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Michelle Williams Shimmies Into Garters And Heels For Her First Musical Role

By Joanna Robinson | Trade News | September 3, 2013 | Comments ()


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News broke today that the usually delicate-seeming Michelle Williams will take on the lead role of Sally Bowles in a revival of “Cabaret.” This will, in fact, be a revival of a revival because both the co-directors of the 1994 revival (Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall) as well as the MC from that show (the incredible Alan Cumming) will be returning for this production at The Roundabout Theater in New York. So, well, is the lovely Ms. Williams (whose acting credentials are above reproach) the right fit for the job?

This is the best example I could find of her singing voice. It’s from The Baxter, an adorable little film co-starring Michael Showalter. Ignore the first tremulous effort, she gets going around 1:04.

Not too bad, right? Not stage-worthy, maybe. But I’ve heard worse. As for dancing? That’s harder to assess. But given a chair and the license to shimmy, I’m pretty sure she could pull something off.

At the very least, she’ll be in good company. Alan Cumming really is the best.

But Williams will have a lot to live up to. Both Emma Stone and Anne Hathaway were originally attached to this production and I can’t help but think they would have had an easier time living up to Liza…

…Dame Judi…

…and, er, Natalie.

Best of luck to her.

(via NYT)

Joanna Robinson regrets not getting to see the amazing Natasha Richardson as Sally Bowles.







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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Helo

    I dunno about videos, but that header picture... Good god. Ms. Helo would probably forgive me for any daydreaming that may occur for the next 48-72 hours.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I'm amazed you didn't take the opportunity to post another Anna Kendrick video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

    I'm excited to see the Dame Judi rehearsal footage!

  • Samantha Klein

    Gah. The older I get, every time I see it again, I am blown away a little bit more by Cabaret (the film). If Bob Fosse and Liza Minelli had done nothing else in their lives besides "Mein Herr," they would still be the gigantic stars that they are.

  • BuffyloGal

    Anyone who can shimmy in such a confining mermaid dress as she did in Marilyn can handle a few kicks in much simpler clothing. She may even change my opinion about musicals.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Wow, so we went from Dame Judi Dench to Damn, Judi Dench!
    Sorry, I'll let myself out...

  • BWeaves

    Alan Cumming was made for this role. I'm surprised he hasn't done Frankenfurter.

  • Robert

    The role was originally written to not be played by a powerhouse singer. This isn't exactly a high end night club. If that's the direction they're going, I'll be thrilled. I doubt it since Liza Minelli transformed the role and how practically every major production has played Sally Bowles since then, but a guy can dream. My director/music director friends and I always talk about wanting to mount a production with a not so great Sally but the fear of bad word of mouth and audience walkouts stops us. It'd have to be the right venue and Broadway is not the home for experimentation with form at this point.

  • e jerry powell

    I would actually advance the notion that Bob Fosse, for reasons yet unexplored, intentionally miscast Liza in the film. By whatever virtue, it seems to have worked, at least in making Liza a legend in her mother's mold.

  • Kirstini

    Natasha Richardson was the original Sally in that revival: she did play her as a not-so-great singer if I recall, and won huge plaudits in the role.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    (and the Tony) Yes, she sounded more as if she were braying than singing, and it worked. It had a nice obnoxious tinge to it. Jennifer Jason Leigh who was next in the part had a frailer sound, but was also not great. (let's be honest, it doesn't take much to fake sounding great on nightclub songs with a microphone - but "Maybe This Time" is a personal moment, so you don't want it to sound completely awful.)

    Judi Dench tells an anecdote of when she played the role - that management should've (or did?) put a sign in the lobby saying that she wasn't sick, that was just her voice, because so many people made comments at the box office.

  • That's why I love Michelle Williams: she may usually seem delicate, but it only takes a second to feel the fierce magma bubbling just under the surface.

  • Brooke Michelle

    Mmag-ma.

  • kimk

    She wouldn't exactly be the first name that comes to mind for the part, but at least the Hathaway bullet was dodged, so for that she has my thanks.

    Other thoughts:
    -I loved "The Baxter"
    -Every time Natasha Richardson's name is mentioned, I forget at first that she died, then suddenly remember it and get sad all over again
    -That Alan Cummings clip made my night

  • Ben

    That video gives me strange pants feelings about Judy Dench that I'm not accustomed to having.

    ... I'm ok with this.

  • BWeaves

    1. Damn, she was hot.

    2. Bravo for aging normally. I still think she's absolutely beautiful.

  • Ben

    I'd totally still do her.

  • PDamian

    Hands off mah boo! She's mine, I tell you!

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