Friday, August 3, 2018

The Friday 5: 5 Kander and Ebb Shows in Need of Revival

Broadway history is full of great writing teams - Rodgers and Hart, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Menken and Ashman, Pasek and Paul - all great, all with seminal works. But there is one pair whose work I greatly admire. They have written some of Broadway's greatest musicals of all time, and even their "flops" are glorious. Their works are at times dark and at times joyous, and always revealing of the human condition. And like many of the great theatre craftsmen, their work pushes boundaries and is often said to be ahead of its time.

Cabaret has been revived three times since its debut, and, of course, Chicago shows no signs of stopping. But there are many shows of theirs that seem ready for revival. This week, I look at 5 Kander and Ebb musicals I'd love to see again, along with some of my favorite songs from each. As a bonus, there's a look back at some of the people in the original casts. Here are those shows (in alphabetical order):

The Friday 5:
5 Kander and Ebb
Shows in Need of Revival

Kiss of the Spider Woman
Last on Broadway: July 1, 1995
My 3 Favorite Numbers:
  • "Where You Are"
  • "Kiss of the Spider Woman"
  • "Dressing Them Up"
  • Honorable Mention: "You Could Never Shame Me"
Interesting Original Cast Members: Merle Louise - one of the greatest supporting actresses ever: the original casts of Gypsy, Company, Sweeney Todd, La Cage aux Folles and Into the Woods.

The Rink
Last on Broadway: August 14, 1984
My 3 Favorite Numbers:
  • "Chief Cook and Bottle Washer"
  • "What Happened to the Old Days?"
  • "The Apple Doesn't Fall"
  • Honorable Mention: "The Rink"
Interesting Original Cast Members: Jason Alexander - Tony winner for Best Actor in a Musical, Jerome Robbins' Broadway, TV's Seinfeld; Scott Ellis - 8-time Tony Award nominee for direction of a play or musical; Rob Marshall (understudy) - 6-time Tony Award nominee for direction of a musical or choreography, Oscar winner

The Scottsboro Boys
Last on Broadway: December 12, 2010
3 Favorite Numbers:
  • "Commencing in Chattanooga"
  • "Alabama Ladies"
  • "Electric Chair"
  • Honorable Mention: "The Scottsboro Boys"
Interesting Original Cast Members: Joshua Henry - 3-time Tony Award nominee for leading or supporting actor in a musical, Rodney Hicks, Josh Breckenridge - both in Come From Away, Colman Domingo - book writer, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical

Steel Pier
Last on Broadway: June 28, 1997
3 Favorite Numbers:
  • "Everybody Dance"
  • "Everybody's Girl"
  • "Steel Pier"
  • Honorable Mention: "Two Little Words" (Kristin Chenoweth)
Interesting Original Cast Members: Casey Nicholaw  - Tony winner, Best Director, The Book of Mormon, 9-time Tony Award nominee for direction of a musical or choreography; Andy Blankenbuhler - 3-time Tony winner, Best Choreography, In the Heights, Hamilton, Bandstand; Kristin Chenoweth (her Broadway debut!) - Tony winner, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, 2-time Tony Award nominee for leading actress in a musical

Last on Broadway: September 2, 1984
3 Favorite Numbers:
  • "Life Is"
  • "The Butterfly"
  • "The Crow"
  • Honorable Mention: "Happy Birthday"
Interesting Original Revival Cast Members: Debbie Shapiro (Gravitte) - Tony Award winner, Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Jerome Robbins' Broadway; Rob Marshall - see The Rink; Robert Westenberg - Theatre World Award winner for Zorba, Tony Award nominee for featured actor in a musical, Into the Woods

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