Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Amazing Candor From Amazing Kander

Amazing Candor From Amazing Kander

As I hope I've made abundantly clear over the last year of writing Steve On Broadway (SOB), I truly love what the legendary songwriting team of John Kander and the late Fred Ebb has bestowed upon the theatre world. Their style, grace and wit have made for enduring and riveting entertainment that will last for generations.

With classics like Cabaret and Chicago to lesser known fare like The Rink to their current Broadway treat Curtains, I've cherished my opportunities to enjoy the scores that the two have supplied to the Great White Way since 1965. That's when the duo's first collaboration, for Flora, The Red Menace, landed on the boards of the Alvin Theatre and made a bona fide star out of then 19 year old Liza Minnelli, who took home the Tony for Best Actress in a Musical.

Now, in a Playbill interview, Kander speaks candidly about life without Ebb, as well as his continued efforts to soldier on with material the two started together. In the interview, Kander says: "I mean, I have no pride about all this. I'm enjoying the lyric writing that I'm doing -- that I do with much less confidence (than the music), of course. I would have no compunctions about asking somebody for help."

Help has certainly come to him from Rupert Holmes, who aided Curtains on both the score and the book (after the death of Peter Stone). But according to the Playbill story, Curtains does not necessarily spell curtains for the slew of shows Kander and Ebb had been writing prior to the former's death.

Still to come:

All About Us (artwork for the production is to the left), based on the Thornton Wilder Pulitzer Prize-winning classic "Skin Of Our Teeth." The musical, with a book by Joseph Stein (Fiddler On The Roof), will be produced next month at the Westport Country Playhouse. The Gabriel Barre-helmed show features some high-test talent, including Eartha Kitt, Shuler Hensley and Cady Huffman.

The Visit, revised with help from Terrence McNally from its earlier Goodman Theatre (Chicago) incarnation, will be produced this fall at the Washington DC-area's Signature Theatre. Chita Rivera will reprise the role she originated at the Goodman.

The Minstrel Show, with help from Susan Stroman and David Thompson, the latter of whom has collaborated with Kander and Ebb on Chicago and Steel Pier. According to Playbill, Kander describes this as a "vicious" musical that examines racial inequities in the United States during the Great Depression. The Playbill story indicates that the show is "in limbo."

Given that the tuner, quite shockingly, is intended to be presented in blackface, I can't say I'm surprised even if it was close to completion when Fred Ebb passed away. Personally, I hope the conception of this show is being carefully considered so as not to leave a permanent black mark on their otherwise wonderful record of musical success.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for All About Us tickets.
Click here for Chicago tickets.
Click here for Curtains tickets.
Related Stories:
Did Curtains Rise On Critics' Reviews? (March 23, 2007)
Curtains Finally Open On New Kander & Ebb Tuner (March 22, 2007)
The Hits From Coast To Coast (March 8, 2007)
Laurence Olivier Award Nominations Announced (January 18, 2007)
Chicago (The SOB Revisit) - Ambassador Theatre, New York, NY (January 16, 2007)
Revisiting Chicago (January 12, 2007)
Happy Birthday, Chicago! (November 14, 2006)
Curtains To Rise At Al Hirschfeld Theatre In March (November 3, 2006)
LuPone Likely for London? (November 3, 2006)
Survey Says.... (October 23, 2006)
Did London Critics Care Much For Cabaret Revival? (October 11, 2006)
Cabaret Opens Its West End Doors This Evening (October 10, 2006)
Chita Rivera to Make Return "Visit" in DC (August 25, 2006)
Cabaret's Conservative Casting Choices (August 18, 2006)
Curtains Meets the Critics (August 10, 2006)
Curtains (The SOB Review) – Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center, Los Angeles, CA (August 10, 2006)
Curtains Set to Rise on Curtains Tonight in LA (August 9, 2006)
Curtains Pulls Advance Buzz (August 1, 2006)
Curtains' Calling on Broadway? (July 24, 2006)
Another Cabaret? It Couldn't Please Me More (July 5, 2006)
Kander and Ebb's Curtains Set to Rise in LA This Summer (May 11, 2006)

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,


At 28 March, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Post Script: I failed to mention that The Drama League Awards will bestow its Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre to John Kander and Fred Ebb (posthumously) at its upcoming ceremonies on May 11. Congratulations to Mr. Kander on this honor.

Also, I invite you to participate in my latest SOB Poll, where I ask you to vote for your favorite Tony-nominated Kander and Ebb musical over the past 42 years. Once you vote, you're invited to tell me why it's your fave.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Technorati blog directory Blog Directory & Search engine
Visitor Map

Powered by FeedBurner