Joel Grey's hat from Cabaret


Joel Grey wore this hat as part of a costume portraying the Emcee (Master of Ceremonies) in the 1972 film of the musical Cabaret. The straw boater-style hat has a flat top and brim and is decorated with a multicolored striped grosgrain ribbon and flat yellow ribbon bow around the rim. The hat has a narrow leather sweatband inside.

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: 1972

Location: Currently not on view

Subject: Movie, Entertainment, Film, Costume

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


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Joel Grey

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2013.0052.01Accession Number: 2013.0052Catalog Number: 2013.0052.01

Object Name: hat

Physical Description: fabric (overall material)Measurements: overall: 3 3/4 in x 12 in x 10 in; 9.525 cm x 30.48 cm x 25.4 cm


Record Id: nmah_1443272

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.