Friday, March 13, 2015
In 1997 Kander and Ebb were put in the unusual position of competing with themselves on Broadway. Their sincere new musical Steel Pier was overshadowed by the hit revival of their cynical musical Chicago.
Karen Ziemba's heroine is a con-artist but she's no Roxie Hart. She's being dragged into crime by her sleazy boyfriend. Her spectral dance partner quickly reforms her, drawing some to compare the book to Touched by an Angel or Quantum Leap. A far cry from the nastiness of the dance marathon film They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
The fun is relegated to a thin subplot with Debra Monk and Kristin Chenoweth as competing divas in the marathon's talent show. The book doesn't give them much but Debra got her signature song, "Everybodies Girl", and Kristin's next show launched her to stardom.