Eddie Redmayne defends playing 'queer' role in West End 'Cabaret' revival

·2-min read
English actor Eddie Redmayne attends HBO's
Eddie Redmayne (Angela Weiss / AFP)

Eddie Redmayne has spoken out about his casting in a typically LGBTQ+ role in Cabaret hoping that people will reserve judgement before they see it.

The actor is taking on the role of Emcee in the London production of the 1972 Bob Fosse musical, marking his return to the stage for the first time in ten years.

However, the casting has drawn criticism as the flamboyant and camp Master of Ceremonies at the Kit Kat Club is usually reserved for LGBTQ+ stars.

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Redmayne, who has been married to Hannah Bagshawe since 2014, says he hopes to being ‘something new’ to the part.

"I hope when people see the performance, the interpretation will justify the casting,” he told British Vogue.

Actor Joel Grey as the Master of Ceremonies in a publicity still for the film 'Cabaret', 1972.   (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
Actor Joel Grey as Emcee in 1972 movie, 'Cabaret' (Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

"The way I see the character is as Mercury, as shape-shifting and a survivor."

"The only point in us doing it would be if we could do something different from those other productions, something new,” he added.

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Gay actor Joel Grey originated the role in 1972, starring alongside Liza Minelli as the charismatic but troubled singer, Sally Bowles.

British actor Eddie Redmayne arrives for the New York premiere of
Redmayne hopes to 'bring something new' to the flamboyant role (ANGELA WEISS / AFP)

Jessie Buckley will play Bowles in the latest revival.

Alan Cumming and Adam Pascal are among the actors who have taken on the role over the years, with straight stars including Michael C Hall and John Stamos also playing the part on Broadway.

Redmayne himself had previously taken on the character as part of a production for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival when he was 19.

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He added that the pressure of the show at the time meant he “didn’t really see daylight”.

Joel Grey partners Liza Minnelli, daughter of the unforgettable Judy Garland, in 'Money, Money, Money, a scene from Cinerama's new musical drama, Cabaret. With Caberta, Liza has been able to prove to American audiences that she's just as talented as her late mother when it comes to singing, dancing and acting. She plays Sally Bowles. Joel, is the sinister Master of Ceremonies in the Berlin night club where the action is set in pre-second World War Germany. Cabaret is based on stories of Christopher Isherwood and the John Van Druten stage play.   (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
Joel Grey and Liza Minnelli in 'Cabaret' (PA Images via Getty Images)

Cabaret follows the character of Bowles as she performs at the Kit Kat Club in 1931 Berlin, the social backdrop being the rise of fascism and Nazism within the country.

Bowles falls for an English teacher who is taken in by her bohemian way of life, but the pair soon struggle when she realises she’s pregnant.

Redmayne’s full interview is available in British Vogue’s November issue.

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