Along with being asked to design the set for Cabaret, Director Bob Estrin had cast me as the M. C. which I quickly turned down, mostly because I felt I was too tall after seeing what Joel Gray did with the role on Broadway in 1967. Instead, the role went to Jim Jewel which to me was a much better fit. The other reason was because I didn't want a large role since my time would be devoted to the set, so I agreed to play two smaller roles. One was the young Hitler Youth who sang, "Tomorrow Belongs to Me," and the other was the tutu wearing gorilla who danced with the M. C. in "If You Could See Her Through My Eyes." One night during rehearsal an old family friend, Beverly, brought in her 13 year old son, Jim West, hoping to get him involved in the show since he showed such great interest in performing and all things theatrical. I took the director aside and told him to cast Jim in the role of the Hitler Youth, since I was ten years older and had just returned from the service and didn't look that young or innocent.
It wasn't too pretty, and a little embarrassing during rehearsals when I had to follow Jim Jewel's lead in the dance and pull a banana out of my purse and peal it, and felt I'd be more comfortable when my costume arrived. Boy was I wrong about that! First of all it was made for a much shorter person, so every time I stretched my furry gorilla arms out, my wrists clearly showed between the costume and the rubber hands, and dancing in it demanded such exaggerated movement that I was soaked with sweat almost as soon as it began. The number opened in darkness on the small Cabaret stage with me kneeling down facing backstage and Jim sitting on my back facing the audience in a small spotlight. I waited until the very last minute to put on the head, and during one of the performances, as always it went on in the darkness so I didn't realize something was wrong until the lights came up. Some diabolical member of the cast or crew had reached inside and covered the eye holes with masking tape! There was nothing I could do, but forge ahead with the dance, and just hoped that I didn't fall off the stage! Somehow we got through it and from then on I checked the eyes back stage in the light. I have a few ideas about who may have blinded me like that, but It remains a mystery to this day. ...Okay, fess up. I would never, ever try to get even. Well, maybe just a little!