The 1998 Broadway production of Cabaret is that rarest of revivals, one that feels like an utterly new show. Despite their incredibly familiarity, the songs of Kander and Ebb sound as lively and lascivious as ever, and the... more » revised score augments the original with several tunes written specifically for the Oscar-winning 1972 film ("Mein Herr," "Maybe This Time"). In the central roles of deluded chanteuse Sally Bowles and the MC, respectively, Natasha Richardson and Alan Cumming have big pumps to fill; they successfully do so with distinctive flair, eschewing the ham-fisted tendencies of Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey to impart this complicated yet enthralling vision of 1930s Berlin with a fiercely individual spirit. --Kurt B. Reighley« less
The 1998 Broadway production of Cabaret is that rarest of revivals, one that feels like an utterly new show. Despite their incredibly familiarity, the songs of Kander and Ebb sound as lively and lascivious as ever, and the revised score augments the original with several tunes written specifically for the Oscar-winning 1972 film ("Mein Herr," "Maybe This Time"). In the central roles of deluded chanteuse Sally Bowles and the MC, respectively, Natasha Richardson and Alan Cumming have big pumps to fill; they successfully do so with distinctive flair, eschewing the ham-fisted tendencies of Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey to impart this complicated yet enthralling vision of 1930s Berlin with a fiercely individual spirit. --Kurt B. Reighley
Robert J. from VERO BEACH, FL Reviewed on 9/20/2012...
I'd never realized what a lock Joel Grey had on this show. That, of course, was a very long time ago. This is supposed to be (yes, "supposed" to be) the 1998 Broadway revival. Broadway? This is the high school dramatic society version, and not a New York high school at that. Perhaps Kansas or Mississippi. And yes, that's snark. Broadway in 1998 must have descended quite a number of rungs from what I remember. This recording makes any real Kander and Ebb afficionado want to cry. The cast has no clue. No clue at all.
The original cast, and even the original movie, seemed to understand very well indeed the evil and danger of early 30's Berlin and both what came before and what would come after. This required very nuanced interpretations of both music and lyrics, very lightly applied. Since I was familiar with the original situation, the original cast's interpretation just seemed immediately appropriate to me. It never occurred to me, at that time or later, that the historical tin ear of following generations might show they just didn't get the picture. And that's what we hear on this 1995 "original cast" recording. It's truly amazing that the director of that production obviously didn't understand the show at all.
You can get the music note-perfect and the lyrics word-perfect, as these people of course have done, but they haven't the faintest idea of what the historical reality was. And that historical reality, it's threat and menace, is the full force and power of the show. They say Americans "don't get" history. Based on this recording, they may well be right.
Alex B. from KATY, TX Reviewed on 2/4/2011...
I adore this cast recording. While I love the original & film version, this one is just as enjoyable and my favorite version overall. I love the blend of the original songs with that of the films, while some have new arrangements (Money, Money for one). I do however miss the ending that is on the original cast recording. But with all nit-picks on songs and cast aside for any version- this is enjoyable. You are bound to find a song you'll love.
A new spin on a classic musical
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The current Broadway revival of Kander and Ebb's 1966 musical CABARET is not entirely faithful to the original production. Some changes are based on Bob Fosse's 1972 film version, while others date from more recent revivals. Gone are the songs: "Meeskite", "Why Should I Wake Up?" and "The Telephone Song" and the film's "Money Money" has replaced the original show's "Money Song" - but we gain from the addition of "Mein Herr" and "Maybe This Time" from the film score, and "I Don't Care Much" cut from the original show during previews.Natasha Richardson handles Sally's songs well - but not too well: You never lose sight of the fact that Sally is a second rate singer in a tacky Cabaret. John Benjamin Hickey isn't given a lot to do on the recording: Aside from a few lines of dialogue he shares but one duet with Ms.Richardson. Pity, as he seems to exhibit a fine singing voice. The real star of the disc is Tony winner Alan Cumming as the Emcee: Comic and terrifying all at once. While Joel Grey presented a leering Emcee, Cumming is much darker: more decadent - Listen to him relish the word "beautiful" not once but three times in a row during the opening number..Lotte Lenya brought such depth to the characterization of Frau Schneider, that others have paled in her wake, but Mary Louise Wilson gives the character a quiet dignity and resists any temptation to mimic her celebrated predecessor. RCA Victor has again done an outstanding cast recording capturing the look and sound of one of Broadway's biggest hits. The accompanying booklet offers several color shots of the production and all the lyrics - but, unfortunately, no synopsis to provide the uninitiated with any kind of story link. It's the only flaw in an otherwise first rate package.Columbia's classic original cast album (recently reissued on CD by Sony in their Columbia Broadway series) remains definitive - but this new darker more abr! asive production has yielder a very fine CD that crackles with theatrical excitement."
A Beautiful Cast Recording
C. M. Chen | CA | 06/21/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had heard a lot about Cabaret but until I discovered that Natasha Richardson and Alan Cummings had the starring roles, I never really felt tempted to hear it or really wondered what the production was all about. Now, to my despair, I have heard it but will continue to wonder what it is truly all about.I have never seen a production of Cabaret being performed, to my utter regret. Especially now, after hearing this wonderful recording, I wish that I had had the opportunity. Richardson and Cummings display such tremendous talent on the recording alone that it makes the listener wish to view their performance on stage. Cummings's Emcee is joyous and dark. He is, as another reviewer wrote, clearly decadent. But his decadence does not transgress the garishly cheerful atmosphere of the Kit Kat Klub. "Wilkommen" is without a doubt one of the most memorable tracks on this album and serves the dual purpose of welcoming both the visitors to the club as well as the listener who can only visualize, through the voice of the Emcee, what is taking place. "Wilkommen" provides a terrific introduction to a place where you can truly forget your troubles for a while.Richardson, in her role as Sally Bowles, gives a stirring performance of a second rate performer. Sally Bowles is not a great singer and Richardson never lets us forget it. And yet, we can't help but be moved by the sense of hope she carries about her that is most aptly conveyed in the selection, "Maybe". Sally Bowles may not be a great singer but the listener comes to realize very quickly that it takes the talent of a great one in order to portray the role of a bad one. Back in April, I heard Susan Egan perform her version of "Maybe" in a concert at UCLA and though I was impressed, I must confess that Richardson's performance of it far surpassed Egan's. While they both reveal Sally's vulnerability, I felt that Richardson's performance was more authentic and this might have been because she didn't have to feign her British accent. This is a terrific cast recording and one that is to be remembered. There are moments of extreme joy and darkness. And through it all Richardson and Cummings let us forget our troubles because we can't help but sympathize with theirs."
Mmm. Only one thing I can find faultworthy.
Seamus Daileigh | 08/30/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"To start things off, Cabaret is my favorite musical of all time. I adore the original with Jill Haworth and Joel Grey most of all, but this one is very good as well.
Natasha Richardson does a fair job as Sally Bowles. She lacks emotion in places, however. I think she may have attempted the "dead fish" mental breakdown method during the title song, as opposed to Jill Haworth's screaming collapse, but I prefer the original. Hey, as long as it's not Liza Minelli's total misunderstanding of what she's supposed to be doing, I'm cool. Alas, I'm not good with names, so I can't recall the names of the actors portraying Frau Schneider, Herr Schultz, Fraulein Kost, or Cliff Bradshaw, but they're all damned good ones. No complaints here. The orchestrations are fantastic. I'd love to see them on the original recording. To hear Haworth growl through Don't Tell Mama with the orchestrations of that song from this revival would make me a very happy person, as would being able to here her sing Mein Herr or Maybe This Time in any way shape or form at all. Oh well.
My only problem with this show came in the form of a person who won a Tony for it. That's right, folks: I hated Alan Cumming's Emcee. I really did. Joel Grey's original performance was marvelously creepy, sinister, and relatively subdued. Cumming was over the top. Much too far over the top. He sounded like Danny DeVito in some places. He was relying too much on the Emcee's sexual excess for the role and not enough on his terrifying Nazism. Oh well again. Just one person's opinion.
Unfortunately, the frequent presence of the Emcee made this recording impossible for me to listen to. Everyone else seems to like him, so find out for yourself.
It's still good."
Bienvenue to the new
Nichole N. Graham | Woodhaven, NY USA | 11/30/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Right, so most people usually wait til they have seen the particular broadway show BEFORE picking up the disc. However, I thought it would be well worth it to do the reverse. Is it? You bet!The usual problem with revivals is that everyone is on tetherhooks wondering, "Do we really need an update?" When you think of landmark musicals, the 1972 version with Joel Grey springs to mind. However, the new cast does the material justice.Brit actor Alan Cumming does the (nearly) impossible of improving the Emcee. Rather, he brings his own vocal style, which comes across on audio. Tracks like "Wilkommen" and "Two Ladies" feature the mask that the Emcee shows to the world: "I run the world, and everyone else are my understudies". However, a track like "I Don't Care Much" shows him as he truly is: a person afraid to open the club doors and face the world.Natasha Richardson puts her limited vocal range through its paces. Her Sally Bowles is brave to the last, even when she returns to the club in 1930. Where she used to be brash ("Mein Herr", "Don't Tell Mama"), she is now somewhat wiser ("Cabaret"). She knows life provides its own surprises, and you've little choice, but to endure.Ron Rifkin and Mary Louise Wilson's Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz, respectively, prove to be poignant, even as the world begins to fall down round their ears (the brick through the window in "Married" (reprise). Wilson's smoky voice shows Schneider as a tough old woman, who isn't afraid to give you the boot if you annoy her ("So What").The entire cast is great, and does this revival justice. Though I'd recommend your seeing the show (just so you can visualise the action inbetween songs), it isn't necessary. At the very least, hearing this disc should whet your appetite to snag a ticket and see a live performance."
Im Cabaret Oh Cabaret To Cabaret
Nichole N. Graham | 10/09/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Alan Cumming plays the devilish emcee in this amazing 5 star cd of Cabaret. Buy this without thinking."