Center for the Arts Presents Joel Grey

Posted: September 14, 2010 at 1:01 am, Last Updated: September 13, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Mason’s Center for the Arts will host Tony Award and Academy Award-winning actor, dancer and singer Joel Grey at the fifth annual ARTS by George! benefit event in the Concert Hall on the Fairfax Campus on Saturday, Sept. 25, at 8 p.m.

Hailed as “the quintessential song-and-dance man” by the Washington Post, Grey has spent more than 50 years starring on Broadway and in television and film.

Best known as the demonic master of ceremonies in the Broadway and film versions of “Cabaret,” this charismatic entertainer is one of only eight actors to win both a Tony Award and an Academy Award for the same role.

Grey will be joined by a 20-piece orchestra to take audiences on a virtual tour of his career – singing, dancing and storytelling.

He will perform songs by Kander and Ebb, Irving Berlin, Billy Joel and more, and share stories about his experiences in such shows as “Cabaret,” “George M!” and “Chicago,” as well as autobiographical tales about his father, legendary Yiddish comedian Mickey Katz.

Born in 1932, Grey was raised in Cleveland and began his career at age 9 in the Cleveland Playhouse production of “On Borrowed Time.”

Exactly two decades later he made his Broadway debut as a replacement in Neil Simon’s first comedy hit, “Come Blow Your Horn.”

He appeared in “Stop the World — I Want to Get Off” in 1963 and “Half a Sixpence” in 1965.

In 1966, he was chosen to play the seedy Master of Ceremonies in the original Broadway production of the Kander and Ebb musical “Cabaret,” directed by Harold Prince.

A relatively unknown actor on opening night, Grey’s performance as the dazzling and demented Emcee earned him the attention of Broadway and a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical.

In 1972, he reprised the iconic role in the film version of “Cabaret,” opposite Liza Minnelli as the ingénue Sally Bowles. The role won him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, as well as a Golden Globe and a British Academy Award.

Grey earned subsequent Tony nominations for “George M!” in 1969, “Goodtime Charley” in 1975 and “The Grand Tour” in 1979. He also reprised the role of the Emcee in the Broadway revival of “Cabaret” in 1987.

More recently, he has appeared as Roxie Hart’s milquetoast husband Amos in “Chicago” in 1996, for which he won a Drama Desk Award, and as the Wonderful Wizard of Oz in the original Broadway production of “Wicked” in 2004, opposite Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth.

Grey’s recent film appearances include roles in “The Fantasticks,” “Dancing in the Dark” and “Choke.”

He has also made recent television appearances on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Crossing Jordan,” “OZ,” “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” “Alias,” “House,” “Brothers and Sisters,” “Private Practice,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Brooklyn Bridge,” which earned him an Emmy nomination.

An avid photographer, Grey has also released three photography books published by Powerhouse Books in the last decade: “Pictures I Had to Take”; “Looking Hard at Unexpected Things”; and “1.3 – Images From My Phone.” Grey’s photography can be viewed on

A discussion, free to ticket holders, will begin 45 minutes prior to the performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III. Pre-performance discussions are sponsored by the Friends of the Center for the Arts.

Tickets are $60, $52 and $30. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit

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