This season, Broadway and Broadway fans alike welcomed Alan Cumming back to his home at Studio 54 where he will reprise his role as the Emcee in Cabaret. With Cumming’s triumphant return to the role, I began thinking of the other iconic men who have danced and stripped across the Studio 54 stage.
Of course, there was Joel Grey who made the role when he originated the role onstage and then in the movie opposite other Broadway royalty Liza Minnelli. While his version is iconic, his Emcee is now considered tame compared to what’s seen onstage.
Alan Cumming came to the role in 2004 and boy did he shake things up! From the costume to the make up, Cumming made sure his Emcee was different from the rest! And that set up some wonderful leading men to come in and make the role their own.
Among these wonderful guys were John Stamos, Adam Pascal, and Neil Patrick Harris. Each one bringing his own special flair and personality to the role. And with so much of the songs, while of course scripted and written, it still leaves the men plenty of room for them to interact and ad-lib with not only the audience, but with fellow actors onstage. Cabaret is unique in that it acknowledges right away that they are putting on a show for an audience, and in fact, at one time, Cabaret was set up in a dinner-theater style.
Usually, if more than one actor plays a role, people are on the fence about who their favorite was. However, this is different in that all these names have become synonymous with the show, and everyone agrees you really can’t pick one over the other-all three of them (Pascal, Stamos, and Harris) did a wonderful job. There are even plenty of clips of all the men doing the role on YouTube if you want to compare for yourself-but I really think you’ll find it hard to pick your favorite.
After the show closed, fans begged for Alan to come back to the stage, even if it was for one night only. And this season, he’s answering the pleas and coming back full-force to the Kit-Kat club to spread his special brand of showman ship. Wilkommen back, Alan! Cabaret, and you are home!