×

Broadway Review: Emma Stone in ‘Cabaret’

With:
Alan Cumming, Emma Stone, Linda Edmond, Danny Burstein, Bill Heck, Aaron Krohn, Gayle Rankin.

Liza spoiled it for everyone with her thrilling perf as Sally Bowles, the flamboyant party girl in “Cabaret.”  Although her pitiful musical talents are the least of the services Sally offers patrons of the Kit Kat Klub, Minnelli’s star turn still bedevils femme thesps trying to play Sally as the amateurish entertainer she is. That also applies to It Girl Emma Stone, who’s taken over from Michelle Williams in the current Roundabout revival. But the red-headed beauty has found a good way to put her own personal stamp on the role — she acts the hell out of it. 

There’s more to Sally Bowles than the wild child who fled boring old England for the danger and decadence of Weimar Berlin.  Underneath the persona of the naughty girl who made a career of singing and dancing and prostituting herself at the Kit Kat Club is a vulnerable young woman out of her depth in this wicked city, terrified of being broke, of being without a man, of being alone.  That’s the Sally that Michelle Williams played in her pink baby-doll outfits.

Barely acknowledging that side of Sally, Stone goes straight to the little tramp who immediately took to the divinely decadent society of underworld Berlin. Stone’s Sally loves the attention she got as “The Toast of Mayfair.”  The parties, the gifts, the cocaine, the sex — it’s all great fun, until it isn’t.  This savvy Sally is no innocent outsider, but very much one of the Kit Kat Girls in “Mein Herr,” slutty and predatory and scary as hell.

Once things turn ugly, Sally loses her edge and becomes frantic, latching onto Cliff Bradshaw, the kind-hearted but naive American played (quite well) by Bill Heck, and hanging on for dear life.  That’s where Stone plays Sally, dancing on the edge of desperation and too scared to look down. It’s a bit narrow as an emotional platform, but a smart choice for her acting skills, the perfect fit for her sharp intelligence and kinetic energy.

While Stone is even less of a singer than Williams, she acts her way out of every tight spot.  When Sally dares to hope that there’s a future for her and Cliff, Stone makes “Maybe This Time” a cry that comes right from the heart.  And when those hopes turn to ashes, Stone pours all that pain and rage and despair into her electrifying delivery of “Cabaret.” Not too shabby for a non-singer, and exactly what you’d expect from a real actor.

It’s hard to tell whether the show was smartened up for Stone’s entry, but it’s a well-oiled machine.  As the decadent Emcee of the Kit Kat Club, Alan Cumming is having the time of his life playing to the audience, which is mad for him. But if he has somehow grown larger than his role, the rest of the company seems to have made a pact with the gods of discipline.

As the ill-fated older lovers Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz, Linda Emond and Danny Burstein are looking more and more like the Lunts of the Broadway musical theater.  There seem to be no limits to Gayle Rankin’s skills; she’s funny and frightening as the house prostitute Fraulein Kost and truly formidable when she begins the choral singing on “Tomorrow Belongs to Me.”

And as the Emcee keeps telling us, the Kit Kat Orchestra really is quite beautiful.

Broadway Review: Emma Stone in 'Cabaret'

Studio 54; 893 seats; $172 top. Opened April 24, 2014. Re-reviewed Dec. 4. Running time: TWO HOURS, 30 MIN.

Production: A Roundabout Theater Company production of a musical in two acts, based on a play by John Van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood, with a book by Joe Masteroff, music by John Kander, and lyrics by Fred Ebb.

Creative: Directed by Sam Mendes. Co-directed & choreographed by Rob Marshall. Sets & club design, Robert Brill; costumes, William Ivey Long; lighting, Peggy Eisenhauer & Mike Baldassari; sound, Brian Ronan; hair & wigs, Paul Huntley; makeup, Angelina Avallone; dialect coach, Deborah Hecht; musical director & vocal arranger, Patrick Vaccariello;  orchestrations, Michael Gibson; dance & incidental music, David Krane; original music coordinator, John Monaco; production stage manager, Arthur Gaffin.

Cast: Alan Cumming, Emma Stone, Linda Edmond, Danny Burstein, Bill Heck, Aaron Krohn, Gayle Rankin.

More Legit

  • HBO's 'SUCCESSION

    Brian Cox Playing LBJ in Broadway Run of 'The Great Society'

    Brian Cox will play President Lyndon Johnson in the Broadway run of “The Great Society,” playwright Robert Schenkkan’s follow-up to “All the Way.” The role of Johnson, a crude, but visionary politician who used the office of the presidency to pass landmark civil rights legislation and social programs, was originally played by Bryan Cranston in [...]

  • Paul McCartney Has Penned Score for

    Paul McCartney Has Been Secretly Writing an 'It's a Wonderful Life' Musical

    The pop superstar who once released a movie and album called “Give My Regards to Broad Street” really does have designs on Broadway, after all. It was revealed Wednesday that Paul McCartney has already written a song score for a stage musical adaptation of the 1946 Frank Capra film classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The [...]

  • The Night of the Iguana review

    West End Review: 'The Night of the Iguana' With Clive Owen

    If Tennessee Williams is the poet laureate of lost souls, none of his characters as are off-grid as the restless travelers trying to make it through his little-seen 1961 play, “The Night of the Iguana.” Holed up in a remote Mexican homestay, its ragtag itinerants live hand-to-mouth, day by day, as they seek refuge from [...]

  • Moulin Rouge Broadway

    Listen: The Special Sauce in Broadway's 'Moulin Rouge!'

    There are songs in the new Broadway version of “Moulin Rouge!” that weren’t in Baz Luhrmann’s hit movie — but you probably know them anyway. They’re popular tunes by superstars like Beyoncé, Adele and Rihanna, released after the 2001 movie came out, and they’ll probably unleash a flood of memories and associations in every audience [...]

  • Greta Gerwig and Oscar Isaac

    Greta Gerwig and Oscar Isaac to Star in Anton Chekhov's 'Three Sisters' Adaptation

    Greta Gerwig and Oscar Isaac are taking on an adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” for New York Theatre Workshop in Manhattan. The company announced on Tuesday that they will feature two final performances to round out the 2019 to 2020 season, including the Chekhov play. “Three Sisters” will be directed by Tony award-winning Sam [...]

  • montreal just for laughs Comedy Festival

    Montreal's Just for Laughs Festival Is the 'Coachella of Comedy'

    Every summer, Montreal becomes the epicenter of the comedy world as the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival takes over the Canadian city. Now in its 37th year, the mindboggling scale of the festival is there in the numbers: more than 1,600 artists from across the globe (speaking English, French and other languages) performing 250 shows [...]

  • The dark Manhatten skyline, seen from

    StubHub Refunds $500,000 to Customers Shut Out by New York Blackout

    Saturday’s blackout in New York had an outsized effect on the city’s nightlife, with Madison Square Garden and the entire Broadway district seeing multiple shows cancelled due to the the power outage. As a result, StubHub has refunded more than $500,000 worth of tickets for cancelled events. According to a statement from the company, the StubHub [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content