Pants worn by Joel Grey as the Emcee in Cabaret


Joel Grey wore these tuxedo pants to portray the Emcee (Master of Ceremonies) in the 1972 movie version and 1987-1989 national tour of the musical Cabaret. The black polyester pants have a black velvet stripe down each leg and are attached to white suspenders. A white tag inside the pants reads "Barbara Matera, Ltd. New York".

The musical Cabaret premiered on Broadway in 1966. With music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Joe Masteroff, the show was an adaptation of John Van Druten's 1951 play I Am a Camera, which itself was based on Christopher Isherwood's 1939 memoir Goodbye to Berlin. Cabaret is the story of love triangle centered around Berlin's Kit Kat Klub amidst the decadence, corruption, and political intrigue of the Weimar Republic era. The musical was celebrated for its originality, but was also controversial for its moral ambiguity, frank sensuality, and mature themes, including homosexuality, abortion, anti-semitism, and the rise of the Nazi party. In 1972, director Bob Fosse adapted Cabaret as a critically- lauded and popular film.

For his performances as the impish, leering Emcee in both the stage and film productions, Grey won the Tony Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Broadway Musical in 1967 and Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1972.

Date Made: before 1972

Wearer: Grey, JoelMaker: Barbara Matera Ltd.

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: New York, New York City

Subject: MovieMusicLGBTQ RightsLGBTQGay RightsMusical Theater


See more items in: Culture and the Arts: Entertainment, Popular Entertainment, Movies, Movie Collection


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Joel Grey

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1989.0374.02Accession Number: 1989.0374Catalog Number: 1989.0374.02

Object Name: pants

Physical Description: polyester (overall material)velvet (details material)Measurements: overall: 40 1/2 in x 17 1/2 in; 102.87 cm x 44.45 cm


Record Id: nmah_1390864

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.