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Eddie Redmayne has a message for critics over his casting in traditionally queer role

Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne has struck back at critics attacking his casting in a new, West End production of Cabaret.

Redmayne will open the new production this November, opposite actress Jessie Buckley. Redmayne will step into the iconic role of the Emcee, a part made famous by queer actors Joel Grey and Alan Cumming. 

For Redmayne, criticism won’t deter him from playing the part.

“I hope when people see the performance, the interpretation will justify the casting,” he told British Vogue. “The way I see the character is as shape-shifting and a survivor.”

Related: Eddie Redmayne Visited Homeless Queer Kids, Fed Them, Urges You To Help, Too

That shape-shifting quality has often led audiences to believe the Emcee character is meant to be queer. Even Tom Scutt, the production designer for the new show, notes the role “is one of queer portrayal.”

 

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That said, the queerness of the character often varies by production. The original Broadway incarnation, directed by Hal Prince which starred Joel Grey, played the character as effeminate but did not feature anything explicitly queer. That changed with the 1999 Broadway revival, which saw Alan Cumming’s more sexualized Emcee dancing and flirting with men throughout the show. That production also integrated the bisexuality of Cliff, the show’s main character.

Regardless, countless straight men have played the role of the Emcee over the years on Broadway, including John Stamos, Norbert Leo Butz, Adam Pascal, Jon Secada, and Michael C. Hall.