Kit Kat Club, the 1929 Berlin nightclub within “Cabaret,” with an in-the-round playing space, as was the case with the London production. 

Ticket holders will be given a club entry time with the purchase of their ticket in order to explore the Kit Kat Club and enjoy pre-show entertainment throughout the venue before the curtain officially rises.

“The Kit Kat Club at the August Wilson will be the thrilling evolution of our production of ‘Cabaret,’” club, scenic and costume designer Tom Scutt said in a statement. “Inspired not only by 1920s Germany and 2020s London, our new renovation is enriched by the influence of New York deco architecture, the jazz age and queer cabaret. ‘Cabaret NYC’ promises to be a totally unique melting pot of an experience.”

Newly announced creative team members are hair and wig designer Sam Cox and makeup designer Guy Common. Production stage management will be by Thomas Recktenwald. 101 Productions will serve as general manager.

As previously announced, the creative team also includes choreographer Julia Cheng, music supervisor and director Jennifer Whyte, lighting designer Isabella Byrd, sound designer Nick Lidster for Autograph, prologue director Jordan Fein and prologue composer and music director Angus MacRae.

In “Cabaret,” American writer Clifford Bradshaw chronicles his time in Berlin, including his affair with the leading singer at the seedy Kit Kat Club, Sally Bowles, and the Nazis’ rise to power. Based on the play by John Van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood, the musical features a book by Joe Masteroff, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb.

“Cabaret” is being produced by Ambassador Theatre Group Productions, Underbelly, Gavin Kalin Productions, Hunter Arnold, Smith & Brant Theatricals and Wessex Grove.

Correction: A previous version of this article erroneously categorized the run of “Cabaret.” It is an open-ended run. Redmayne and Rankin will play in it for a limited engagement through Aug. 31.