Here is my account of how this amazing opportunity to star on Broadway in Cabaret came about 15 years ago today.
I was sitting at lunch with my friend Bobby Watman when the call came in asking if I would be at Studio 54 that evening to see the current production of Cabaret, which I of course had seen already, but welcomed the chance to see again. The producers wanted to know if I could start rehearsing the next day and open exactly 2 weeks from that night. Coincidentally, that was the same night I was scheduled to play my friend Bobby‘s club Culture Club in New York City. I decided to take on the role and keep my commitment to the concert opening night as well. It was a crazy thrilling time and I was so happy that I had been working out, going to yoga, and, most importantly, taking a voice lesson every week with the prestigious Joan Lader and practicing daily. It was the ultimate lesson in “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” I had lobbied quietly and secretly for the role, and I was so honored when I was invited into the ring. It was truly the opportunity of a lifetime. The rehearsals were full on with learning the dialect as well, which I had not yet ever done on a stage, and I got to work with Tim Monarch whose name continues to pop up in credits of my favorite movies.
Neil Patrick Harris was the Emcee for most of my run, and, needless to say, he brought the house down daily, as did the entire multi-talented cast that I will forever be in awe of! Rob Marshall popped in only one day to work with me, but it was such concentrated genius work and direction. So much of which was about trusting my own instincts and following them to the ends of the earth, which proved to be advice that has carried me through this past chapter of my life and career. I also vividly recall my longtime friend Marc Kudisch coming up to my dressing room after my performance and, instead of just celebrating and blowing smoke, he gave me some really constructive advice and notes, essentially. It’s funny how all these years later, when I watch back this video montage, with all the years of life experience now under my belt, I would love the shot to do this role again to take in all he said and use it as I finally understand what he was trying to impart to me at the time. He has always been that tough love true friend and I’ve always respected him greatly for that.
The entire creative team who worked with me musically and on that stage daily with direction and choreography were just exquisite. This moment will forever go down in history as being one of my favorites. I didn’t even have time to doubt whether or not I could pull it off in two weeks and I channeled that into my portrayal of this character because Sally is nothing if not brave and bold. I had to leap and trust the process. You do not want to bring anything less than your a-game to a Roundabout Production! I hope I did the team proud. I loved every minute of every show.
Thank you to all who came out and supported me in this endeavor and, for those who missed it, this fun montage is a representation of what went on at the down and dirty Kit Kat Klub. Oh, and worth mentioning as another highlight? The girls spanking my late Grandpa Abert’s brothers who were in attendance and all in their 80s at the time. I can tell you they all went to heaven with smiles on their faces thanks to a night at Cabaret!