My Love Of The Movie, ‘Cabaret’, and especially the actor, Joel Grey, who Played the Part of the Emcee has Caused Me to Watch Youtube after Youtube of he and Liza Minnelli. As I was working My Way Around the YouTubes, I had come upon the wonderful Alan Cumming in a Later Rendition of ‘Cabaret’ on Broadway and… How had I never heard of him?
I had been unable to leave My bed for quite a while due to a serious back injury and, as I hate daytime TV, I was watching YouTubes of’ Cabaret’ for hours on end on my Smart Phone.
I had read Joel Grey had “come out” as a gay man at 80 years old and that jostled my memory of him in the role of the Emcee of the Kit Kat Klub in the 1972 movie role of ‘CABARET’.
In the movie, it was quite obvious that they had to tread lightly on the subjects of abortion, bisexuality, and politics.
What had really gotten me, even when I was young when I first watched it, was how perfect Joel Grey was in the movie as the Emcee. Every movement and smile and leer was perfection. I thought nobody could ever even come close to him in talent.
Here is a brief synopsis of Cabaret by Anthony Hughes:
It is the city of Berlin in 1930, a time when political unrest racks the country, the economy has been destroyed, and millions of unemployed roam the streets. Enter into this chaos an American cabaret dancer, working at the downtown “Kit-Kat club” where anything goes on the stage. Into this young dancer’s life come several characters such as a rich German politician, a young Jewish man struggling with his identity, an Englishman teacher from London, and of course the all-knowing, all-seeing Master of Ceremonies.
Cabaret as a musical is based on a book written by Christopher Isherwood, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb.
Joel Grey’s performance (which earned him a well-deserved Oscar) was so perfect. Sort of a man-child that seemed to know exactly what the people in the Kit Kat Club needed… a way to not think of their troubles. I believed that nobody could ever out do his part or that of Liza Minnelli (who also won an Oscar).
The movie was directed by Bob Fosse.
It is based on John Von Druten’s 1951 play I am a Camera., which was adapted from the short novel Goodbye to Berlin (1939) by Christopher Isherwood.
So, I wanted to share the difference in Performances, first with Joel Grey as the Emcee and then Alan Cumming.
Alan Cumming played the Emcee in the broadway revival in 1998, with Sam Mendes as the director, and won a Tony, and a Drama Desk Award and many others. There is no man on Broadway or TV that exudes that much raw sexuality. You watch it and become one with the audience of the Kit Kat Club. His debauchery is frightening, yet you can not take your eyes off him. This is more closely in tune with the original story. You can see the bruises and needle marks which depicts the characters more realistically as part of the seedy, underbelly of Berlin they were meant to be in the book.
Alan Cumming’s character is like the bad boy in high school that you know will only lead you to trouble, yet, you cannot help but get involved with.
What a performance!
I could not stop watching. I’ve seen so many reviews of men and women that have fallen in love with him in this performance.
I also saw YouTubes of otherCabaret Emcees and none of them could compete with Joel Grey and Alan Cumming
I do not watch The Good Wife, where he plays the part of Eli Gold. Quite frankly, I had never heard of him before. He received a 2011 Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor on a Drama Series for his work on the TV show.
Here are the two different Sally Bowles:
Sally Bowles, in the book, was supposed to be a singer that really couldn’t quite keep a tune. Of course, Liza Minnelli couldn’t sing badly if she tried. I love Jane Horrock’s depiction.
I watched many videos with Alan Cumming and he, despite a horrific childhood, seems like the most gracious and funny man in interviews.
So…I’d like to thank both he and Joel Grey for giving me so many hours of enjoyment.
If you want to watch the whole Cumming redition of the play, it’s in 12 parts beginning HERE. I was unable to find the whole movie, however.
I really think you will enjoy watching Joel Grey again and Alan Cumming.
Life is a Cabaret!
Both Joel Grey and Alan Cumming have written books:
Not My Father’s Son: A Memoir