In the event of a government shutdown, American History will remain OPEN through at least Saturday, October 7, by using prior year funds. Visit for updates.

Bowtie worn by Joel Grey as the Emcee in Cabaret

Bowtie worn by Joel Grey as the Emcee in Cabaret

Usage conditions apply
Description (Brief)
Joel Grey wore this pink satin bowtie as part of a costume portraying the Emcee (Master of Ceremonies) in the 1987-1989 national tour of the musical Cabaret.
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.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
around 1987
ca 1987
Grey, Joel
Physical Description
satin (overall material)
overall: 14 in; x 35.56 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Barry and Fran Weissler
Musical Theater
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Entertainment
Popular Entertainment
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

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.

Note: Comment submission is temporarily unavailable while we make improvements to the site. We apologize for the interruption. If you have a question relating to the museum's collections, please first check our Collections FAQ. If you require a personal response, please use our Contact page.