Well, this is fun: According to the New York Times’ ArtsBeat blog, Michelle Williams will make her Broadway debut this season in Roundabout Theater Company’s planned revival of Cabaret. Who as? The Kit Kat Klub’s resident chanteuse, Sally Bowles, of course!
I’m unclear whether this will be an entirely new production of Cabaret or simply a remounting of Roundabout’s successful 1998 revival of it; given that it’s A) being produced by Roundabout, just like the previous revival B) also starring Alan Cumming, who played the MC in the previous revival, and C) performing at Studio 54, just like the previous revival… well, let’s just say that chances are good it’s a remounting. Not that that’s a bad thing—co-directed by Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall, it was a stunning production and a smash hit. And Michelle as Sally? Definitely something I can get behind.
“But wait!”, I hear you say. “Can Michelle Williams sing?” Well, yes (see: My Week With Marilyn)—but even if she isn’t the most accomplished of Broadway belters, it actually doesn’t matter. Why? Because even though Sally Bowles is a cabaret singer, she’s not actually supposed to be that good. Long before Cabaret or even I Am a Camera—the straight play Cabaret was based on—t he character made its first appearance in the 1937 novella Sally Bowles by Christopher Isherwood. In it, Sally’s singing is described as relatively bad, but surprisingly effective at the same time “because of her startling appearance and her air of not caring a curse what people thought of her.” As such, it’s not surprising that Cabaret has featured a long line of actresses not necessarily known for their vocal acrobatics, from Dame Judi Dench in the 1968 London production to Natasha Richardson in Roundabout’s last Broadway revival in 1998. I actually saw Teri Hatcher play the part on the road show way back when before I moved to New York.
Anyhoo, Roundabout hasn’t made an official announcement yet, so it’s not confirmed; indeed, as recently as May, Emma Stone was actually attached to the project (she had to pull out due to scheduling conflicts). No word from Michelle’s reps, either, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed. In the meantime, did you know these other have also tried their hands at musical theatre?