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Bebe Neuwirth won a Tony thanks to Kander and Ebb, now she's returning to their work with “Cabaret”

Plus: exclusive rehearsal photos of the new Broadway show.

For Bebe Neuwirth, the music of John Kander and Fred Ebb is as cozy and familiar as a favorite pair of slippers.

The actress has a long association with one of their biggest hits, Chicago. She opened the (still running!) revival in 1996, playing merry murderess Velma Kelly, and won a Tony for it. Then, in 2006, she returned as Roxie Hart, and again, in 2014, as Matron "Mama" Morton, making her the first person in history to play three separate roles in the course of a single Broadway run.

She's back again, but this time she's relocating from Jazz-Age Chicago to Weimar Republic-era Berlin. Neuwirth will portray landlady Fräulein Schneider, an older woman who finds herself thrust into an unexpected romance with fruit-shop owner Herr Schultz in Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club, with performances starting April 1 at the August Wilson Theatre.

<p>Jenny Anderson for Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club</p> Bebe Neuwirth and Steven Skybell in 'Cabaret' rehearsals

Jenny Anderson for Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

Bebe Neuwirth and Steven Skybell in 'Cabaret' rehearsals

Though it's a new show for her, the score allows her to feel like she's rediscovering an old friend. "I feel extremely comfortable in John and Fred's music," she says. "I'm very comfortable in their world. Their wit, irony, heart and humor — and the lineage of their music — feels very natural to me."

When pushed further on what it is about their music that comes so naturally, Neuwirth admits it's something intangible. "I can't describe it for you well enough in words to be really accurate, but I can say that it has to do with their alchemy of humor, wit, and heart. There's a raw, wry wisdom that just resonates for me. It's like if you go into a museum, and you stand in front of one of the paintings and burst into tears because you just feel it in your soul. That's how I feel about John and Fred's music. That's not something that I have words for."

<p>Jenny Anderson for Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club</p> Eddie Redmayne rehearses for 'Cabaret'

Jenny Anderson for Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

Eddie Redmayne rehearses for 'Cabaret'

Strangely, despite her close association with Kander and Ebb's music, this is the first time Cabaret has come Neuwirth's way (and there have been A LOT of Broadway revivals, including ones in 1987, 1998, and 2014). "It's never crossed my path until now. The first revival that Joel Grey did in the '80s, I was doing another show at the time," she remembers. "And I don't think that I'm really right for any of the parts. Other than dancing in the show as one of the Kit Kat girls when I was younger. I'm not right for Sally."

When we demur, telling Neuwirth we think she could have been a superb Sally, she relents a tad, admitting it is a role she would have loved to have played even if it wouldn't have been a "perfect fit." She's pondered playing the Emcee, but the show never really clicked for her until she aged into Schneider. Though Neuwirth is known for her skills as a dancer, she won't be employing them here. "Schneider is not a dance role, strictly speaking, but the fact is, I am a dancer," she muses. "That's the animal that I am. So even if I'm not dancing, it doesn't mean I'm not dancing."

<p>Jenny Anderson for Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club</p> The cast rehearses for 'Cabaret'

Jenny Anderson for Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

The cast rehearses for 'Cabaret'

The heart of Schneider and her love affair with Herr Schultz lies in what many may find an unlikely place — the song, "It Couldn't Please Me More," more colloquially known as "The Pineapple Song." Explains Neuwirth: "This is a woman and a man who lived through famine and deepest poverty and had to scrape together billions of marks for a piece of bread. I don't know if she's ever seen an actual pineapple in real life. It's funny in a way, but there's also something very moving about 'Holy cow, that is a pineapple.' You think what they've been through and what she says about the pineapple, it's not just a novelty song. It's certainly light and it's fun, but there's something else going on there that's very moving."

The character of Fraulein Schneider is crucial to Cabaret's examination of complicity and the rise of the Nazi regime. Herr Schultz is a Jewish man, and Schneider is forced to question her connection to him as the forces of fascism pervade their lives.

<p>Jenny Anderson for Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club</p> Gayle Rankin in rehearsal for 'Cabaret'

Jenny Anderson for Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

Gayle Rankin in rehearsal for 'Cabaret'

"Schneider is a really fascinating and heartbreaking role," Neuwirth reflects. "Not just her herself, but also, she is hopefully a catalyst for an audience to question themselves. She poses the question, 'What would you do?' There are many of us who are feeling that right now — that this question may be closer than we want. It's something that is something bigger than the part itself that I have been given the responsibility to voice right now."

It's that question of "What would you do?" that Neuwirth believes has made Cabaret a favorite for revivals on Broadway and the West End. The good news is there have been so many revivals," she says. "The bad news is that there are timeless themes in Cabaret. There are always forces of evil in the world that we need to be vigilant about. We need to see if we can summon the strength both individually and as groups to fight that off."

<p>Jenny Anderson for Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club</p> The cast of 'Cabaret' rehearses

Jenny Anderson for Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

The cast of 'Cabaret' rehearses


"The other timeless theme is that of love and fighting for love and fighting for our own authenticity and loving our authentic selves are and respecting others," she concludes. "There's a lot there with this brilliant score and this great book and these fascinating stories. But there's something huge going on with what is in the show, and that may have something to do with why people keep going back to it."

So, once again, it's time to come to the Cabaret — and you can preview your visit with more exclusive photos from rehearsal below.

<p>Jenny Anderson for Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club</p> Ato Blankson-Wood rehearses for 'Cabaret'

Jenny Anderson for Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

Ato Blankson-Wood rehearses for 'Cabaret'
<p>Jenny Anderson for Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club</p> Gayle Rankin and Eddie Redmayne rehearse for 'Cabaret'

Jenny Anderson for Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

Gayle Rankin and Eddie Redmayne rehearse for 'Cabaret'
<p>Jenny Anderson for Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club</p> Bebe Neuwirth and Steven Skybell rehearse for 'Cabaret'

Jenny Anderson for Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

Bebe Neuwirth and Steven Skybell rehearse for 'Cabaret'
<p>Jenny Anderson for Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club</p> The cast of 'Cabaret' rehearses

Jenny Anderson for Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

The cast of 'Cabaret' rehearses

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Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.