Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "Love and Love Alone"

The legendary songwriting duo of Kander & Ebb created more than a dozen Broadway musicals to varying degrees of success and acclaim. The Visit, produced on Broadway in 2015, is likely to be their final new musical (Ebb died in 2004--there might be other yet un-produced works, they didn't tell me everything). It starred one of their go-to performers, Chita Rivera (both of her Tony awards are for Kander & Ebb shows: The Rink [where she beat Liza!!!] and Kiss of the Spider Woman), and tells the story of the wealthiest woman in the world's return to her impoverished hometown, looking to make a deal.

What kind of a deal? Why, the kind that happens a lot on Broadway or in episodes of The Twilight Zone or Black Mirror.

The show was originally written with Angela Lansbury in mind: Murder, She Wrought.

Rivera took over the role when Lansbury withdrew due to her own illness, followed by the death of her husband. The show was scheduled to open on Broadway on Oct. 1, 2001. Then something happened a few weeks earlier and suddenly the move to Broadway was delayed... until 2015. It received warm, yet guarded, reviews from critics:
- "admirable if not consistently embraceable musical"
- "production offers much to admire"
- "Not everything works."

Still the show garnered 5 Tony nominations (not bad for a musical you've never heard of that's only 2 years old [officially]). It lost all 5, mostly to Fun Home, but also it was well past time for Kelli O'Hara to win something from the Tonys, and The King and I seems to be the show for actresses who are overdue.

Today's song is "Love and Love Alone" and today's lesson: when the ultra-wealthy want to make a deal with you, try to figure out where Angela Lansbury went.

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