All tagged Kander & Ebb

Remembering Steel Pier

The composing team of Kander and Ebb were often attracted to properties that allowed them to tell a show-within-a-show story, often using the show or entertainment style within to provide commentary on the show the theatre audience is watching. Cabaret (cabaret), Chicago (vaudeville), Kiss of the Spider Woman (film), Curtains (musical theatre), The Scottsboro Boys (minstrel shows) and, even to a degree the village storytellers in Zorba employ this conceit. It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that the team found a way to utilize the dance marathons in Atlantic City of the 1930s to similar effect in the short-lived musical Steel Pier

Remembering The Happy Time

The composing team of Kander and Ebb are typically first remembered as the creators of the edgy, flashy, razzle-dazzle music of such shows as Cabaret and Chicago. It would be wrong, however, to think that this was all that they were capable of. In fact, the team’s work often tended towards a reflective, gentler style of musical comedy found in such shows as Zorba and The Rink. One show that really seemed to embrace this subtler, character-driven approach to storytelling was 1968’s The Happy Time.  

Liza, Chita and The Rink

In 1983, a musical prepared to open on Broadway that would star two of Broadway’s most-beloved and enduring talents: one a Tony-nominated (several times over) triple-threat known particularly for her electric dancing prowess, the other the daughter of Hollywood royalty (Judy Garland) who had carved her own exciting niche in entertainment outside of her mother’s shadow, having won an Academy Award and two Tony Awards. They were, of course, Chita Rivera and Liza Minnelli, respectively. Together they would appear in the next Broadway musical by composers Kander and Ebb who had created scores for gritty musicals such as Cabaret and Chicago. Writing the original story was playwright Albert Innaurato, best-known for the comedic family-drama Gemini. Direction was to be by Arthur Laurents who had directed, among many other things, the original Gypsy. The musical that was shaping up to be the exciting event of the season was The Rink.

Broadway Musical Time Machine: Looking Back at Kiss of the Spider Woman

Quite possibly the darkest of all musicals to grace the Broadway stage, but also a musical that is overflowing with hope and courage, Kiss of the Spider Woman opened on Broadway in 1993 and went on to win the Tony Award for Best Musical. The amazing part of this show's journey is rewinding a few years and examining its genesis and uphill climb to reach Broadway. If ever there was a "Little Engine That Could", Kiss of the Spider Woman overcame many odds to reach the Great White Way.