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‘Cabaret’ Opening on Broadway: Eddie Redmayne, Angela Bassett and Baz Luhrmann



“I’m so ready for this,” said the actress Bernadette Peters on Saturday afternoon as she stood on the red carpet outside the August Wilson Theater on 52nd Street, which had been styled to look like a Berlin nightclub in the 1930s.

“It’s sort of like a Happening,” she added.

Ms. Peters had turned up for a performance of one of the hottest — and some of the most expensive — tickets on Broadway this season: A revival of “Cabaret,” the 1966 John Kander and Fred Ebb musical, which celebrated its opening night with twin galas on Saturday and Sunday. The production, which is set in a Berlin nightclub on the eve of the Nazis’ rise to power, features Eddie Redmayne as the nightclub’s Master of Ceremonies and Gayle Rankin as its star singer, Sally Bowles.

“For British actors, coming here to Broadway is the dream, so tonight is a pinch-me moment,” said Mr. Redmayne, who played the Master of Ceremonies during the show’s sold-out run in London in 2022, for which he won an Olivier Award — the British equivalent of a Tony Award — for best actor in a musical.

A few dozen celebrities — Angela Bassett, Rachel Zegler and the director Baz Luhrmann among them — came to see Mr. Redmayne, who is also a producer of “Cabaret.”

But this wasn’t the usual turn-up-five-minutes-before-the show drill: Unlike a typical Broadway show, “Cabaret” includes a preshow at every performance that begins 75 minutes before curtain.

The festivities begin in the lobby, where, on Saturday, a bare-chested dancer in a ruffled collar and gold harem pants twisted on an elevated stage as a gleaming gold eye rotated overhead. People in gold-sequined suit jackets and black bandage dresses lined up at a bar to order whiskey mules and rosé, which they sipped as a violinist played a lilting, eerie tune.

On the second floor, guests packed in front of vivid, gestural paintings while performers danced behind beaded curtains. Another level up, on the third floor, there were bedazzled plastic fruit arrangements and Polaroids of actors who appear in the play.

Just before showtime, ushers directed the crowd into the second-floor auditorium, which had been reconfigured to mimic a large supper club with fringe lights towering over circular tables, each with a small lamp and champagne glasses.

For the next nearly three hours, Mr. Redmayne and Ms. Rankin, playing the roles made famous by Joel Grey and Liza Minnelli in the 1972 Bob Fosse film, led the audience through a variety of standards including “Wilkommen,” performed by a marionette-like Mr. Redmayne in an askew green party hat and a flawless German accent; “Don’t Tell Mama,” delivered by a raunchily charming Ms. Rankin; and, finally, a showstopping rendition of the title song “Cabaret,” which earned Ms. Rankin a thunderous 30 seconds of applause and foot stomping.

The performance was followed by a spirited cocktail reception that took over every floor of the theater, during which trays of mac and cheese balls and mini champagne bottles flowed through the crowds. In the red room, the actor B.J. Novak roamed as the actor Billy Porter mingled in a corner.

The influencer, Dylan Mulvaney, remained in the auditorium, while Ms. Bassett danced to “Best of My Love” by the Emotions near the bar in the lobby.

Ms. Rankin and Mr. Redmayne only made brief appearances during the reception to greet well-wishers. (“I don’t want to tell you the unsexy truth,” Mr. Redmayne said about his party plans, “which is that I’m so paranoid about losing my voice that I will drink water and try not to talk too much.”)

Around 9 p.m., some guests, including members of the cast and creative team and their families, relocated to The Times Square Edition Hotel on 47th Street for an after-party at the Paradise Club.

In a dark room amid flashing lights and thumping bass, partygoers danced elbow to elbow and packed the bar. But the performers didn’t linger too long at the hotel — they had another show to do the next day.

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