"Once again we are taking a club that used to be a theater and turning it back into a theater in order to create a club," Cabaret director Sam Mendes tells Associate Press. "In addition to its rich and varied history, [Studio 54] also happens to be the most atmospheric, theatrically viable space that I've seen in New York."
Moving day is set for November 12. It will take Cabaret stagehands that long to replicate the show's signature stage design--which puts the audience inside the musical's fictitious Berlin hot spot the Kit Kat Klub--at its new home.
Producers of the standing-room-only musical have been considering moving since a Times Square construction accident closed the show for three weeks in July and August.
The move will almost double the show's capacity from the 513 seats at its current home, the Henry Miller Theater, to nearly 1,000 at 54.
The infamous disco, originally known as the Gallo Theater, was built in 1927. CBS took over it over in 1943, using the theater as a radio studio. Impresario Steve Rubell transformed the old Gallo into Studio 54--a glittery confluence of coke, sex and celebs, including Truman Capote, Andy Warhol, Bianca Jagger and Liza Minnelli (who was Oscared for her turn as chanteuse Sally Bowles in the 1972 film version of Cabaret).
The IRS shut down the hedonist haven in 1980, but it was recently reborn as a dance club. A film version of the club's sordid history was released this summer starring Mike Myers and Neve Campbell.
Jennifer Jason-Leigh is currently starring as Bowles in the revival, having taken over from Tony winner Natasha Richardson.