Everyone Is Still Traumatized by Eddie Redmayne’s ‘Cabaret’

Theo Wargo/Getty Images
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

This week:

  • Crying with Céline Dion.

  • The trauma we’re all still dealing with.

  • They made a good version of Cats. (?!)

  • Major Golden Girls news.

  • The only sequel I care about.

Death Is a Cabaret

Some of us were just taking a bite of our General Tso’s chicken during a commercial break at the Tony Awards when a jumpscare nearly killed us.

It was Gollum doing his recital at his kindergarten graduation. My sleep paralysis demon arrived to show me he’s learned a TikTok dance. Dobby had been resurrected and forced to wear a party hat in his new life as a cocktail waiter.

In actuality, it was Eddie Redmayne, awkwardly contorting his arms as he delivered, in a labored German accent, the opening lines to the number “Willkommen” from his Cabaret revival during the telecast.

Eddie Redmayne in Cabaret

Eddie Redmayne in Cabaret


The nine-time nominated revival was the rare (someone very online can fact check this: only?) musical performance to welcome back viewers from the commercial break with no introduction. It was just a flash to Eddie Redmayne bent over with a clown party hat and elbow-length rubber gloves, like you’d just woken from anesthesia after painful surgery and your mind was still processing the doctor that was standing over you.

The entire week afterward, the internet erupted in discourse over the Cabaret number. I’m not kidding. People are still debating it. From that jarring beginning to its boisterous end, the performance had everyone from theater neophytes to dramaturges asking… what in the world??? Equally vocal were the defenders. This is a show that had nine Tony noms, and for which tickets cost roughly whatever is left on your AmEx, your grandmother’s engagement ring as collateral, and a verbal promise to sacrifice your first born—just for one ticket. The show’s a hit!

The revival itself got mixed reviews in the U.S., following absolute raves for its London production. Yet all it took was a few minutes of Eddie Redmayne in a party hat for it to become the biggest water cooler sensation of the summer so far. People debating it—good; bad; you missed the point; the context of the show; Nazis—have dominated my social presence all week. Was the performance good? You decide:

Jellicle Cats Slay

Cats is, unequivocally, the worst thing I’ve seen in my entire life. Apply that to the Broadway production of the musical and the star-studded movie.

But here’s to having an open mind, because the production that just premiered in New York City may actually be the most thrilling, creative, and, I can’t believe I’m saying this adjacent to anything Cats-related, profound pieces of theater I’ve seen in a while.

Currently playing at the Perelman Arts Center in downtown Manhattan, Cats: The Jellicle Ball interpolates the characters as performers at a Paris Is Burning-style ballroom competition. Instead of sashaying across the stage, they’re vogueing down the runway. The choreography is ferocious. The costuming is to die for. The energy of the crowd is almost too enthusiastic. As my colleague Tim Teeman, who wrote a brilliant review of the show, put it, “Any Cats hater will be instantly cured by Cats: The Jellicle Ball.”

Here’s a preview:

It’s been a wild week for New York theater. There was a mounting of Titanic at City Center; the Tony Awards; the opening of Cats: The Jellicle Ball; and, lastly, a star-studded, one-night only concert performance of Follies at Carnegie Hall featuring just about every musical theater star you could imagine. (Jennifer Holliday’s elastic jaw was made to slay the vowels of “HoooOOooover” in “I’m Still Here,” which got the night’s biggest ovation.)

Ostensibly, the NYC Pride Parade is next week. Or was it actually the march from the Cats press preview to the Follies concert?

Thank You for Being a Friend

They’re making a gay Golden Girls! (I mean, let’s also lol at the thought that Golden Girls wasn’t already gay.)

Ryan Murphy and Will & Grace co-creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan are behind the project. Usually announcements like this are taken with a grain of salt. Or, I guess, a crumb of cheesecake crust. But there’s a creative team involved and a reported cast, down to who each role would be. This seems like it’s happening.

A gif of Betty White in Golden Girls

Matt Bomer—who, if he doesn’t get an Emmy nomination for Fellow Travelers this year, I will send gifs of Bea Arthur as Dorothy Zborniak being a stone-cold bitch to every voter each day until they die—will reportedly be the Rose (Betty White) character. National treasure Nathan Lane will play the Dorothy part, with Tony-winner Linda Lavin as his mother, the Sophia (Estelle Getty) of the group. Rumor is they’re waiting to cast Blanche until I clear my schedule.

Notting Hill 2?

Someone showed me this observation that Nicholas Galitzine, the star of The Idea of You, Red, White & Royal Blue and Mary & George, looks exactly like he could be the son of Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. I can’t stop thinking about it.

It’s uncanny. Roberts and Grant played characters who fell in love in Notting Hill, and now that there’s perfect casting for their son…a sequel?

More From The Daily Beast’s Obsessed

The anxiety attack scene from Inside Out 2 was really hard to watch. (Read more.)

Bethenny Frankel should be the new Lifetime movie queen. (Read more.)

Justin Timberlake’s biggest haters celebrated his arrest. (Read more.)

What to watch this week:

The Bikeriders: This is a sexy, sweaty, perfect summer movie. (Now in theaters)

Kinds of Kindness: Nothing better than when Emma Stone gets to be weird. (Now in theaters)

I Am: Celine Dion: Just have three or 40 packages of Kleenex on hand. (Monday on Prime Video)

What to skip this week:

The Exorcism: Turns out that Russell Crowe wasn’t already possessed by a demon. (Now in theaters)

Trigger Warning: Love a title that tells you not to watch the movie. (Now on Netflix)

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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