Producer Bill Kenwright brought Rufus Norris’ 2006 revival of Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret back to the West End for a limited run. This revival production starred pop sensation Will Young as the Emcee, along with Eastender’s star Michelle Ryan as Sally Bowles. The production, which opened on October 8 at the Savoy Theatre, marked the pair’s West End debut. The show closed on 19 January 2013.
The award-winning musical Cabaret is based on the stories of Christopher Isherwood which are included in the book ‘Goodbye to Berlin’. These were then adapted into the play I Am a Camera by John Van Druten in 1951. John Kander and Fred Ebb (The Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Chicago, The Scottsboro Boys) adapted the play into the musical Cabaret using a book by Joe Masteroff. The show premiered on Broadway in 1966 and in 1972 was made into an Oscar-winning film starring Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles, Michael York as Cliff and Joel Grey as the Emcee. Many successful revivals of the show have taken place all over the world – one of the most famous being Sam Mendes’ production at Studio 54.
Rufus Norris’s production originally opened in the West End at the Lyric Theatre in 2006, where it initially starred James Dreyfus, Anna Maxwell Martin and Sheila Hancock. The production was nominated for a variety of Olivier Awards, and Hancock won the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical at the 2007 ceremony. Throughout the West End run and subsequent UK tour many famous faces took on the iconic roles, including Julian Clary, Wayne Sleep and Alistair McGowan as the Emcee, and Samantha Barks, Kim Medcalf and Amy Nuttall as Sally Bowles.
Star Will Young shot to fame in the original series of Pop Idol and has since become a successful worldwide recording artist. Although he has appeared onstage before in both plays and musicals, Cabaret was his professional West End debut. Michelle Ryan has starred in various TV shows including Jekyll, Bionic Woman, Merlin and Doctor Who. Sian Phillips played Fraulein Schneider, Matt Rawle played Cliff, and Harriet Thorpe played Fraulein Kost, a role she first played in Norris’ 2006 production.