Cabaret: Self Esteem and Scissor Sisters stars join the cast of the London musical


Jake Shears and Self Esteem in a Cabaret promo shotImage source, Playhouse Theatre

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Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears and Rebecca Lucy Taylor – AKA Self Esteem – are raring to go to the Cabaret

By Paul Glynn

Entertainment reporter

Music stars Self Esteem and Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears will join the new cast of the hit West End London musical, Cabaret.

The performers will take on the lead roles of Sally Bowles and the Emcee in the ongoing, award-winning revival of the show from 25 September.

It sees the capital’s Playhouse Theatre transformed into the debauched Kit Kat Club of Weimar Berlin.

Self Esteem said she was “excited” to be moving into musical theatre.

“I’ve never made a secret of my love of theatre and I honestly couldn’t be more excited about getting to make my stage debut as one of the greatest leads of all time,” said the singer in a statement following Tuesday’s announcement.

Set in 1929/1930 Berlin during the twilight of the jazz age, and with the Nazis in the ascendancy, Cabaret centres around the hedonistic nightlife at the Kit Kat Klub, and specifically US writer Clifford Bradshaw’s relations with English cabaret performer Sally Bowles.

“I’ve joked for years that there is no need for a Self Esteem musical because Sally’s story covers most of the points,” added the artist, whose real name is Rebecca Lucy Taylor. “I am artistically and emotionally raring to take on this challenge.”

‘The force that is Self Esteem’

The Yorkshire pop provocateur’s latest record Prioritise Pleasure – described as “a battle cry for fed-up women everywhere” – was nominated for the 2022 Mercury Prize, along with albums by Harry Styles, Wet Leg and eventual winner Little Simz.

Her new co-star, Shears, found fame in the noughties as co-lead vocalist with Brit Award-winning New York pop-rockers the Scissor Sisters, thanks to tracks like I Don’t Feel Like Dancing and Filthy/Gorgeous.

He added it was a “privilege and honour” to be now playing the leering, flamboyant master of ceremonies in “this incredible show”.

“I am especially excited to be sharing the stage with the force that is Self Esteem,” noted Shears. “This role has been a lifetime dream of mine and I couldn’t imagine a better production of it to be a part of.”

The pair will replace current stars Maude Apatow and Mason Alexander. And they will be joined in the new look line-up by Nathan Ives-Moiba, Beverley Klein and Teddy Kempner.

Image source, Marc Brennan

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Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley both shone as the stars of the original stage revival

Critics made a song and dance over Rebecca Frecknall’s 2021 production, starring Eddie Redmayne and another 2022 Mercury Prize nominee Jessie Buckley, with several awarding the show five stars in their reviews.

The Telegraph’s Dominic Cavendish gave it full marks, saying the show “sends shivers down the spine” and that Redmayne “dazzles” in his role.

It won a record-breaking seven Olivier Awards in 2022, the most for any musical revival.

The original 1966 Broadway production, based on an earlier play inspired by Christopher Isherwood’s novel Goodbye to Berlin, was a box office smash. It was brought to a wider audience in Bob Fosse’s 1972 film, starring Liza Minnellii and an Oscar-winning Joel Grey.

According to research carried out by theatre publication The Stage last year, the West End stage revival was the most expensive ticket in town – with some costing more than £300.

Actor David Tennant recently described the ticket price hikes seen since the pandemic as ludicrous, telling the Radio Times podcast that they risked strangling the next generation of theatregoers.

In response, Society of London Theatre (SOLT) co-chief executive Claire Walker highlighted in an interview with The Stage that average ticket prices have decreased when adjusted for inflation.

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