Kander & Ebb at Signature in DC
DC area residents are the first to see a new show by two gay icons of the American musical theater, Fred Ebb and John Kander. Fresh off a Tony Award for the top regional theater, Signature Theater created First You Dream: The Music of Kander & Ebb that will run for three weeks. Here’s a moment from the concert.
The special event concert has songs for the Broadway aficionado and for the novice as well. The duos most popular works, from the big shows Cabaret and Chicago, are sprinkled throughout the thirty songs and two and a half hours.
I saw last Friday evening’s show with two savvy Broadway musical listeners and another person, who, like myself, is more of a dabbler in the arena. We all agreed that the 19-piece orchestra and six singers created a fulfilling evening.
Two songs from a little known show, 70, Girls, 70, thrilled one of the experienced guys, because he had never heard them. While he and I found the campy humor of Boom Ditty Boom hilarious and clever, other friends thought the song inane.
The most obvious gay piece in the show is from Kiss of the Spider Woman. The window dresser, played with much verve by Matthew Scott, sings She’s A Woman and Dressing Them Up. The audience gave him one of the most rousing ovations of the entire evening.
Concert shows extract the songs from their original context. Having seen several of the shows at Signature Theater, I could understand much of the sentiment behind the songs from The Rink, Kiss of The Spider Woman, and The Happy Time. People who have not seen the shows might struggle with the feeling of the singers’ characters.
Since several of the songs come from shows that have not been seen on Broadway for eons, I did hear some talk about potentially taking the show to New York. The crew I was with had very mixed feelings about whether the show in its current state would make the leap successfully.